Women’s History Month originally began as a local week-long celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration during the week of March 8, 1978 to correspond with International Women’s Day. According to womenshistory.org, the movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year. In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance) successfully lobbied for national recognition.
In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.
Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987, when Congress passed a law designating March as “Women’s History Month.”