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Women's History Themes

Celebrating Women's History

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Are you looking for a theme for celebrating Women's History Month? Or any time you want to honor women's contributions? Check here for some suggestions to get you started on your theme for your classroom, library, workplace or club.

1. Women of Medieval Europe

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Who were some of the key women of medieval times? Women were often ignored by medieval historians unless they were daughters, wives or mothers of great kings, or they were saints. But a few women of the Middle Ages come down to our memory, despite the omissions of the historians. Check this list for a dozen well-known or powerful women of medieval Europe, with plenty of links to more information and many more women of medieval times.

Notable Women of Medieval Europe

Also see: Women of the 10th Century | Women in the Tudor Dynasty | Medieval Women Rulers

2. Top Women's Suffrage Activists

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Courtesy Library of Congress

Before women had the vote, officially they were relegated to the domestic sphere and excluded formally from the political or public sphere. These are key women involved in the woman suffrage movement who stand out as influential, pivotal and memorable. If you're looking for a Women's History Month theme, honoring these women would be one great place to start. The woman suffrage movement (its name at the time, though today it's referred to more often as the women's suffrage movement) was important in winning full citizenship recognition for women.

Top 10 Women's Suffrage Activists

Also check out: Women's Suffrage Timeline | What You Need to Know About Women's Suffrage | Women's Suffrage Quiz

3. American Women Photographers

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange, March 1936
Courtesy of Library of Congress

The women on this list made a name for themselves as artists using the medium of photography. Their photographs often speak of the times in which they lived, and several of the women photographers specialized in photographing people on the margins. What would we think of the Great Depression without the photographs of Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White? Others, like Annie Leibovitz, depicted celebrities in memorable ways, or like Anne Geddes, are known for their work that includes digital manipulation.

Women Photographers

4. Powerful Women Rulers

Pharaoh Hatshepsut presenting an offering to the god Horus.
© Clipart.com

Basic historical literacy includes knowing these powerful women who ruled, from ancient times just into the 20th century. An exhibit might highlight these women from different times and places and with quite different reputations.

Powerful Women Rulers Everyone Should Know

Read more: Ancient Women Rulers | Medieval Queens, Empresses, and Women Rulers | Women Rulers of the Early Modern Period (1600-1750) | Women Rulers of the Eighteenth Century | Women Rulers of the Nineteenth Century | Women Prime Ministers and Presidents: 20th Century

5. Famous Women Scientists

Maria Mitchell, 1847
Courtesy of NOAA Central Library

In 2009, a survey reported that 65% of Americans could not name a single woman scientist. A BBC survey in 2010 showed similar results. This list, while not exhaustive, includes many of the women whose contributions to the world through science are worthy of remembering. If a similar survey is taken in another ten years, will it still be so few who can name any women in science?

Famous Women Scientists

Related: Women in Space - Timeline | Women in Aviation - Timeline

6. Women in Mathematics History

Mary Somerville
Getty Images / Archive Photos

While the field of mathematics was largely closed to women until the twentieth century, some women nevertheless made important contributions. Meet a few of these women -- and in your women's history celebration, communicate that women can and do, indeed, excel in mathematics.

Women in Mathematics

More: Medieval Book Image of a Woman Teaching Geometry

7. Ancient and Medieval Women Writers

Christine de Pizan
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Writing was one of the first professions women gained celebrity in, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries. But there have been women writers through the ages, from ancient times to today. Featuring some of the women from the ancient and medieval periods is an excellent way to introduce some exceptional women who proved that women could make it in a field largely closed to them.

Ancient Women Writers | Medieval Women Writers

8. American First Ladies

Martha Washington
Courtesy US Library of Congress

Wives of American presidents have had a special place in history. Not elected to office, they've nevertheless had expectations on them. From the time of Martha Washington, the First Lady (though the name came later) was expected to play hostess, though not all did. Learn more about the interesting women who've held this non-elective office, appointed, in essence, by their husbands.

American First Ladies

Of related interest: First Ladies Picture Gallery | First Lady Quiz 1 | First Lady Quiz 2 | First Lady Quotes

9. Women Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Wangari Maathai
Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid

A friend of Alfred Nobel was a leader in the international peace movement in the 1890s. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, after several other awards were given. Can you name the women who've won the Nobel Peace Prize, and what they won it for doing?

Women Nobel Peace Prize Winners

10. Women in Business

Helena Rubinstein
Getty Images / Hulton Archive

While women have barely broken the glass ceiling in business, and still lag behind men if you count heads of Fortune 500 companies, a few women have made their mark in the business world. Honoring their accomplishments is a way to recognize potential in all women.

Women in Business: Women Executives, Women Entrepreneurs, and Women Business Leaders

Related: Famous Fashion and Beauty Business Executives

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