National Women’s History Month began in March 8, 1857, when the women of a New York City factory stood up and protested over poor working conditions.  Congress in 1981 established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated the second week of March.  Then in 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month.

When we think about women’s rights, we first think of the right to vote.  There is so much more to it than that.  It was interesting to find out that 1870 was the first U.S. census that actually counted women in the work force.  In 1870 women made up 15% of the entire workforce.   Today, women make up 59% of the entire workforce. The 1870 United States census counted 13,976,079 women. As of October of 2009 there are 155.8 million women in the United States.


In 2008, 55% of all college students were women; there were 349,000 lawyers, 267,000 physicians and surgeons, and 36,000 pilots.  Compare that to the list below that shows only a sampling of jobs held by women in 1870:

  • Agriculture Laborers  373,332
  • Architects  1
  • Authors/Lecturers  15
  • Bakers  238
  • Bank Employees  3
  • Barber/Hairdressers  1,179
  • Bookkeepers  293
  • Cabinetmakers  712
  • Cotton Mill Operators  64,398
  • Dentists  24
  • Domestic Servers  867,354
  • Employees of Government  601
  • Journalist  35
  • Lawyers  5
  • Librarian  43
  • Nurses  10,170
  • Physician/Surgeon  525
  • Pilots  1
  • Saleswomen  2,775
  • Seamstresses  97,207
  • Sewing Machine Operators  2,860
  • Teachers  85,047

This is a time to celebrate the women in our lives that have helped to shape who we are today.  It is a time to educate ourselves about the women around the world that have made a difference in all our lives as a result of their courage and fighting spirit over many years.  Today we are better off because of their dedication to the cause.

If you are blessed to have your grandmothers or great-grandmothers still in your life, talk to them about what it was like for them growing up as women.  Video tape or write down their journey through life.  What a beautiful gift to pass down to our future generations of women.

Yes, we have come a long way, but there is still more to be accomplished!