Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Edwin A. Martini

Second Advisor

Dr. Mitch Kachun

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Freeman


Women’s history, commemoration, coalitions, women’s history month, American history, gender history


This study evaluates the practicalities and consequences of designating one month (March) out of the calendar year for the commemoration of women’s history. In the 1970s and 1980s, national women’s organizations such as the Women’s Action Alliance (WAA) collaborated with the Smithsonian Institute and the Women’s History Program at Sarah Lawrence College to build programs to increase awareness of women’s history. Using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in feminist theory, media studies, and historical memory studies, this project contextualizes the commemoration through its connection to 1970s women’s activism, explores its usefulness as a tool for building educational equity, and questions its contribution to the development of a collective historical narrative. The commemoration of Women’s History Month sits in a critical space. Despite the benefits of annual public celebrations, women’s history remains routinely undervalued. Celebration equates to empowerment. Yet, taught as an elective topic of History, given a public voice for only 31 days, power excludes its practice.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access