March is Women's History Month

illustration of women looking left in profile

Celebrating Women and Nonbinary Persons 

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women and nonbinary persons have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements they have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

Suggested Readings

The following is a list of suggested books to celebrate Women's History Month, and is by no means an exhaustive list. You can also peruse Random House's list for the Women's History Month reading challenge. Would you like us to make an addition? Contact us and let us know.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky  
Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. 

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly 
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. 

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
In their debut novel, River Solomon continues Octavia Butler's legacy of black science fiction while also including queer and neuroatypical themes and plots with great success. 

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem by Amanda Gorman 
Amanda Gorman's powerful and historic poem 'The Hill We Climb,' read at President Joe Biden's inauguration, is now available as a collectible gift edition.

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner
A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society.

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg 
 In this collection Justice Ginsburg discusses gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, who introduce each chapter and provide biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted.

Becoming by Michelle Obama  
Becoming” has the former FLOTUS discussing her childhood, family, motherhood, her own FLOTUS impact, the pressures of being part of the first Black family in the White House and balancing her public life now. 

A History of Kindness by Linda Hogan
Chickasaw writer Linda Hogan has been publishing since the late 1970s. Although she’s primarily a poet, Hogan has also written essays, novels, and a memoir. Her latest poetry collection, A History of Kindness, was released this June and centers the global environmental crisis of the contemporary moment. 

Trans Like Me by CN Lester
In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children - all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author's own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.

Black Indian by Shonda Buchanan
What does it mean to be both Black and Indigenous in America? What does it mean to be of tri-racial descent? Shonda Buchanan dives deep into her identity and inheritance in this shining memoir. Raised as a Black girl but told stories of her multiracial heritage throughout her childhood, Buchanan calls her book “an attempt to expand, reclaim, and celebrate narratives of the African American experiences as well as the American Indian experiences” that inform her sense of self. 

The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton  
Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them—women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.

Suggested Podcasts

A short list of podcasts by women and nonbinary persons from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Would you like us to make an addition? Contact us and let us know.

Encyclopedia Womannica
Thinking back to our history classes growing up, we had one question: Where the ladies at? Enter, Encyclopedia Womannica. In just 5 minutes a day, learn about different incredible women from throughout history. In Wonder Media Network’s brand new podcast, we’re telling the stories of women you may or may not know -- but definitely should.

Dare I Say
Imagine if you could overhear intimate, unfiltered conversations between the world’s most influential women? In season one of Dare I Say, the first podcast from, host Olivia Wilde allows us to do just that. The actress and activist takes us inside the sometimes heated, sometimes vulnerable, and always animated discussions that happen when two women—those unafraid to challenge the status quo—sit down to tackle the most pressing issues we’re facing today.

Created and hosted by Marina Franklin, FriendLikeUs is a humerous take on hot topics; it features women of color and differing opinions hashing out the week’s buzziest happenings. For the most part, the hosts and guests invited on are from comedic backgrounds, so laughing you will do, but Franklin uses her platform to promote the occasional artist, poet, and Instagram influencer she deems worthy of the know also.

Coffee With My M‪a‬
Hosted by actress Kaniehtiio Horn (LetterkennyThe Man in the High Castle) and her mom, Kahentinetha Horn.  Kaniehtiio Horn is a First Nations actress and her mother is a prominent Mohawk activist whose life has led her into some unbelievable adventures.

iHeartRadio Podcasts for Women's History Month
Celebrate Women's History Month with shows that highlight women's global, political, cultural, economic, and social achievements across
industries curated by iHeartRadio.

What the Trans?!
What The Trans!? is a UK-based weekly podcast with news and interviews, made by and for transgender and non-binary people. 

NPR Special Series: Tell Me More About Women's History
A curated episode list by NPR taking a deeper dive into the history and accomplishments of women.

Latina to Latin‪a
In this interview series, host Alicia Menendez talks to remarkable Latinas about making it, faking it, and everything in between. In often-hilarious and always-revealing episodes, Alicia and her guests take on the challenges of existing, and then thriving, as women of color.

Gender Reveal
The Gender Reveal podcast explores the vast diversity of trans experiences through interviews with a wide array of trans, nonbinary and two-spirit people. Created by journalist and educator Tuck Woodstock, the show also serves as a free educational tool for anyone seeking to learn more about gender.

Woman's Hour Daily 
A podcast not just about history, but everything from the past leading up to the present. In an hour, you'll hear stories and histories from women of all backgrounds that will challenge and motivate you.

Five Must-Listen Podcast Episodes with Indigenous Women
Curated by POD.DRALAND, "a space dedicated to the voices of women in podcasting", this list of podcast episodes features guests, stories, and issues by indigenous women.

Women and Non-Binary Persons Focused Events

Elaine Marieb College of Nursing Spring Seminar Series: Dr. Lucinda Canty
Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Zoom

The Elaine Marieb College of Nursing Office of Research is pleased to present a talk byDr. Lucinda Canty, Associate Professor and Director of the Seedworks Health Equity Program, titled "Developing community initiatives to improve Black maternal health through the voices of Black women". In this talk, Dr Canty will discuss her research into severe maternal morbidity and maternal mortality among Black women. 

Women’s Graduate Therapy Group
Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

An experiential therapy group utilizing psychodramatic and action methods for women-identified graduate students looking for support. 

Feminists Against Empire: Resistance to U.S. Sanctions and Embargoes
Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 7:00– 8:30 p.m., Zoom

On the eve of International Women's Day, this panel of Latin American feminists will discuss the relationship between patriarchy and U.S. imperialism, specifically the fatal impacts of U.S. sanctions against the Cuban and Venezuelan people.

Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Community Support
Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., Zoom

Free and open to all UMass and Five College students who identify as trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or questioning. Students located in any state, or internationally are welcome.

International Women's Day: Friend Speed Dating
Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., New Africa House 127

Join the Women of Color Leadership Network for a fun Friend Speed Dating event and meet new WOC, write a postcard for an important woman in your life and learn more about WOCLN! Bring a friend or come to meet a new one! Light snacks and feminist postcards will be provided.  

WOCLN: Healing Racial and Gendered Violence Against Women: A Drop-in Space for Women of Color
Thursdays, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m., New Africa House 127

A supportive drop in space for women and non-binary POC to discuss issues important to them, from racism and discrimination to intergenerational trauma, to colorism, and other internalized oppression, to healing and other topics that are requested by the participants. One does not need to commit to attending all sessions. You can drop in for any session you choose. Sign-in is required upon arrival.

Women for UMass Spring Celebration
Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., University of Massachusetts Club in Boston

Women for UMass (WFUM) invites alumni and friends to celebrate the revolutionary women and programs that are fueling advancement and empowerment among UMass women and their communities. This year’s celebration will feature a panel of exceptional, influential alumnae who will share how they are using their success to empower underrepresented groups in their fields—while also educating the next generation on creating an equitable future for all. 

Frances Perkins and Historical Memory: A Talk with Rebecca Brenner Graham
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Herter Hall 601

Graduate students and faculty from the Five Colleges are invited to hear Dr. Rebecca Brenner Graham, a History Teacher at the Madeira School and an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University, speak about the memory of Frances Perkins, the United States' Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945. 

Women's History Month: Te Ata Film Showing at the JWECC
Thursday, March 23, 2023, 7:00 p.m., Chadbourne Hall B-3

In celebration of Women's History Month, join us for a showing of Te Ata, based on the true story of Thompson Fisher, a Chickasaw woman who became a successful and well-loved actress with a career spanning over 60 years.

Working in Black and White in the Knowledge Economy
March 28, 2023, at 4:00 p.m,, Great Hall of the Old Chapel, Registration Required

With Enobong (Anna) Branch, professor of sociology, and senior vice president for equity at Rutgers University. Anna was the founding PI of UMass ADVANCE and she served as the first associate chancellor for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at UMass Amherst.

Presented by UMass ADVANCE, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is advancing women faculty, including women faculty of color, in science and engineering.

A Conversation with Tressie McMillan Cottom
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Location TBD

The College of Education is thrilled to welcome acclaimed cultural critic, MacArthur Fellow, New York Times columnist, and podcast host Tressie McMillan Cottom to campus on March 29. Professor Cottom's talk will address a number of issues intersecting the higher education space. The lecture will take the form of a conversation with Dominque Baker, an associate professor of education policy in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development at Southern Methodist University.