Did you know that Women’s History Month first started as a daylong and weeklong event rather than a month? We didn’t either! Learn even more Women’s History Month facts with this list that is perfect to share with your students.
Women’s History Month Facts
The first Women’s History Day took place in 1909.
The first National Woman’s History Day took place on February 28, 1909, in New York City. It commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 15,000 women who marched in the garment workers’ strikes.
International Women’s Day became a holiday in 1911.
We celebrate International Women’s Day annually on March 8.
Women’s History Day became Women’s History Week in 1978.
The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned and launched a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. Learn more Women’s History Month facts in this video from PBS Kids.
Women’s History Month began in 1987.
After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 in 1987, which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month.
Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant women the right to vote.
The Wyoming legislature gave every woman the right to vote in 1869.
The first female state governor was Nellie Tayloe Ross.
She was elected governor in Wyoming in 1924.
The 19th Amendment didn’t give all women the right to vote.
The 19th Amendment was signed into law on August 26, 1920. Unfortunately, at the time, other laws prohibited Native American, Black, Asian American, and Latina women from voting. Learn more about Women’s Suffrage in this video by Highlights Kids.
Geraldyn “Jerrie” Cobb was the first woman to pass astronaut testing in 1961.
Unfortunately, Cobb wasn’t allowed to travel to space due to her gender.
In the 1700s, Caroline Herschel earned the first salary that a woman had ever received for scientific work.***
Throughout her long career, Herschel discovered eight comets, received the Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, and helped discover the planet Uranus.
Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.
In 1849, Blackwell was instrumental in opening up the field of medicine for women, mentoring many women who went on to careers in the field. Dr. Blackwell also focused on providing better healthcare for women and children. Learn more in this video from Scholastic.
Title IX was passed on March 1, 1972.
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Learn more in this video from TED-Ed.
Women couldn’t get credit cards until 1974.
Congress passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which allowed women to get credit cards in their own names.
Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.***
October 24, 1901, was Taylor’s 63rd birthday, and the school teacher celebrated by heading over the falls and surviving!
Women outlive men in almost every society.
Scientists aren’t entirely sure why but think it might have to do with estrogen’s ability to improve immune function and protect heart health.
Women make up 17.5% of active-duty military members.
An upward trend is being observed, however, so the number may actually be higher now!
Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.
Madam C. J. Walker was the first Black female millionaire in the U.S.
When a medical condition caused her to lose much of her hair, Madam Walker invented a treatment system that completely revolutionized Black hair care. Learn more in this video for kids by The Wise Channel.
Charlotte E. Ray was the first Black American female lawyer in the U.S.
She graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1872. Learn more in this Little Leaders Read Aloud.
At the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, women could only compete in figure skating.
Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Referred to as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin has placed ninth in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” twice. Learn more in this Little People, Big Dreams read-aloud.
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
In 1739 Elizabeth Timothy became the first female in the American colonies to assume the role of publisher and editor of a newspaper.
This was for the South Carolina Gazette.
Kamala Harris is the first woman vice president.
She assumed office as vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021.
Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
Elected in 1916, Rankin spent her career campaigning for world peace.
Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress.
Chisholm put her hat in the ring for president in 1972, after becoming the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968.
Frida Kahlo was one of the best-known artists of the 20th century.
She is celebrated internationally as an icon of Mexican national and Indigenous traditions and by feminists for her uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus before Rosa Parks.
At the time of her protest, Colvin was just 15 years old.
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.
There’s a record number of women in Congress.
Women make up more than a quarter (28%) of all members of the 118th Congress—the highest percentage in U.S. history and a considerable increase from where things stood even a decade ago.
More women earn college degrees than men.
Women now constitute the majority of the college-educated labor force in the United States, surpassing men with a share of 50.7%.
Even today, mothers have a harder time getting hired.
On top of that, when mothers are hired, they encounter the “motherhood penalty,” a phenomenon where they earn lower wages after becoming mothers.
Women earn less than men for doing the same jobs.
Despite being more educated, a 2020 analysis by the Pew Research Center revealed that women earned 84% of what men did.
Eleanor Roosevelt held the first press conference exclusively for women.
On March 6, 1933, the first lady hosted the inaugural press conference exclusively for women reporters. Over the following 12 years, she conducted 348 press conferences aimed at women journalists.
Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.
In 1921, Wharton received the prestigious award for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence, which inspired many adaptations, including the well-known Gossip Girl book and television series.
Katharine Graham was the first woman to become a Fortune 500 CEO.
Under her leadership at The Washington Company, The Washington Post exposed one of the biggest scandals in history, Watergate, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
“The pill” was first approved by the FDA in 1960, marking a milestone in women’s rights.
The birth control pill has changed the lives of many women ever since.
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award.
On March 7, 2010, Bigelow was recognized for her 2008 film, The Hurt Locker, which won six awards that evening including Best Picture.
In Hawaii, women-owned businesses make up 24.7% of all businesses—the most of any state.
California boasted the highest number of women-owned businesses, with 149,927, yet due to the state’s overall large number of firms, it does not rank among the top 10 states in terms of the percentage of businesses owned by women.
California is the best state for women-owned businesses.
Overall, the five best states for women-owned businesses also include Colorado, New York, Florida, and Vermont. This is “based on metrics like percentage of female-owned small businesses, women-to-men pay ratios, female unemployment rates, number of female-owned companies per 10,000 residents in each state and how many women-owned businesses in each state pull in $1 million or more in annual revenue.”
Women have voted at a higher rate than men in presidential elections since the 1980s.
In the 2020 presidential election, 63% of women cast their votes, compared to 59.5% of men.
Vermont was the last state to send a woman to the U.S. Congress.
Becca Balint was elected to her House of Representatives seat in 2022.
In 2022, 56.8% of women were part of the labor force.
Throughout the 20th century, women’s participation in the labor force steadily increased, reaching its peak at 60% in 1999.
The number of STEM degrees awarded to women has increased by 93% since 2008.
In the 2020–2021 academic year, women received 276,429 degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, an increase from 143,018 degrees awarded in the 2008–2009 period.
In 2021, life expectancy for women in the United States dropped to 79.3 years.
Since 1946, the U.S. population has been comprised of more females than males.
Women made up 50.5% of the total population in 2021.
Alice Paul proposed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.
In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Albright, who was born in Prague, served as Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the first professional baseball league for female players.
The story of this league of women ballplayers was dramatized in the 1992 film A League of Their Own.
Women made up the majority of home-based workers during the COVID pandemic.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “In four out of five occupation groups, women made up a larger share of home-based workers than of all workers.”
Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.
That first trip across the ocean in 1928 took more than 20 hours! This is one of the popular women’s history month facts that is also inspirational.
Hillary Clinton was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.
Also in 2016, Clinton was the first woman to win the popular vote in a U.S. presidential election. However, she lost the election to Donald Trump based on electoral votes. She was also the first woman to win the Iowa Presidential Caucus and the first senator from the state of New York.