Women's History Month starts today

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Today begins a monthlong educational endeavor to make sure the contributions of women throughout history are not forgotten. The month of March is national Women's History Month.
   The theme for this year's celebration is "Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility," according to information from the National Women's History Project, a non-profit organization instrumental in creating Women's History Month.
   The event started in Sonoma County California in 1978 when an education task force declared that, for one week in March, education would focus on women's contributions to history. March 8, which was already recognized as International Women's Day, was selected as the focal point to ensure a multi-cultural perspective, according to information from the NWHP.
   As the celebration gained popularity, then President Jimmy Carter took notice. In March 1980, Carter issued a message to the American People that encouraged the recognition and celebration during the week of March 8 as Women's History Week. By the end of the year, Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had co-sponsored a joint Congressional Resolution declaring the week of March 8, 1981 as National Women's History Week, according to the NWHP.
   "In 1987, at the request of women's organizations, museums, libraries, youth leaders, and educators throughout the country, the National Women's History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March. A National Women's History Month Resolution was quickly approved with strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate," a brief history on the holiday available on the NWHP Web site says. "Since 1992, a Presidential Proclamation has carried the directive for what is now a major national and international celebration."
   Locally, area libraries are setting up displays of selected reading materials related to women in history, and the Women's Resource Center at East Tennessee State University has scheduled a month of activities to honor the contributions of women to our society.
   ETSU students are on spring break through the first week of March, so the WRC will hold a celebration of International Women's Day on Monday, March 8 in the D.P. Culp University Center Atrium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
   Several lectures are scheduled throughout the month by the WRC as well as the Women's Studies Program at ETSU.
   One major event is a one-woman play titled, "Agnes of God" that will be presented by an ETSU student on March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Nelson Fine Art Center, 324 E. Main Street, Johnson City.
   Another event will be a concert by Magdalen Hsu-Li, an Asian-American acoustic pop folk artist. The concert will be held at 7 p.m. on March 11 in the Martha Street Culp Auditorium on the campus of ETSU.
   For more information on the events scheduled at ETSU, contact the Women's Resource Center at 439-7847 or online at www.etsu.edu/wrcetsu.