[EDEQUITY]Celebrate Women's History Month!

From: Hilandia Rendon, EdEquity Moderator (edequity-admin@phoenix.edc.org)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 17:18:01 EST


                             Brought to you by
 the WEEA Equity Resource Center and the National Women's History Project

The History of National Women's History Month
Until recently, women's history was virtually unknown as a topic of study
in the K-12 curriculum. To address this omission, the Education Task Force
of the Sonoma County (CA) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a
"Women's History Week" in 1978 for the county's schools. The week of March
8 was chosen to incorporate International Women's History Day into the
celebration. The celebration met with enthusiastic support, and within few
years, dozens of schools planned special programs for Women's History Week,
close to a hundred community women participated in the Community Resource
Women project, the annual "Real Women" essay contest drew hundreds of
entries, and a Women's History Week parade and program filled the downtown

Local Celebrations
In 1979, Molly MacGregor, co-founder of the National Women's History
Project, was invited to participate in the Women's History Institute at
Sarah Law College, sponsored by the Women's Action Alliance and the Lilly
Foundation. The institute was attended by the national leaders of a wide
variety of organizations for women and girls. When MacGregor told the other
participants about Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they
liked the idea so much they decided to encourage their own organizations
and school districts in initiated similar celebrations. They also agreed to
help secure an official Congressional Resolution to declare National
Women's History Week. Together they achieved success! In 1981, Sen .Orrin
Hatch (R-Ut) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) co-sponsored the first Joint
Congressional Resolution for National Women's History Week.

Overwhelming Response
The National Women's History Project (NWHP) was founded in 1980 to promote
the celebration across the national, and soon equity specialists in many
state departments of education were encouraging celebrations of National
Women's History Week (NWHW) as a practical means to achieving equity goals
within the classroom. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, and other
states developed and distributed women's history curriculum materials and
program ideas to thousands of schools in their states. NOW and AAUW
chapters sponsored women's history essay contests and other special
programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and
communities were celebrating National Women's History Week, supported and
encouraged by NWHW resolutions from governors, city councils, school
boards, and the U.S. Congress!

The Entire Month of March
For 1987, the request of many districts, museums, and libraries throughout
the country, the NWHP decided to expand the national celebration to the
entire month of March, to allow more time to explore the increasingly
accessible field of women's history. Since then, the National Women's
History Month resolution has been approved with broad-based, bipartisan
support in both the House and Senate. The idea of celebrating the unique,
multicultural history of women in the U.S. has captured the imaginations of
teachers, librarians, community groups, women's organizations , and
thousands of individuals throughout the nation. Each year programs and
activities in schools and communities have become more extensive as
information and program ideas have been developed and shared.

Growing Interest in Women's History
The popularity of women's history celebrations has sparked a new interest
in uncovering women's forgotten heritage. A number of states and cities
have instituted a "Women's Hall of Fame," or have published biographical
materials on prominent women in the history of their particular locale. In
many areas, state historical societies, women's organizations, and groups
such as the Girls Scouts have become involved in planning National Women's
History Month programs. The efforts of educators, workplace program
planners, parents and community organizations in thousands of communities
across the country have turned National Women's History Month into a major
focal celebration, and a springboard for celebrating women's history all
year' round.

For more information on National Women's History Month, contact: National
Women's History Project, 7738 Bell Rd., Windsor, CA 95492-8518, Telephone:
707-838-6000, E-mail: nwhp@aol.com

For more information on practical tools to promote and infuse gender equity
in education contact: the WEEA Equity Resource Center at EDC, Telephone:
1-800-225-3088, (TTY 800-354-6798) or 617-618-2326, E-mail: WEEActr@edc.org

WEEA Equity Resource Center Staff:
Sundra Flansburg, Director
Amie Jagne, Administrative Assistant
Kimberly Newson, Office Assistant
Jolene Pinder, Marketing/Research Assistant
Julia Potter, Managing Editor
Hilandia Neuta-Rendon, Senior Technical Assistance/EdEquity Moderator
Terry Boyer Tillbrook, Technical Assistance Director
Susan. J. Smith, Director of Communications

55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458-1060, USA
Tel: 1-800-225-3088 (TTY 800-354-6798) or 617-618-2326
Fax: 617-332-4318
Email: WEEActr@edc.org
Website: www.edc.org/WomensEquity
The national Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA) Program is
a federal mandate to promote educational equity for girls and women.

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