ATLANTA — Women’s History Month honors the people who fought for rights and equality, and Georgia played a role in turning March into that time of remembrance.
Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is an open history book, with chapters dedicated to the power of women.
Buried at Oakland are those who've contributed to Atlanta and the nation such as Carrie Steele Logan, founder of the Carrie Steele Orphan’s Home, and Selena Sloan Butler, one of the founders of the National PTA.
So, why March?
Historian Jessica Vanlanduyt tells 11Alive that in February of 1908, thousands of women went on strike to protest conditions at New York City garment factories.
“These are mostly immigrant, mostly young women,” Vanlanduyt explained. “This kind of activism is to fight for more rights, to fight for equality, to fight for more pay.”
One year later, on February 28, America celebrated its first National Women’s Day. Women around the world took note and, in Russia, activist Clara Zetkin pushed for International Women’s Day to honor the worldwide fight for equality.
According to InternationalWomensDay.com, Russia’s first celebration was on March 8, 1913, and that became the date worldwide.
In 1980, one of Georgia’s own stepped in to extend the celebration beyond one day.
“Jimmy Carter establishes Women's History Week to be that first week of March, and then is extended through the month in 1987,” Vanlanduyt added.
What was first a day, then a week, eventually became Women’s History Month.
The theme for this year’s celebration is "Valiant Women of the Vote - Refusing to be Silenced."