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Women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion

Women are responsible for some our nation’s greatest achievements and advancements. From inventions – the dishwasher, home security systems, and even the GIF – to some novel discoveries – radium and polonium, leprosy treatment, and aeronautical mathematics – women have propelled our country forward in countless ways. March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

International Women’s Day was recognized earlier in March. It’s a global celebration of women’s achievements, empowerment, and progress towards gender equality. But how did this significant day come to be, and who are the influential women behinds its creation and continued legacy?

The origins of International Women’s Day can be traced back to the early 20th century, a time of great social and political upheaval. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. The following year, the first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, in honor of these protests. Inspired by these events, the idea of an international day to celebrate women’s achievements gained momentum.

In 1910, at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Danish socialist Clara Zetkin proposed the establishment of an annual International Women’s Day. The proposal was met with unanimous approval, and the first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Since then, International Women’s Day has grown into a global movement, celebrated annually on March 8th, to honor the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide.

Since 1995, American presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements of women over the course of American history. In terms of CCRC’s history, the agency was founded by a group of women in 1976. Today, CCRC’s six-person operational strategies team includes three women.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us honor the achievements of women past and present and reaffirm our commitment to advance gender equality and empowerment for all. Together, let us work towards a future where every woman and girl can thrive, fulfill her potential, and make her mark on the world.               

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