UW Combined Fund Drive

February 29, 2024

This Women’s History Month, celebrate champions of equity and inclusion

The roots of Women’s* History Month as a national commemoration run all the way back to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over poor working conditions. The first Women’s Day celebration in the United States was in 1909, also in NYC. In 1911, March 8 was designated International Women’s Day.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring Women’s History Week to align with the longstanding International Women’s Day. The next year, congress designated the second week of every March as National Women’s History Week.

In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, congress authorized the president to designate each March as Women’s History Month, a celebration of the contributions and achievements of women to the social, political, economic and cultural course of American history.

From Abigail Adams’ influencing to Sacagawea’s guiding to Sojourner Truth’s orating to Harriet Tubman’s emancipating to Clara Barton’s caring to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s organizing to Amelia Earhart’s daring to Margaret Sanger’s innovating to Eleanor Roosevelt’s activating to Jeannette Rankin’s glass-ceiling-shattering to Georgia O’Keeffe’s creating to Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s inventing to Grace Hopper’s computing to Dolores Huerta’s protecting to Rachel Carson’s eye-opening to Rosa Parks’ resisting to Lucille Ball’s entertaining to Maya Angelou’s writing to Gloria Steinem’s advocating to Shirley Chisolm’s trailblazing to Katherine Graham’s commanding to Barbara Walters’ reporting to Vera Wang’s couture-designing to Oprah Winfrey’s culture-defining to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s judging—and many, many more.

The course of American history has been written and revised by courageous, visionary, persistent women.

But while applauding the achievements and progress animated by both famous and everyday champions of equity, Women’s History Month also reminds us that gender bias still exists, women remain underrepresented in nearly all arenas of power and influence, and women’s rights are human rights that need to be constantly fought for at home and around the world.

Moreover, women’s empowerment in achieving health equity for themselves, while a fundamental right and an ongoing movement, still lags behind men.


There are many resources available to help raise awareness about the work of achieving gender parity and inclusiveness; here are just a few to check out:


UW Women of Color Celebration
March 4, 2024, noon-1:30 p.m., at the UW HUB
Keynote speaker is Ileana M. Rodriguez-Silva, associate professor of Latin American & Caribbean history

International Women’s Day: Inspiring Change
March 5, 4-7 p.m., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Seattle
Keynote speaker is Pamela Oakes, author of “Sisterhood Unleashed: The Transformative Power of Solidarity.”

Championing Women in Tech Every Day $
March 6, 5-8 p.m., Rough & Tumble Pub, Seattle
Toast to Women’s History Month by celebrating women in tech.

Seattle Pride International Women’s Day Fair
Friday, March 8, 5-7:30 p.m. at Fremont Abbey
Local artists, artisans and business owners share their wares and stories, plus music by Rae Isla.

International Women’s Day Expo $
Friday, March 8, 6-8 p.m. at the Columbia Tower Club, Seattle
A celebration of women’s achievements and a platform to empower and inspire.

Northwest Women’s Show $
March 23-24, Tacoma Dome, Tacoma
Two days of fashion, health, food, entertainment and fun in this two-day celebration of women.


If Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day inspire you to support positive change for women and girls, you can make a one-time donation or set up payroll deduction to a UW Combined Fund Drive organization working toward a gender-equal world. Find dozens in the UWCFD’s searchable database. Here are just a few:

Dress For Success Worldwide – promoting the economic independence of women through professional attire, career development and employee retention programs (charity code 0456936).

Freedom Education Project Puget Sound – providing a rigorous college program to incarcerated women in Washington and creating pathways to higher education after prison (charity code 1482384).

Girl Scouts of Western Washington – developing leadership, courage, confidence and character for girls age 5-17 (charity code 0315196).

IGNITE Worldwide – dismantling myths and stereotypes girls have about technology careers by connecting them with women technology professionals (charity code 1481065).

International Center for Research on Women – empowering women, advancing gender equality and fighting poverty through research, capacity building and advocacy (charity code 1481537).

Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington State – building public will and community investment in innovation policies and practices that impact girls in Washington state (charity code 1482829).

League of Women Voters of Washington – strengthening the public’s understanding of public policy issues through nonpartisan educational projects that help people become informed, active participants in their communities (charity code 1480788).

Mary’s Place Seattle – empowering unhoused women, children and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community (charity code 1481713).

UW Alene Moris Women’s Center – building a culture of social justice, equity and non-violence through educational programs, advising, counseling, life skills training, and public policy (charity code 0315815).

The UW Combined Fund Drive and The Whole U stands with, supports and celebrates all women. We envision a world where women are healthy, safe, heard and empowered.

*In this article, “women” and “girls” refers to all gender expansive people: cisgender, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender queer and anyone woman- or girl-identified. Learn more about these terms here