Women’s History Month 2024 celebrates advocates for ‘equity, diversity and inclusion’

File: View of American educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955) and former leader of the National Association of Colored Women Mary Church Terrell, with a large crowd, November 23, 1947. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/

March 1 marks the beginning of Women’s History Month and this year’s theme celebrates women who advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, according to the National Women’s History Alliance, a nonprofit that spearheaded the movement for March to be Women’s History Month in the United States. 

"The theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions," the National Women’s History Alliance website reads.

Throughout March, and 2024, the group encourages people to recognize the women who are committed to embracing everyone in "our common quest for freedom and opportunity." 

"It takes courage for women to advocate for practical goals like equity, diversity and inclusion when established forces aim to misinterpret, exploit or discredit them. Throughout 2024, we honor local women from the past and present who have taken the lead to show the importance of change and to establish firmer safeguards, practices and legislation reflecting these values. Following decades of discrimination, we are proud to celebrate women who work for basic inclusion, equality and fairness," the nonprofit said. 

What were the past themes for Women's History Month?

Each year, there is a theme for Women's History Month that is created by the National Women's History Alliance. 

In past years, some of the themes include:

  • "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope"
  • "Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced"
  • "Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence"
  • "Nevertheless She Persisted, Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women"
  • "Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business"
  • "Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government."

RELATED: Women's History Month 2023 celebrates ‘women who tell our stories’

Who started Women's History Month?

Women's History Month was not officially started until 1987, according to History.com.

Although the month-long celebration did not start until later, a week-long celebration took place prior to 1987. 


File: Native American participants in the 2019 Women's March walk with signs and bullhorns in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

In 1978, a school district in Sonoma, California, started Women's History Week. This concept was then made into a national week-long holiday by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980. 

The holiday took place during the week of March 8.

Then, in 1981, the U.S. Congress made the week a national celebration. It was not until 1987 that the week turned into a month-long celebration.

Why is Women's History Month in March? 

Even before the week-long celebration was established by the California school district, the holiday began as National Women's Day. The International Women's Day website says it was in 1908 when thousands of women got together and made their way through the streets of New York City in a march. 

They were fighting for women's rights, including women's voting rights. 

The following year, in 1909, the first official National Woman's Day was celebrated, but instead of it being in March, it was on February 28. 

Other countries started recognizing a day for women in March, while Americans continued to celebrate on the last Sunday in February until the 1970s. 

Though the month of March is dedicated to women's history, International Women's Day is still held on March 8 each year.

FOX News and Kelly Hayes contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.