Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories: how to make the most of Women’s History Month 2023


Women’s History Month spans from March 1 until March 31, with the intention of celebrating the contributions women have made in the United States. For 2023, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

Starting as a week-long celebration organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978, Women’s History Month has grown into a 30 day observation of the role women have played in improving the cultural and social fabric of the United States. 

The Sonoma School District promoted their celebration by encouraging students to submit themselves in a “Real Woman” essay contest as well as hosting a Women’s History Month parade. The result of the rise in observation led president Jimmy Carter to issue the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution the following year establishing a national celebration. Six years after that, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March, and did so successfully.

Each year, Women’s History Month receives a designated theme by the National Women’s History Alliance, paying special tribute to a specific field or group of women. For the year 2023, the theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” and is recognizing “”women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.” (National Women’s History Alliance) 


The best and easiest way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to learn more about why these ladies are being recognized. Encapsulating the fields of journalism and other types of content creation, Women have been shaping the way stories are told throughout history. With a pivotal role in the development of these fields, women have brought new perspectives and fresh ideas to previously male-dominated fields. The following are women who have been recognized for their contributions to journalism or other forms of media and storytelling.

Ida B. Wells 

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was best known for her work as an activist and journalist, using her work more prominently to show the treatment of African Americans in the South throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Inspired to shed light on the incident of the lynching of one of her friends, Wells-Barnett began investigating the reasons why black men were being lynches. She ultimately published an expose about lynchings in 1892, which found her at the center of controversy surrounding the piece. Despite often facing ostracism from white feminists for confronting their ignorance on the lynching issue, Wells-Barnett stayed actively involved in the women’s rights movement. Wells-Barnett founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and she was present at the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Wells-Barnett also traveled around the world in order to spread her information on unfair lynchings to an international audience.

Gloria Steinem 

Gloria Steinem started out as a trailblazing feminist in the 1960’s, and has since evolved into a renowned journalist, author, and spokesperson for the Women’s Rights Movement. Steinem broke through gender barriers at a time when newsrooms were controlled by men, using her voice to speak about these inequalities and others faced by women at the time. Steinem led women’s marches, co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, and founded her own female-empowering magazine called “Ms.”

Frances Fitzgerald 

Frances Fitzgerald is known for her work as a journalist and an author, publishing six books and contributing to a multitude of different magazines and newspapers. Fitzgeralds’ first book, Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (1972), which detailed the ignorance on the American front of the Vietnam War,  was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bancroft Prize for history. In order to do research for this book, Fitzgerald spent 16 months in Vietnam, recording her anticipating the failure of the American side caused by their lack of understanding and empathy for the Vietnamese people. Fitzgerald has been credited with providing honestly raw depictions of historical events.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson 

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is a reporter for NPR who is based in Berlin. Nelson’s work for NPR has made her one of the most recognized international journalists of the 21st century. From 2012 until 2018, Nelson worked as NPR’s bureau chief in Berlin.Nelson covered the Arab World for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa during the Arab Spring. Nelson also opened the first NPR bureau in Kabul, which provided a larger audience with a new look at life in Afghanistan, specifically regarding the treatment of women. She was sent on assignments to the Middle East following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Nelson’s work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East was recognized through her winning the ICFJ Excellence in International Reporting Award in 2017. She was also a member of the Newsday team who won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the TWA Flight 800 crash.

Charlotta Spears Bass

Charlotta Spears Bass was a journalist, activist, and politician who advocated for civil rights in the early to mid-twentieth century. She served as the editor and bought the oldest African American newspaper on the west coast, The California Eagle. Bass was the first black woman to run for the vice president of the United States, in 1952. Bass was able to grow the popularity of the newspaper, making it the largest Black newspaper on the West Coast by the 1930’s. The newspaper called out racism in different pieces of media, including the 1915 film Birth of a Nation. She also put an emphasis on employment and housing discrimination and racial violence. Bass won a court case brought forth against her by the Ku Klux Klan after they sued Bass for libel after she published a letter by the head of California’s Klan that exposed a plot to frame local Black leaders. 

Katharine Graham

Katharine Graham was an editorial writer and former owner of the Washington Post, which she obtained after the death of her husband. Graham was originally dubbed as a “doormat wife,” who changed her status to the first-ever female CEO of a fortune 500 company. From 1973-1991 she served as Board Chair and CEO of the Washington Post, moving the status of the publication to the top ranks of American newspapers. Graham placed an emphasis on editorial excellence and philanthropy. She allowed the newspaper to publish both the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate story, which advanced the Washington Post’s status. In 1998, Graham won the Pulitzer Prize for her autobiography, which detailed her life as a successful businesswoman and journalist. 

Evelyn Yoshimura

Evelyn Yoshimura is a Japanese American activist, scholar and community organizer. Yoshimura grew up in Denver following her family’s release from a Japanese internment camp.During her time at California State University Long Beach, Yoshimura worked as an editor to Gidra, her work resulted in the mobilization of the Asian American community by spreading information about about the issues, goals, and viewpoints of Asian Americans. Yoshimura ensured that the Gidra publication included coverage of various issues being faced by Asian Americans, and she also expressed her own opinions on opposition to the war in Vietnam, racism, and beliefs about Asian American women.

Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy Thompson was an American columnist, reporter, and radio personality who encouraged Americans to follow the threat that Nazi Germany posed to Jewish people in Europe as well as democracy. A graduate of Syracuse University, Thompson began her career in a job with the New York State Woman Suffrage, and she later moved to Europe in order to find a good story to cover. She became known as a journalist who was willing to take a risk. Thompson shared foreign coverage with the New York Evening Post, where she wrote articles about the political climate in Europe, specifically with the rise of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler. Thompson was even expelled from Nazi Germany in 1934 after interviewing and criticizing Hitler. Thomspon devoted her work to opposing the Nazis, touring the country and giving lectures about the political state of Europe. Thompson was a compelling voice who used her broadcasting talent to alert the American public about the threat of the Nazis.

The online National Women’s History Museum also provides interesting resources for free. Exhibitions, photos, quotes, and seminars are all available on the website. More resources are provided for students and educators including lesson plans, biographies, and videos from a variety of topics. There are also links on the website for anti-racism resources, which include ways for anyone to educate and motivate themselves to take action.

Online events are being held by the online National Women’s History Museum throughout the month of March, with the purpose of educating people about the different aspects of Women’s History. Events are virtual and free to attend, with celebrated speakers hosting the discussions. Upcoming events include a discussion by professor and award winning authorTamika Y. Nunley on the experiences of African American women in 19th century Washington, D.C. on March 5. 

 The month can be celebrated in many ways, whether it is participating in events centered around women or doing your own research. However you choose to recognize the importance, it is necessary to acknowledge the barriers that have been broken by women throughout history, paving the way for the future.