Women's History Month

Overview

March is  Women’s History Month! This month serves as a time to honor the achievements and contributions that women of all backgrounds have made throughout the history of the United States, both by remembering those who paved the way in the struggle for gender equity in the United States, and by recognizing the history-makers and barrier breakers of today. 

Orange, blue, and white text that reads "Celebrating Women's History Month" in the center of a dark blue background. There are illustrations of women on the left and right sides of the text.

In 2024, the theme for Women’s History Month is “Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” which recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions.” The theme of International Women’s Day, which takes place on March 8 each year, is “Inspire Inclusion,” which “encourages everyone to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities.”

As New Yorkers, both the city and state where we live are rich with women’s history; in the mid-1800s, for example, the first female doctor in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell, founded her practice in New York City called the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Later, as the fight for women’s right to vote ramped up across the country, New York City served as the headquarters for the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association. In fact, many of the most prominent suffragists lived and worked in our state, including at the now-famous Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Women continued to make history in NYC after the 19th Amendment was passed, as female authors, artists, and musicians came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 30s, like sculptor Augusta Savage and Broadway performer Florence Mills. Then, in the 20th century, many leaders of the second wave feminist movement called New York City home as they renewed the fight for equal rights for women, including journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, and Congresswomen Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, who both represented parts of New York City during their time in office.

This March, we honor the accomplishments and legacies of these women, along with the countless others who shaped our city, state, and country as we have done each year since the first nationwide recognition of Women’s History month in 1987, though even before that official recognition, people across the country promoted the importance of women’s history. In fact, the origins of the monthlong celebration we have today can be traced back to California; it was there that the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission of the Status of Women organized the first ever Women’s History Week in 1978, with the dates in March chosen to correspond with the existing celebration of International Women’s Day. Just a few years later, organizers pushing for national recognition of Women’s History Week succeeded in their efforts, when then-President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation recognizing Women’s History Week nationwide for the first time from March 2–8, 1980. In that proclamation, he wrote that, since the earliest days of our country’s history, “men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

In addition to his own words, President Carter also quoted historian Gerda Lerner in that proclamation: “Women’s history is women’s right—an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” By continuing to recognize Women's History Month year after year, we honor Lerner's message: that understanding the context and significance of women’s stories and accomplishments, as well as the long history of women’s activism and the fight for universal rights, is central to the education of all Americans.

We encourage you to attend the events and exhibitions and explore the resources shared on this page to engage with Women's History this month and all year round.

Events, Exhibitions, and Places to Visit

There is plenty to do throughout March to celebrate women’s history across all five boroughs. Whether it’s family activities at your favorite museum, educational programs for our teachers, or touring the fascinating historical sites that are right in our backyard, we hope you will take advantage of the events, exhibitions, and places to visit all month long.

Events

  • No matter how you want to commemorate Women’s History Month, the New York Public Library has something for you: fun arts and science crafts, movie nights, story times, and more will keep your family busy all month long.
  • In addition to Women's History Month, March also marks the start of the spring season! If you're looking to get outside to celebrate, check out the NYC Parks Women's History Month events happening across the city.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating Women’s History Month this year with educational opportunities and family programming all month long.
  • On Saturday, March 2, 2024 from 1–4 p.m., kids and teens can attend the Women’s History Month edition of “Hands on History” at King Manor! This year, learn about Miss Cornelia’s Flower Guild with a fun craft.
  • The Intrepid Museum will be hosting their 10th Annual Girls in Science and Engineering Day on Saturday, March 12, 2024, from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Free for NYC students and families, this event will feature hands-on experiences, exciting demonstrations, captivating discussions, and more.
  • The Tenement Museum is hosting two free, special virtual tours during the month of March:
  • As a part of their Hidden Voices of New York City programs, the Museum of the City of New York will host a virtual workshop session for Women's History Month during which students in grades 3–5 will learn about three women whose stories have too often been “hidden” from the traditional historical record: Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Emily Roebling and Elsie Richardson. 

    Exhibitions

    • The First But Not Last – Women Who Ran for President virtual exhibit highlights the women in our nation’s history who took on the challenge of advancing society’s progress towards an inclusive vision of the American presidency. Though these women were the first to announce, the first to campaign, the first to raise money, or the first to win a primary, they will not be the last.
    • Explore online exhibits from the National Women’s History Museum, ranging from the stories of women who broke barriers in the United States, from Olympians to NASA engineers.
    • Girlhood, It’s Complicated, an exhibit from the National Museum of American History, commemorates the anniversary of women’s suffrage by exploring the concept of girlhood in the United States, but also how girls changed history in five areas: politics, education, work, health, and fashion. This exhibit argues that girlhood has an unexpected and complicated history, and that girls, like suffragists, used their voices to make a difference. Explore this exhibit via a self-guided interactive online tour.
    • The Library of Congress has a huge range of  Women’s History Month Exhibits dealing with a number of different topics and time periods.
    • Learn more about “Belle da Costa Greene and the Women of the Morgan” with a virtual exhibit from the Morgan Library and Museum. Greene was J. Pierpont Morgan’s librarian and the first director of the institution, and her letters and other objects from the collection “offer insight into how she maneuvered in a world of books and manuscripts dominated by men.” The Morgan Library also has many other interesting virtual exhibits on women writers and poets—including Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, and Beatrix Potter—all of which may be of particular interest during Women’s History Month.
    • Visit the current installations at the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society, including: 
      • “Women Who Preserved New York City” (on display through June 9, 2024) explores the lives and legacies of three women who spearheaded New York City’s postwar historic preservation movement, and galvanized communities to save historic buildings and places.
      • “Women’s Work” (on display through July 7, 2024) showcases approximately 45 objects that demonstrate how “women’s work” defies categorization.
      • The ongoing “Women’s Voices” installation, which tells the story of activists, scientists, performers, athletic champions, social change advocates, writers, and educators through video, audio, music, text, and images.

    Places to Visit

    Reading List

    Throughout the month, and all year long, we encourage families, educators, and students to dive into a book about Women’s history and the female experience. The suggestions below are just a few of our favorite titles, with works of fiction and non-fiction for every grade level that feature characters and perspectives that are often not reflected in other popular works. We hope you will enjoy reading and learning from these outstanding stories.

    Early Readers (Grades 3K–2)

    • Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
    • Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper, by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Julie Downing
    • Dinosaur Lady, by Linda Skeers; illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
    • Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Gary Kelley
    • Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX, by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Toshiki Nakamura
    • Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker, by Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Simona Ciraolo
    • Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai; illustrated by Kerascoët
    • Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote, by Dean Robbins; illustrated by Nancy Zhang
    • The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne, by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by John Parra
    • Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge, by Rachel Dougherty
    • Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, by Jess Keating; illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
    • Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride, by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney
    • Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution, by Joy Michael Ellison and Teshika Silver; illustrated by Teshika Silver
    • Under My Hijab, by Hena Khan; illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
    • Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity, by Sarah Suzuki; illustrated by Ellen Weinstein

    Elementary (Grades 3–5)

    • Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909, by Michelle Markel; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    • Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression, by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Sarah Green
    • An Equal Shot: How the Law Title IX Changed America, by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
    • Fairy Tales of Fearless Girls, by Suzannah McFarlane; illustrated by Lucinda Gifford, Beth Norling, Sher Rill Ng, and Claire Robertson
    • Listening to the Stars: Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovers Pulsars, by Jodie Parachini; illustrated by Alexandra Badiu
    • Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, by Vivian Kirkfield; illustrated by Alleanna Harris
    • No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Nancy Zhang
    • Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls, by Jane Yolen; illustrated by Susan Guevara
    • She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein, by Lynn Fulton; illustrated by Felicita Sala
    • Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, by Paula Yoo; illustrated by Lin Wang
    • A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks, by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by Xia Gordon
    • Starting from Seneca Falls, by Karen Schwabach
    • Step Up to The Plate, Maria Singh, by Uma Krishnaswami
    • A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, by Michelle Y. Green
    • Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells, by Philip Dray; illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

    Middle Grade (Grades 6–8)

    • Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Dress Coded, by Carrie Firestone
    • Finish the Fight! The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, by Veronica Chambers and the Staff of the New York Times
    • The Firefly Letters, by Margarita Engle
    • Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win World War II, by P. O’Connell Pearson
    • Go With the Flow, by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann
    • Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, the Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America, by Karen Blumenthal
    • Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box, by Evette Dionne
    • Maybe He Just Likes You, by Barbara Dee
    • The Radium Girls: The Scary but True Story of the Poison that Made People Glow in the Dark (Young Readers’ Edition), by Kate Moore
    • Revenge of the Red Club, by Kim Harrington
    • Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution, by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner
    • The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life, by Amy Butler Greenfield
    • A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country, by Ilene Cooper; illustrated by Elizbeth Baddeley
    • The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote (Adapted for Young Readers), by Elaine Weiss

    Upper Grades (Grades 9–12)

    • Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights, by Mikki Kendall; illustrated by A. D’Amico
    • Atomic Women, by Roseanne Montillo
    • Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt
    • Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich, by Annie Boochever and Roy Peratrovich, Jr.
    • Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse, by Catherine Reef
    • The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna
    • Girls Save The World in This One, by Ash Parsons
    • Great or Nothing, by Joy McCullough, Caroline Tung Richmond, Tess Sharpe, and Jessica Spotswood
    • Margot Mertz Takes It Down, by Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy
    • One For All, by Lillie Lainoff
    • Say Her Name: Poems to Empower, by Zetta Elliot; illustrated by Loveis Wise
    • Six Angry Girls, by Adrienne Kisner
    • A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood
    • Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, by Rebecca Hall; illustrated by Hugo Martinez
    • Watch Us Rise, by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

    Many of these books are readily available through the citywide Digital Library on Sora, which provides free access to hundreds of digital e-books and audiobooks for our students. You can also check out Sora's Feminism is For Everyone Collection, which has many more suggestions of books to read this month, and all year-round. In addition, the New York Public Library also has some great recommendations in their reading list, Who Runs the World: Celebrating Women in March with Books for Kids & Teens.

    Video and Audio Resources

    Educator Resources

    • The  National Educator’s Association has put together a comprehensive list of resources and lessons to use during Women’s History Month in the classroom.
    • Explore the resources and information in Because of Her Story, part of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative. This digital collection of documents, artifacts, and more help tell the stories of history-making women who helped shape the United States as we know it today.
    • Women and the American Story (WAMS) is a free curriculum website from the New-York Historical Society which offers educational resources that “illuminate diverse women’s contributions to the American past.” For more, check out all of the resources from the Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History.
    • The  Zinn Education Project provides several Women’s History resources, including teaching guides, films, book recommendations, and more, free on their website.
    • From the National Women’s History Alliance, explore their “Education Connection” resource guide, which contains documentaries, curriculum materials, and more, with a particular focus on suffrage and the fight for equal rights.
    • For more on the suffragists, the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House has a large number of resources for teachers across all grade levels. This also includes discussions about the complicated legacy that Anthony leaves behind, which is expanded on further by the Teaching History and Ourselves lesson, The Racial Divide in the Women's Suffrage Movement.
    • From lessons on Shirley Chisholm and other women who have run for office in the United States, the history of the Equal Rights Amendment, or an examination of intersectionality in women’s activism, the Beyond Suffrage lesson plans from the Museum of the City of New York will provide students with a look at women’s history outside of Seneca Falls. For more from MCNY, check out their resource guide on Women’s Labor Activism in New York City in connection to their “Activist New York” exhibition.
    • Facing History and Ourselves has a large number of Women’s History Month resources available online: from their  insightful blog posts to their mini-lessons and more, you’ll find everything you need about what and how to teach these important subjects.
    • The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History has a wide range of digital resources available through their “History Now” collection—their lessons deal with topics from 1620 to the present.
    • Learning for Justice has a number of relevant lesson plans to use for Women’s History Month, including “Female Identity and Gender Expectations,” which tackles the barriers that limit girls’ and women’s opportunities and asks students to explore how those barriers can be dismantled, and “Beyond Rosa Parks: Powerful Voices for Civil Rights and Social Justice,” which explore the stories of female civil rights activists whose names you might not know.
    • Dive into the New-York Historical Society’s new Women & the American Story unit “Expansions and Inequalities, 1820-1869,” which explores the role and expectations of women evolved rapidly in the mid-19th century, and how the experiences of women in this period varied widely based on race, class, age, gender identity, and geographic region.
    • In 2022, the United States celebrated 50 years of Title IX, the revolutionary law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. High school students can learn more about what Title IX does, the history of the bill, and the ways that it continues to have an impact today with a lesson plan from C-SPAN Classroom.
    • Learn about women and the environment, the legacy of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and more—all from the National Park Service’s Women’s History webpage.
    • With a lesson plan from Khan Academy, students can learn more about the history of Second Wave Feminism and the notable figures that shaped the movement.
    • Browse the Women’s History “Bookshelf” from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which includes documentaries, exhibits, articles, and, of course, a list of books to enjoy and learn from throughout the month. For another NEH project, and to expand lessons beyond the United States, students can learn about Women in World History with resources covering topics that range from 6th century India to the Soviet Union under Stalin.
    • From sports stars to musicians, environmentalists to educators—learn more about history-making women with the National Women’s History Museum’s biographies and  articles.

    Hidden Voices

    Hidden Voices began as a collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York that was initiated to help City students learn about the countless individuals who are often "hidden" from traditional historical records. Each of the people highlighted in the series has made a positive impact on their communities while serving as outstanding examples of leadership, advocacy, and community service.

    Hidden Voices curriculum resources are now available through WeTeach NYC, including:

    In addition to these lessons, we regularly feature profiles on history-making women who could be considered “hidden voices.” During Women’s History Month, check out our profiles on:

    • Bernice Sandler, a champion of the groundbreaking Title IX law that transformed student athletics and gender equity in the United States.
    • Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, who came to the United States from China in the early 20th Century and went on to play an instrumental role in the growth of New York’s Chinatown and the universal suffrage movement that advanced voting rights for women.
    • Emily Roebling, the devoted wife who became the acting engineer of the largest transportation project ever conceived and constructed up until that point in time: the Brooklyn Bridge.

    You can find more of our profiles throughout the year on our Hidden Voices webpage.