Women's History Month
Women’s History Month in San Mateo County
In honor of Women's History Month, we are highlighting prominent women and organizations that are making a difference in our country. These committed leaders are building on the efforts of women's rights leaders from the past and working to improve the future for women today.
About Women's History Month
We celebrate Women’s History Month in March. It was established in 1908 by the Socialist Party of the United States to honor women who impacted our lives throughout history. Today, we continue to recognize and honor women who are changing society and making a difference. March 8th is celebrated across the globe as International Women's Day. Its origins trace back to protests held in the US and Europe to honor and fight for the political rights of working women.
This year marks the 159th anniversary of the first women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention is considered a pivotal moment in the foundation of the women's suffrage movement, establishing Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton among others, as prominent names in American history. Their work, along with the dedication of thousands of other women eventually resulted in the ratification of the 19th Amendment 1920, allowing women the right to vote.
The League of Women Voters was formed in 1920 to encourage women to vote. San Mateo County has two active chapters who register voters, provide community forums where impartial analyses of the issues before voters are discussed, televise local debates, and publish a thoughtful review of the issues entitled, "Pros and Cons." They also belong to the League's online statewide voter information website, www.smartvoter.org.
Women Who Changed America
|2004||In the spirit of Babe Didrikson, the USA Women's Basketball, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball teams all win Gold Medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.|
|1988||Gertrude Elion shares the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her pioneering work in inventing drugs to treat acute leukemia, kidney disease, and arthritis.|
|1987||Congressional resolution naming Women's History Month is passed.|
|1986||Debi Thomas becomes first African American woman to win gold medal in a world skating competition.|
|1973||Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs on the tennis court in the Battle of the Sexes.|
|1972||Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is passed to guarantee equal access and educational opportunity in all public education institutions to males and females.|
|1971||Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, printed the Pentagon Papers which disclosed the lies and cover-up of the Vietnam War.|
|1962||Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is published launching the Environmental Movement.|
|1955||Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, resulting in the yearlong Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott which effectively challenged long held segregation policies of the South.|
|1950||Margaret Chase Smith challenges the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy on the floor of the United States Senate.|
|1939||Marian Anderson gives an Easter Sunday Concert at the Lincoln Memorial drawing an audience of 75,000 and transforming the nation.|
|1934||Eleanor Roosevelt becomes the first First Lady to travel by air to a foreign country.|
|1920||After a 72-year campaign, women in the United States win the right to vote.|
|1919||Suffragists picketing the White House are arrested. They go on a hunger strike and are force-fed. News of their brutal treatment outrages the nation.|
|1917||Jeannette Rankin of Montana is sworn in as the first.|
|1912||Juliette Gordon Low assembled 18 girls together in Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting.|
|1910||Dr. Alice Hamilton connects contaminated and unsafe working conditions to illness and death, leading to the first worker’s safety laws.|
|1888||The National Council of Women of the US is organized by Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.|
|1872||Susan B. Anthony and other suffragists are arrested for voting in the Presidential Election.|
|1852||Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is officially published, selling 300,000 copies the first year and awakening white northerners to the plight of enslaved black people.|
|1851||Harriet Tubman becomes a conductor on the Underground Railroad and returns to the South 19 times rescuing over 300 people.|
|1848||300 women and men meet to discuss women’s rights at Seneca Falls, New York.|
|1777||Mary Katherine Goddard prints the first copy of the Declaration of Independence to include the names of the signers.|
|1776||Abigail Adams writes to husband John who is helping to frame the Declaration of Independence: "Remember the ladies..."|
The March Birthdays of Women who have made a difference
- March 3, 1962 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Considered the world's greatest female athlete; most decorated woman in U.S. Olympic track and field history with sixth Games medals overall.
- March 5, 1931 - Geraldyn (Jerrie) Cobb - Record-setting aviator; first woman to pass qualifying exams for astronaut training, 1959 but rejected as military did not allow female jet pilots at the time.
- March 7, 1938 - Janet Guthrie - Pioneering woman auto racer; first woman to compete in Indianapolis 500 (1977) and Daytona 500 (1977); only woman to place in top 10 finish at Indy 500 (1978)
- March 9, 1928 (1987) - Graciela Olivarez - Chicana activist; first woman and Latina law graduate from Notre Dame Law School; first woman chair of Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
- March 16, 1933 - Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Supreme Court Justice
- March 18, 1964 - Bonnie Blair - Speed skater; the most successful Winter Olympian in US history and 5 time gold medalist
- March 23, 1857 (1915) - Fannie Farmer - authored famous cookbook, "The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook", including accurate and specific ingredient measurements for the first time that would become standardized cooking measurements
- March 23, 1924 (1980) - Bette Nesmith Graham - invented Liquid Paper in her kitchen; sold her company to Gillette Corp. for $47.5 million; created 2 foundations to help women find new ways to make a living
- March 24, 1826 (1898) - Matilda Joslyn Gage - Suffragist, women's rights activist and theorist, historian
- March 24, 1912 - Dorothy Height - Served over 40 years as President, National Council of Negro Women; 2002 NWHP Women's History Month honoree
- March 25, 1935 - Gloria Steinem - Women's rights activist and journalist; founding editor of Ms. Magazine; helped found National Women's Political Caucus, the Women's Action Alliance, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women
- March 26, 1930 - Sandra Day O'Connor - First woman to join Supreme Court as justice (1981)
- March 27, 1924 (1990) - Sarah Vaughan - World renown jazz singer and pianist known as the "Divine One"
- March 31, 1889 (1975) - Muriel Wright - Choctaw Indian; fought for recompense for First Americans