Women’s History Month: What about her story?

Women's History Month aims to empower women by discovering and celebrating women's lives and achievements and providing positive role models and inspiration.

Women’s History Month, which is being launched tonight in Westminster, sponsored by MPs Anne Begg and Jo Swinson, will run throughout March; here, Becky Ridgewell introduces the initiative

For too long women’s history and achievements have been forgotten, overlooked, erased and devalued. Simon Schama’s list of ‘What every child should learn’ demonstrates that there is a paucity of women’s history at the heart of history teaching. This problem would be exacerbated if history teachers were to follow this man-heavy list from this government history tsar.

In 2010 the UK did not have a nationwide Women’s History Month (WHM), even though the WHM has been running for several years in other countries, such as the US and India. This does not mean the UK lacks organisations that are passionate about celebrating women’s history, there is the magazine Herstoria and the Women’s History Network for example.

And for several years in East London there have been events celebrating WHM such as the Wise Words book fest.  But there has not been one overarching organisation promoting WHM events across the UK – until now.

WHM aims to raise awareness and empower women by discovering, documenting and celebrating women’s lives and achievements and providing positive role models and inspiration.

If these aims seem idealistic, consider Black History Month. An annual event since the seventies, Black History Month has been a mainstream fixture in museums, libraries and educational establishments for decades. WHM aspires to emulate that success.

Meanwhile, women are not the only marginalised group reclaiming their heritage and place in the history books. 2011 will see at least five history months in the UK: the long established LGBT History Month and Black History Month will now work alongside more recent additions like Women’s History Month, Disability History Month and Gypsy, Romany and Traveller History Month.

• Women’s History Month can be followed on twitter – @WomensHistMonth – and more infromation is available at womenshistorymonth.co.uk and the Women’s History Month Facebook group.

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