7 Projects Advancing Women's History
Women have been making incredible discoveries, founding essential institutions, and more since the dawn of time. Still, it is only recently that many of these pioneers have been recognized for their work. As the feminist movement continues to grow, several organizations have formed to document these women and their contributions to society and share their stories with the world. In no particular order, this list highlights some groups furthering the study and preservation of women's history.
Coming in at #1 is Monumental Women, which focuses on increasing awareness and appreciation of women’s history through a nationwide education campaign. Its Put Her On A Pedestal art and history project invites local communities to study the suffragist movement and celebrate it via original drawings. The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and The Guardian are among the media to spotlight the group's efforts.
The group was established as an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with the goal of creating the first statue of real women in Central Park’s history. Its Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, which features Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was unveiled in 2020, coinciding with the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted American women the right to vote. The companion Talking Statues App features short documentaries and brief histories of the three honorees.
Entering the list at #2 is The Center for Women’s History and Leadership, a non-profit organization that manages the Frances Willard House Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark. The museum has a collection of furniture, artwork, textiles, family photographs, books, and its namesake's bicycle. It also conducts tours for historians, educational groups, and youth organizations.
Willard participated in the founding convention of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, becoming its first corresponding secretary and eventually president. The organization took on suffrage and education and labor reforms, and grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century. In recognition of her achievements, numerous schools and public monuments around the country are named for her.
At #3 is National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, a collective that pledges to support and promote the preservation and interpretation of sites and locales that bear witness to women’s participation in American life. Prominent locations represented by the group include The Star-Spangled Banner House in Baltimore, home of Revolutionary War flagmaker Mary Pickersgill, and the Frontier Nursing Service, which brought modern midwifery to the poor of Kentucky hills in the early 1900s.
In partnership with The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the group oversees the National Votes for Women Trail, which collects sites from all over the country in order to tell the story of suffrage for women of all ethnicities. Among the sites on the trail are Old City Hall in Boston, the Leland Hotel in Springfield, Illinois, and Stephens Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas, named for Charlotte Lottie Andrews, the first African American teacher in the district. Media highlights of the organization include CNN, the Leader-Herald in upstate New York, and The Lima News in Ohio.
Joining the list at #4 is The First 100 Years, a video history project documenting the journey of women in the legal profession, from 1919 to present day. Powered by the charity, Spark21, the team uses historical research, academic records, or personal connections to write the history of women in law for inclusion in its database. Through a special exhibition that marks key milestones, schools, libraries, and universities can access downloadable artwork for educational use.
In partnership with authors Lucinda Acland and Katie Broomfield, the organization's book, FIRST, tells the story of women in law from early campaigners through to the first women solicitors, barristers, magistrates, and judges. Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hails it as inspiring, while noted barrister, Sarah Langford, praises it as fascinating and vital.
In the #5 spot is the National Women’s History Museum. Its mission is to tell the stories of women who transformed America through virtual exhibits, oral histories, and public programs. Media coverage of the organization encompasses such outlets as People magazine, Teen Vogue, and The New York Times.
The National Women’s History Museum offers a number of educational resources including lesson plans, biographies, posters, and primary sources. They are searchable by topic, theme, or resource type. The organization also coordinates virtual field trips spotlighting such topics as feminism, African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement, and the Space Race.
At #6 is the Evanston Women’s History Project, a collaborative community effort begun in 2007 to document and celebrate women and women’s organizations that have made significant contributions to the city's history. The group maintains a research database with basic biographical and historical information and resources for researchers.
Entries in the database include notable residents and initiatives such as children’s author and editor, Clara Judson, and the Baker Demonstration School, which was originally founded in 1918 as a kindergarten program for immigrant children. The Evanston Women’s History Project speaker’s bureau has presenters available for local organizations or club on various topics relating to the area's women’s history. Subjects include temperance and suffrage and 100 years of women voting.
To complete our list, at #7, we present the Women’s History Network, a national association and charity to promote women’s history. Based in the United Kingdom, include working historians, researchers, independent scholars, teachers, librarians, and many other individuals within academia and beyond.
The WHN provides members with two publications, an e-newsletter and a peer-reviewed journal, Women’s History, which carries four or more articles together with book reviews, prize details, and general WHN news. The association hosts an annual conference, which provides a forum where people from the UK and beyond can meet and share research and interests.