In 1980, a small group of women in Santa Rosa, California, set out on a mission.
Noticing that only a minuscule percent of textbook content was devoted to the achievements and accomplishments of women in the United States, activists Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan set out not to rewrite history but to ensure it became more inclusive.
The National Women’s History Alliance, formerly the National Women’s History Project, successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as Women’s History Month, and has since worked to recognize and celebrate the roles women have played in the building and strengthening of the nation. Through the years, the group has received numerous educational awards and honors for its efforts. In 1997, it launched an award-winning website to serve as a clearinghouse for multicultural women’s history information. The women’s history highlights for the month of August on the website include:
- 6, 1965: The Voting Rights Act outlawed the discriminatory literacy tests that had been used to prevent African Americans from voting. Suffrage was finally fully extended to African American women.
- 8, 1969: Executive Order 11478 issued by President Richard Nixon required each federal department and agency to establish and maintain an affirmative action program of equal employment opportunity for civilian employees and applicants.
- 9, 1995: Roberta Cooper Ramo became the first woman to hold the office of president of the American Bar Association.
- 10, 1993: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the second woman and 107th justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
- 12, 1972: Wendy Rue founded the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), the largest businesswomen’s organization in the United States.
- 14, 1986: Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper retired from active duty in the U.S. Navy. A pioneering computer scientist and inventor of the computer language COBOL, she was the oldest officer still on active duty at the time of her retirement.
- 23, 1902: Fanny Farmer opened the School of Cookery in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 26, 1920: The 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.
- 26, 1970: Betty Friedan led a nationwide protest called the Women’s Strike for Equality in New York City on the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
- 26, 1971: The first Women’s Equality Day, initiated by Rep. Bella Abzug, was established by presidential proclamation and is reaffirmed annually.
- 28, 1963: More than 250,000 gathered for a march on Washington, D.C., and listened to The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
- 30, 1984: Judith A. Resnick was the second U.S. woman in space, traveling on the first flight of the space shuttle Discovery.
For more information on the National Women’s History Alliance, visit nwhp.org.
Tags: women's history