Membership Matters

AAUW MEMBERSHIP MATTERS By Bonnie Penix and Jan Stuter

Bonnie Penix

March is Women’s History Month. Did you know that the concept of specifically celebrating women’s history began in California? The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society, organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.

A few years later, the idea had caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, in 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

Women’s History Month highlights women’s contributions to US history, culture and contemporary society. Women are recognized for their achievements in science, government, literature, art, sports, community and medicine. Some names you might recognize are Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Mae Jemison and Wilma Mankiller. Honoring the accomplishments of these women has a positive impact on the development of self-respect and encourages new opportunities for girls and women. As we celebrate 140 years of AAUW’s existence, we will continue to speak out for gender equity in all aspects of our society, and to promote opportunities for women and girls of all backgrounds.

We invite YOU to:

  • Invite your friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors to join AAUW and help advance our

    Janice Stuter


  • Invite them to attend one of our public meetings where they can join at a reduced rate.
  • Invite them to join an organization of accomplished women.

We don’t all have to have names as famous as those above. Each of us has value in her own right and something to offer. What we mostly need to have is a commitment to helping grow strong, successful women as we move forward in history — to continue to create and tell “her-story.” To quote Carrie Chapman Catt: “To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.”

If you have ideas for member recruitment and/or retention, please be sure to share them with us. Thank you!