Women’s History Month 2012: Women’s Education–Women’s Empowerment

Women's History Month Banner

Women’s History Month is a time for celebrating the achievements of women in all fields—the sciences, the arts, business, government, athletics, the community, etc. According to the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), the primary purpose of Women’s History Month is to “writ[e] women back into American history” because women’s history was not widely discussed or taught prior to the 1970s. Additional goals include emphasizing positive role models for girls and young women, promoting womens’ self-respect and encouraging respect for women among boys and men.

Women’s History Month grew out of Women’s History Week, which was established in 1978 by an education task force in Sonoma County, CA. The week was set to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, which had been celebrated since the early 20th century. As schools began to host their own Women’s History Week celebrations, support grew for Congress to declare a national week-long celebration, which they did in 1981. The NWHP petitioned Congress to expand the week into a month-long observance in 1987, and Women’s History Month has had bipartisan support in Congress ever since.

This year’s theme is “Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment.” Though some may feel that women have already won equality in every area, women still lag behind their male counterparts in pay, representation in business and politics and global educational access. Today, women outnumber men in American colleges, but widespread access to education for American women came only after Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded institutions.

DBRL will be holding several Women’s History Month events, and the library also has lots of great resources for learning about women’s history. Be sure to stop by the library and check out the links below!

DBRL Books:
Nonfiction about women’s history

DBRL Databases:
American Women’s History Online
Biography in Context

DBRL Subject Guides:
Women’s History

Mid-Missouri Events:
University of Missouri Department of Women’s and Gender Studies–Women’s History Events
Columbia Parks and Recreation–Women’s History Events

Key Web Resources:
History.com–Women’s History Month  
Library of Congress–Women’s History Month

National Women’s History Museum
National Women’s History Project
New York Public Library’s Women’s History Month Blog
New York Times’ Education Blog–Celebrate Women’s History Month
Smithsonian.com–Women’s History and Heritage Month


Photo Credits:
-Pictured, left to right: Vivian Malone Jones, first African-American woman to enroll at and graduate from the University of Alabama. Teacher Anne Sullivan (standing), early proponent of disability education and one of the Women’s History Month 2012 honorees, with her student Helen Keller (sitting). Dr. Margaret Mead, noted cultural anthropologist, reading a book in a library. Top right: Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, prominent educator. Bottom right: Autherine Lucy Foster (far right), English teacher who tried to desegregate the University of Alabama as a prospective graduate student in 1956, pictured here with Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt.
-Vivian Malone Jones photo by Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
-Anne Sullivan and Hellen Keller photo by uncredited photographer, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
-Dr. Margaret Mead photo by Edward Lynch, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
-Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune photo by Gordon Parks, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
-Photo of Autherine Lucy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks by uncredited photographer, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
-Collage format courtesy of Photovisi.com.

About Emily Kickinson

Emily Kickinson, the alter ego of a mild-mannered library employee, spends a lot of time fighting crime. Unlike her real-life counterpart, she is good at comebacks, uses sarcasm appropriately, and has bright blue hair. If she could have one superpower, she'd be torn between flying and shooting lasers from her eyes. In the wild, Emily can be spotted actually hugging trees.
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