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Female Leadership During Women's History Month

Posted on February 26 2023

Female Leadership During Women's History Month


Dear Educator,

The idea of celebrating the achievements of women in the U.S. for an entire month sprang from the recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th. In 1978, a group called the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women began the work of recognizing women’s history for a week. They picked the seven days around March 8th and called the event Women’s History Week. By February 1980, President Jimmy Carter formally recognized this week in a presidential proclamation. In a speech regarding the proclamation, Carter said,

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.”
Many educators were enthusiastic about including women’s history in their curriculum, to help promote gender equality in the classroom. Six years after the proclamation, 14 states had extended their curriculum to include the whole month of March. The following year, in 1987, Congress declared March to be National Women’s History Month.
This week, we are looking at some of the women who have had prominent leadership roles in recent U.S. History:
Kamala Harris is the current vice president of the United States, under President Joe Biden. Her political career includes serving as a district attorney, state attorney general, senator, and presidential candidate. Not only is she the first woman to serve as vice president, her parents are of Jamaican and Indian descent, making her the first African American in that role.

Wilma Mankiller was living in San Francisco in 1969, when she and friends from the Indian Center successfully occupied Alcatraz Island and its penitentiary. As a result, they brought national attention to the needs of Native Americans. She returned to Oklahoma and became deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1983. She was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 1985. Thus, she became the first woman to be elected to this position. Chief Mankiller served for 10 years, and in 1991, she won with 82 percent of the vote. Learn more about this leader and activist in this week’s GNN article.


Condoleezza Rice is the first African American to have served as a United States security adviser. She is also the first Black woman to have served as the U.S. Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is an important position internationally, as he or she is the president’s primary advisor on U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary heads the State Department and carries out the president’s foreign policy. As such, it is a vital position in the U.S. government.


Hillary Rodham Clinton also served as U.S. Secretary of State, under President Barack Obama, from 2009-2013. Before then, she was the First Lady with President Bill Clinton. Then, she joined the U.S. Senate, representing New York. She was also the first woman to receive the presidential nomination from a major party (the Democratic Party), although she lost the election to President Donald Trump. Learn more about this woman of many firsts in this article.


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