March is Women’s History Month.  This is the month when we honor contributions made by women in American history.  This holiday originally began as Women’s History Week.  It started in 1978 with a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. This celebration was later declared by President Jimmy Carter to be a national holiday in 1980.  Every President thereafter carried on this tradition.  In March of 1987, Congress passed a law making the entire month Women’s History Month.  Each year, the theme is picked by The National Women’s History Alliance.  This year’s theme is: Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.

Here are 10 incredible women from our history that we can celebrate this month:

  1. Susan B. Anthony – This awesome woman helped lead the way for women’s right to vote.  She was also the co-founder of the Women’s Suffrage Association.  She spent her life fighting for women to have equal rights and an equal voice.  
  2. Rosa Parks – This legendary woman helped initiate the Civil Rights Movement when she boycotted giving up her seat on the bus to a white man.  She is known as the “First Lady of Civil Rights” and “The Mother of the Freedom Movement.”
  3. Mae C. Jemison – Mae C. Jemison is an astronaut, physicist, and an American engineer most famously known for being the first black woman to travel into space.  While working for NASA, she served as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. 
  4. Ruth Bader Ginsburg – R.B.G. pushed for gender equality throughout her expansive career.  She helped women to attend state funded schools, the ability to sign mortgages and have bank accounts without a male co-signer, and she helped to protect pregnant women in the workplace.  She pushed for equal pay, argued that women should be allowed to participate in juries, and strived to make the world a better, more equal and fair place for everyone.  
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt – Eleanor was one of the most influential women of the 20th century.  She was the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and she was the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights.  She oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which outlined the rights and freedoms that everyone is entitled to.  
  6. Maya Angelou – Maya Angelou always stood up for what she believed in.  Her career spanned over 5 decades.  She started as a singer and a dancer.  She was later a journalist and a civil rights activist.  Finally, she became a poet, screenwriter, and memoirist.  She was the first female inaugural poet and she recited her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the inauguration for President Bill Clinton.  She has won many awards including the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the National Medal of Arts, three Grammy awards for her spoken-word albums, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  7. Katherine Johnson – Katherine’s knowledge of mathematics helped her (and NASA) to figure out the paths for a spacecraft to orbit around Earth and to travel to the Moon.  We would not have landed on the moon without her.
  8. Margaret Knight – At the turn of the 20th century, Margaret Knight invented a new method for brewing coffee that inspired how we brew our coffee today. In 1908, she received a patent for her coffee filtration system. 
  9. Katharine Burr Blodgett – This incredible woman was the first woman to receive a PhD in physics from England’s Cambridge University.  She was also the first woman to be hired by General Electric where she invented non-reflective, or “invisible” glass.  This glass was used for cameras and projectors.
  10. Stephanie Kwolek – Stephanie invented Kevlar, a durable material used for military helmets, bullet proof vests, fiber optic cables, building materials, and so much more!

Enjoy your day!