Throughout history, women have made major contributions to society, but their work was not always recognized and rewarded in the same way as the contributions of men. Women's history was not a well-studied field before the first Women's History Week in 1978, held in Sonoma County, California.
At that time, a single day called International Women's Day had been celebrated in many countries for more than half a century. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was the first president to declare a National Women's History Week in the month of March.
As more and more individual states made women's history a month-long celebration, it was clear that many people supported the cause. Congress declared March to be National Women's History Month permanently in 1987.
President Carter pointed out in his message to the nation: "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation.
"Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."
Click on the links below to learn about some famous women in history.
The Congressional Gold Medal is produced by the United States Mint on behalf of the U.S. Congress. Congress awards this medal to people whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the nation's success and to honor places and events that are important to our country.
Medal Mania is home to Inspector Collector's collection of medals. Medal Mania has a whole section devoted just to medals awarded to women over the years. See and read about these beautiful women's medals and their recipients.
Some commemorative coins have honored women, such as:
In coins that circulate, there are:
Check out these Time Machine adventures featuring women of the past.