Women's History Month was born at Sarah Lawrence College 25 years ago this summer. On Monday, March 8, six of the women responsible for its creation - participants at the 1979 "Women in History Institute" - met to reflect on how far women have come and to look to the future.
The conversation that took place at the President's House at Sarah Lawrence included Amy Swerdlow, historian, activist and author; Pamela Elam, who was instrumental in obtaining the designation, and other original institute participants. It was a preface to a program being planned for a reunion in June of the Institute participants and the graduates of the Sarah Lawrence Women's History program - which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first graduating class - that will review the progress women have made since 1979 and call for a replication of the historic institute to help meet the challenges women face in the 21st century.
Following the 1979 Institute, Elam and another student in Sarah Lawrence's Women's History program - the first graduate program in the nation - took a resolution passed at the Institute proclaiming "the annual celebration of Women's History Week (which became Women's History Month) in the week containing March 8," to Congress, President Carter and governors of the states. The result was the national recognition of the role of women in society and throughout history that spurred the women's movement forward.