About Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
From the Law Library of Congress’ guide to the legislative history of Women’s History Month.
Executive and Legislative Documents
The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Women’s History Month.
Put the power of primary sources to work in the classroom. Browse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids.
The Library of Congress
- Women’s History
Exhibitions, special presentations, lesson plans and other materials gathered from throughout the Library of Congress on the topic of Women’s History.
- Women Pioneers in American Memory
- Women’s Suffrage
This primary source set includes images, sound files, song sheets, political cartoons and maps and charts to help teach about women’s suffrage in America.
- Women’s Words of Wisdom
- 1970s America on DocsTeach, with primary sources on Women’s Rights
- DocsTeach Activity: Extending Suffrage to Women
- DocsTeach Activity: The Suffrage and the Civil Rights Reform Movements
- DocsTeach Activity: Teaching Document Analysis with Rosa Parks #1
- DocsTeach Activity: Teaching Document Analysis with Rosa Parks #2
- DocsTeach Documents: Women throughout American History
- Primary Sources on DocsTeach: Women in Wartime
National Endowment for the Humanities
- Character in Place: Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” for the Common Core (Lesson plan)
- Courage “In the Time of the Butterflies”: A Common Core Exemplar (Lesson plan)
- Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rise of Social Reform in the 1930’s
- Elizabeth Murray Project (partnership with California State University, Long Beach)
- Folkore in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
- Launchpad: “A Jury of Her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell
- Remember the Ladies: The First Ladies
- Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The First Great Latin American Poet
- “Their Eyes Were Watching God”: Folk Speech and Figurative Language (Lesson plan)
- Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran
National Gallery of Art
- Browse online materials (PDFs, interactive lesson plans, and podcasts) and borrow free-loan resources (teaching packets, DVDs/VHS) on art by female artists at NGA Learning Resources.
- Louise Bourgeois, Spider, “Lizzy & Gordon Visit the Sculpture Garden”
Louise Bourgeois created this giant spider sculpture to represent her mother (who died when she was 21). That might seem weird (if you love your mother and are afraid of spiders), but to Louise, a spider represents a powerful, yet delicate protectress. Also, her mother ran a tapestry repair business where she wove fabric like a spider spinning a web.
- Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun (PDF)
Vigée-LeBrun was one of late-eighteenth-century France’s most successful portrait painters—often she had a waiting list! Why was she so popular? Because Vigée-LeBrun pleased her clients by making them look attractive, with graceful poses and happy expressions.
- Georgia O’Keeffe (PDF)
American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) is known for her paintings of flowers, bones, shells, stones, leaves, trees, mountains, and other natural forms.
- Mary Cassatt (PDF)
Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926) is best known for her portrayals of mothers and children. She became a successful professional artist at a time when it was very difficult for a woman to do so.
- Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s The Marquise de Pezay, and the Marquise de Rougé with Her Sons Alexis and Adrien
- Judith Leyster’s Self-Portrait
- Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party