The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement - Women's History Month

| PRIOR | 
Episode #WHM-02 for Day 2
    | NEXT |

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
 who is solely responsible for its content.

Contents of this article may be freely reprinted for educational and nonprofit use.
We would appreciate credit and request that the philosophy of the material not be changed.

March 8 is International Women's Day: born in militancy, efforts are being made to change it to a sweethearts-type celebration

March 8 is International Women's Day - a day seldom mentioned in the U.S. although its origin is as American as red, white, and blue.

According to one old article, a women's march in New York in 1857 provided the inspiration for the day. Others claim that it began as a commemoration of a strike by women needle trades workers in New York City in 1908.

Clara Zetkin, a delegate to the International Socialist Congress in 1909 (or 1910), suggested to the conference that March 8th to be set aside to mark the struggle for equal rights (and pay) for all women.

A letter published in Zetkin's newspaper stated the American National Women's Day in 1911 was its third annual celebration and had become an International Day.

Whatever its origins, in some places in Europe women get the day off from work to celebrate. In Italy women give each other sprigs of flowers. There is, however, a growing effort to make it a kind of St. Valentine's day celebration with men giving presents to the "little ladies." Such a machismo attitude attempts to destroy or nullify the political overtones of the day.

At stake are BILLIONS of dollars that corporations are underpaying women yearly by not giving them equal pay for equal work - or just equal pay with the guy next to them doing exactly the same work.

The torch for celebrating National Women's History Month has been taken up by the National Women's History Project. Mary Ruthsdotter, its projects director, explains:

"The National Women's History Project (NWHP) is at the forefront of the effort to introduce more women into the telling of our national story. The NWHP was established in 1980 as a nonprofit educational corporation by Molly MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Bette Morgan, and Maria Cuevas.

Using a variety of approaches, the organization has clearly increased (American) multicultural women's history awareness in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, workplaces, and communities nationwide.

"In 1982, the Project initiated a Women's History Resource Service. Materials about women that were `interesting to read, historically accurate, and multicultural where appropriate' were announced in a mail-order catalog, making books and posters available to people wherever they lived.

"National Women's History Project (NWHP) is most widely recognized for its Women's History Catalog which lists for sale thousands of books and educational materials about women's history and women's issues. But that's just one of the organization's approaches to increasing public recognition of U.S. women's history.

"Teacher training is another front. Through teacher in-service sessions and annual summer conferences, NWHP staff have trained teachers from 34 states and four foreign countries in methods for incorporating women's history into their curricula. Two of the videos the NWHP has produced are specifically for this purpose. They have also produced seven history-content videos, written and published thirteen curriculum units and six program planning guides, and two coloring books.

"Out-of-school audiences have been introduced to multicultural women's history at work sites and in libraries and meetings of social and civic organizations. The NWHP has produced program kits, distributed a range of short videos, and produced 27 full-color posters and ten display sets for this purpose."

For further information: NWHP, or About 250,000 copies of the NWHP 48-page catalog are circulated each year. Request a copy via NWHP or (800) 691-8888. NWHP, 7738 Bell Road, Windsor, CA 95492-8518."

(Irene Stuber has NO connection with the NWHP organization but very much admires its work.)

© 1990-2006 Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71902. Originally web-published at We are indebted to Irene Stuber for compiling this collection and for granting us permission to make it available again. The text of the documents may be freely copied for nonprofit educational use. Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are © 1998-2009 the liz library.  All rights reserved. This site is hosted and maintained by the liz library.