The first National Women’s History Month was established in 1987 to celebrate women’s achievements and has been held annually every March since. National Women’s History Month exhibits women’s strength and impact throughout American history. The fight for women’s equality has come a long way from gaining the right to vote, and it’s important to remember the women who broke the barriers for our generation.
Celebrating women's achievements
In 1840, Catherine Brewer became the first American woman to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Twenty-two years later, Mary Jane Patterson became the first African American woman to graduate with a bachelor’s. In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell graduated at the top of her class at Geneva Medical School, becoming the first woman to graduate with a medical degree. In the 1970s, women’s enrollment in higher education surpassed men’s, and women continue to enroll at a higher rate. According to the American Psychological Association, for every male psychologist, there are three women with Psychology doctorates. Additionally, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women earn 58% of undergraduate degrees in all fields as well as 50% of all bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering–related fields.
This forever-growing list of achievements is something to be proud of. Women throughout history have defied all odds and broken through every glass ceiling placed above them. Here are some colleges that are celebrating women’s history this month.
Sarah Lawrence College
Once an all-women’s college, Sarah Lawrence College helped launch the movement for the popularization for Women’s History Month, so it’s no surprise that they begin every March with a two-day Women’s History Conference. For this year’s 21st annual conference, the theme is “The Struggle Continues: Intersectional Activism in the Age of Gender Based Violence and Authoritarian Oppression.” You can find more information about the conference here.
The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech is honoring women all month long with the theme “Celebrating Milestones: Building on the Power of Firsts.” Students and faculty were given the opportunity to create programs that encourage inclusivity and honor the women who have carved a path for future generations to follow. A calendar of all the programs and other upcoming events can be found on the school's website.
Texas A&M University
Each year, Texas A&M University’s Women’s Resource Center holds a conference on International Women’s Day. This first began in 2012 when a student organization called Aggie Women in Leadership (which later became The American Association of University Women at Texas A&M) partnered with Texas A&M’s Women’s Resource Center to recognize the importance of diversity and raise awareness of global women’s issues. This year’s theme is “International Women's Day: Balance for Better Conference.” It was held on March 6, where the attendees enjoyed a catered meal as well as performances, discussions, and presentations. If you’re a Texas A&M student, be sure to look into this opportunity!
St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University is a private Catholic women’s college in Minneapolis. They’re celebrating Women’s History Month throughout the month of March; this year’s theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” On International Women’s Day, the College will hold several events across campus. St. Kate’s will also be hosting a conference on women’s and gender studies, for which students who’ve done work related to the topic are encouraged to submit their projects. This year, the conference is open to the community and alumni as well as current students. You can find out more information on what St. Catherine University is doing for Women’s History Month and how you can participate on their website.
As one of the original Seven Sisters colleges, Wellesley College holds a high reputation when it comes to women’s history, so of course they hold an exciting event in celebration for the women who came before them. On March 16, the college will host a Women’s History Month tour held at the on-campus art museum, The Davis Museum. The event will be student led, free, and open to the public. You can find more information on The Davis Museum website.
Women’s impact on history has given today’s generation of women the rights to vote, work, and receive an education. While the women’s movement is still active, today’s women are fortunate to enjoy the sacrifices and accomplishments made by our ancestors. Here's to girl power, and Happy Women’s History Month (and International Women’s Day)!