Women’s suffrage banner. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History via Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Exploring Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. This month offers an opportunity to explore the stories and perspectives of women, both past and present. The Princeton Public Library aims to include such topics in programming and content throughout the year, and this month serves as a chance to focus our efforts.

What we now know as Women’s History Month can be traced back to the 1970s, when grassroots efforts in the United States to organize an annual observance  of women’s history gained traction. Organizers selected March for the observance to correspond with International Women’s Day, which dates to 1910. In the 1980s, responding to advocacy from the non-profit organization National Women’s History Project (now known as the National Women’s History Alliance), a combination of Congressional resolutions and presidential proclamations designated an annual Women’s History Week. Congress designated March as Women’s History Month in 1987 and renewed this observance annually until 1995, when yearly presidential proclamations replaced the Congressional resolutions. The U.S. president has announced March as Women’s History Month every year since. The National Women’s History Alliance selects an annual theme for Women’s History Month.

Programs | Learn | Educator Resources

Programs at the Library

On March 5, the library will host a virtual discussion at 3 p.m. via Zoom titled The Wife of Bath as a Feminist Icon. Author Marion Turner will be joined by Emily McLemore to discuss “The Wife of Bath: A Biography” and examine how the character is a literary and feminist icon who still captures readers’ imaginations. They will also explore Chaucer’s most popular and scandalous character by looking at her role throughout history from the Middle Ages up to #MeToo movement.  Click here to register and learn more.

The library will have an afternoon screening of the movie Corsage on March 8 at 3 p.m. This film gives an account of a year in the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria as she remakes her public image during the year she turns 40 and is deemed an old woman. 

Tea and Cookies will be served. For further information, please click here.

Diane Wilson will be joined in conversation with Tessa Desmond to discuss her most recent book, “The Seed Keeper” on March 8 at 7 pm. The conversation will be both in person in our community and livestreamed to the library’s YouTube channel. Diane Wilson (Dakota) is a writer, speaker and educator who has published two award-winning books as well as essays in numerous publications.  “The Seed Keeper”  weaves together the voices of four indelible women and tells a story of reawakening and of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.  This event is co-presented by Labyrinth Books, the library, and Land, Language and Art, a Global Initiative from the Princeton University Humanities Council. View the livestream at this link and get full event details here.

The Women in the Lead Book Club for children in kindergarten through third grade will meet at 4:30 pm on March 14 and 28 (and continue with sessions through the end of May). Led by teen volunteers, this fun and interactive reading program explores stories about change-making women who broke boundaries, made history and had positive impacts on the world around them. Registration is not required. For full details, visit this link.

Join us on March 19 at 3 pm for a screening of “She Said”, the 2022 drama that follows the New York Times investigation that exposed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s history of abuse and sexual misconduct against women and sparked the #MeToo movement. For complete information, visit our calendar at this link.

The library’s Virtual Story Room is available all year round and has a Women’s History Month playlist where our staff celebrate and share books spotlighting notable women.

Learn about Women’s History

See below for lists of nonfiction and historical fiction, geared toward adult readers and centered around the experiences and perspectives of women.

For teens, kids, and the youngest readers, below are lists of books that highlight varied narratives and perspectives of women.

Online resources include:

Resources for Educators

See the materials below for potential starting points for engaging learners. You’ll find lesson plans, digital tools, curricula, and more.

Content made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities