Women’s History Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

Women’s History Month commemorates the contributions of American women. March was first designated as Women’s History Month on March 12, 1987, by P.L. 100-9. Since then, Presidents have issued annual proclamations promoting this observance.

This guide is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to Women’s History Month. It provides links to sample congressional speeches and recognitions, presidential proclamations, statistical data, and selected historical resources.

Women's History Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

March 6, 2018 (R45125)

Introduction

Women's History Month commemorates the contributions of American women. March was first designated as Women's History Month on March 12, 1987, by P.L. 100-9. Since then, Presidents have issued annual proclamations promoting this observance.

This fact sheet is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to Women's History Month. It provides links to sample congressional speeches and recognitions, presidential proclamations, statistical data, and selected historical resources.

History

Women's History Month began in 1978 as a local celebration of Women's History Week in Santa Rosa, California. The week of March 8 was selected to correspond with International Women's Day. As other communities adopted the celebration, women's groups and historians began lobbying for national recognition. President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring March 2-8, 1980, National Women's History Week. Between 1981 and 1986, Congress passed legislation requesting the President designate a week in March as Women's History Week.1

In 1987, the week was changed to a month. From 1988 to 1994, Congress continued to pass legislation requesting the President proclaim March as Women's History Month. Each president since 1995 has continued to issue this annual proclamation.2

Each year, the National Women's History Project, a nonprofit advocacy organization, chooses a theme for the month and honors women who exemplify that theme. The theme for 2018 honors women that fight discrimination against women and girls. Previous years' themes have honored female business leaders and women in government.

Legislation

Public laws designating Women's History Week

P.L. 97-28

P.L. 98-3

P.L. 98-227

P.L. 99-3

P.L. 99-254

Public laws designating Women's History Month

P.L. 100-9

P.L. 100-257

P.L. 101-6

P.L. 102-70

P.L. 103-22

Related CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service has published several reports that relate to women's history.

CRS Report RL30261, Women in Congress, 1917-2018: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed]

CRS Report R43244, Women in Congress: Summary Statistics and Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed]

CRS Report R43856, Contemporary Federal Museum Authorizations in the District of Columbia: Past Practices and Options for Congress, by [author name scrubbed] (see sections on the proposal of a National Women's History Museum)

Sample Speeches and Recognitions

Senator Benjamin Cardin, "Women's History Month," remarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 163, no. 54 (March 28, 2017), pp. S2044-S2046.

Representative Peter Visclosky, "Women's History Month 2017," remarks in the Extension of Remarks, Congressional Record, vol. 163, no. 36 (March 1, 2017), p. E253.

Senator Richard Durbin, "National Women's History Month," remarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 162, no. 43 (March 17, 2016), pp. S1581-S1582.

Representative Dan Benishek, "Women's History Month," remarks in the House of Representatives, Congressional Record, vol. 162, no. 42 (March 16, 2016), p. H1395.

Representative Robert Dold, "Women's History Month," remarks in the House of Representatives, Congressional Record, vol. 162, no. 35 (March 3, 2016), p. H1136.

Representative Mike Thompson, "Women's History Month," remarks in the House of Representatives, Congressional Record, vol. 162, no. 33 (March 1, 2016), p. H1054.

Presidential Proclamations

One of the many uses of a presidential proclamation is to ceremoniously honor a group or call attention to certain issues or events. Some recent Women's History Month proclamations, from the Compilation of Presidential Documents, include

Proclamation—Women's History Month, 2018

Proclamation 9576—Women's History Month, 2017

Proclamation 9402—Women's History Month, 2016

Proclamation 9238—Women's History Month, 2015

Statistics

Many federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations maintain statistics on women, including

U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features: Women's History Month: March 2018. Demographic information including earnings, occupations, and educational attainment.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Overview of BLS Statistics on Women Workers. Statistics on women's employment, unemployment, and other labor market data.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Women's Health. Data on women's health status and insurance coverage.

Center for American Women and Politics (Rutgers), Current Numbers. Information on the current number of women in elective office in the United States.

Historical Resources

Numerous government resources provide information on women's history, including

Library of Congress, "Women's History Month." A joint effort of multiple organizations and hosted by the Library of Congress. Contains online exhibits, teaching aids, and event calendars.

National Museum of American History, "Women's History." Resource guides, lesson plans, and programming related to women's history at the museum.

U.S. House of Representatives, "Women in Congress." Current and historical information on women in Congress, including Member profiles, interactive map, and online exhibits.

U.S. Senate, "Women in the Senate." Historical information on women in the Senate, including features on women Senators and Senate staff.

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Reference and Digital Services Librarian ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

Elizabeth L. Maurer, "Women's History Month," National Women's History Museum, March 5, 2017, https://www.nwhm.org/articles/womens-history-month.

2.

"Women's History Month," Law Library, Library of Congress, last updated July 31, 2015, http://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/women_history.php.