Better Together

Today is March 8th, International Women’s Day during Women’s History Month, and I am attending The Women in Publishing Summit. So, what else is there to write about for this week? I’m even stealing the theme of the Summit, Better Together, for this article, as it seems appropriate.

International Women’s Day began in New York in 1909 as National Women’s Day. Organized by the Socialist Party of America, it was deeply rooted in the labor movement. A suggestion was made the following year at a conference for working women in Copenhagen that this become an international event to support women’s rights. And in 1911, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated. While the focus has evolved, it remains a celebration of the accomplishments of women in a variety of fields: science, art, business, and technology, to name a few. Recent themes include “Choose to Challenge,” “Each for Equal,” and “Press for Progress,” urging people to take action. This year’s theme is “Inspire Inclusion.”

With the same goals and focus in mind, March became Women’s History Month. In 1978, the Sonoma County, California Education Task Force initiated a week dedicated to the accomplishments of women to coincide with the international celebration. The plan was to incorporate the study of women’s history into the school programs. They believed these had been overlooked in the traditional history courses.

This concept quickly gained popularity and spread throughout the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation establishing the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week. As the movement grew, taking over a more extended period, Congress passed a resolution in 1987  naming March as Women’s History Month.

As with International Women’s Day, this spread into a global ceremony highlighting women and often became a national holiday in other countries. These were marked by parades, lectures, parties, and sporting events throughout the month designed to educate the public, primarily focusing on the overlooked roles women played in shaping history and inspiring young girls. Recent Women’s History Month themes include “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” This month’s theme is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.”

Today, I decided to honor some of the women who have made contributions to their fields. The list is vast, but the following women had the most mentions as I pored over those lists.

Science & Medicine

Marie Curie—First woman to win a Nobel Prize for her work in the field of radioactivity

Rosalind Franklin—Used X-ray diffraction to discover the DNA double-helix structure

Florence Nightingale—Known as the founder of modern nursing


Mary Shelley—One of the early creators of science fiction

Virginia Woolf—Challenged the social injustices on women in the early 1900s

Maya Angelou—Poet and civil rights activist

Civil Rights & Social Movements

Rosa Parks—Refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger

Gloria Steinem—leading feminist and activist for women’s rights

Malala Yousafzai—an advocate for educating young girls, youngest Nobel Prize winner

Politics & Leadership


Indira Gandhi—first female Prime Minister of India

Angela Merkel—first female Chancellor of Germany

Shirley Chisolm—first African American elected to Congress

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor—first women named to the Supreme Court

Technology & Innovation

Ada Lovelace—Often named the world’s first computer programmer

Grace Hopper—U.S. Navy rear admiral and critical figure in developing computer languages

Katherine Johnson—Mathematician whose calculations were integral to NASA space missions

This list is barely the tip of the iceberg. There are so many names that deserve to be on this list, as well as many other categories where women are making inroads. As I attend the Women in Publishing Summit, I am meeting other women who, while they may not be names that will show up on a future list, are working together and making names for themselves in their own right.


Join me in celebrating women this month. What names would you add to the list?