Women’s History Month is a dedicated month to reflect on and celebrate the often-overlooked contributions of women to history, culture and society. Wheaton's Community Relations Commission encourages the community to learn more about Women’s History Month and to join in the celebration through participation in some of the local events offered for the community throughout March.
History of Women's History Month
Women’s history month has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. In the 1970s, local groups and municipalities began celebrating Women's History Week with one of the most notable celebrations organized in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. A few years later, the idea had caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. In 1987, Congress declared March 1987 as the first official Women’s History Month.
- Sources: CNN, History.com
Meet Some of Wheaton's Phenomenal Women
Women have played an important role in helping to make Wheaton what it is today. Last year, the Community Relations Commission compiled a range of profiles of women (past and present) so the community can get to know some of the incredible women in our town.
We invite the community to post on social media using #WomenofWheaton about a female (past or present) whom they’d like to celebrate and recognize during Women’s History Month.
Women's History Month Events
Community Relations Commission Co-Sponsored Events
We Are Women Art Exhibit
Tuesday, March 1 - Thursday, March 31, 2022
In partnership with the DuPage Art League and Downtown Wheaton Association, we are excited to display artwork from some of the DuPage Art League’s talented female artists and other local artists at some of Wheaton’s fabulous women-owned or managed businesses.
Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois
Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m. hybrid
Jeanne Schultz Angel discusses the diverse group of women activists in Illinois prior to 1920 seeking enfranchisement, including attorney Ellen Martin, the first woman to vote in Illinois, and Ida B. Wells. Co-sponsored by the Wheaton League of Women Voters and Wheaton Community Relations Commission. Registration required.
Register to attend in-person: https://bit.ly/3hiknGA
Register to attend virtually: https://bit.ly/3JWWilj
Living History: Eleanor Roosevelt
Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. hybrid
Join actress and scholar Leslie Goddard as she portrays one of America’s most fascinating and influential public figures. Born into wealth, Eleanor grew from a shy, homely orphan into a confident, driven First Lady and stateswoman who championed progressive causes. Co-sponsored by the Wheaton League of Women Voters and Wheaton Community Relations Commission. Registration required.
Register to attend in-person: https://bit.ly/35m1PCM
Register to attend virtually: https://bit.ly/3JQN1uL
DuPage County Historical Museum
Recognizing Trailblazers: Confident and Courageous Women Who Shaped DuPage
Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m. DuPage Museum Auditorium
Join the DuPage County Historical Museum and Confident and Courageous to celebrate Women’s History and Black History months by honoring Black women who have been trailblazers in DuPage County. These strong women were essential parts of their communities, serving with honor, humility, and reverence for the greater good. Meet these women, past and present, by learning their stories, struggles, and triumphs to create lasting change in DuPage County.
This one-hour program will honor several distinguished veterans and community leaders, some honorees will be present. The event will also recognize the importance of women’s clubs locally.
Event co-hosted by: Confident and Courageous program
Special Guests include: Local author Glennette Tilley Turner and Naperville Woman’s Club
Space is limited, please reserve your seat today. If you find you cannot make the event, please let firstname.lastname@example.org know so we can make room for more guests.
Registration is required. Register here
Wheaton Public Library Events
The Bad Girls of Justice
Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. hybrid
Join Tauya Forst, Professor of Justice Studies at College of DuPage, as she discusses the only five women who have been appointed to the US Supreme Court. Honor Women’s History Month learning what led our Lady Justices to the bench. Registration required.
Register to attend in-person: https://bit.ly/3LHzUxS
Register to attend virtually: https://bit.ly/3rWjEkE
Women Breaking the Bias
Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. virtual
Celebrate International Women’s Day with a dynamic panel of local leaders who will discuss how they overcame stereotypes and realized achievements to #BreaktheBias. This program is co-sponsored by DuPage Habitat for Humanity and the Wheaton League of Women Voters. Registration required.
Register here: https://bit.ly/36EF4dZ
Other Local Resources About Women’s History
We encourage you to check out the following videos of past programs and exhibits that cover a range of topics on Women’s History.
- DuPage County Historical Museum - Ballots of Power Exhibit Tour: Women gained the right to vote after decades of activism when the United States ratified the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920. In the 100 years since then, the women of DuPage County have used their power to vote in earnest, running for public office and advocating for change. Discover how DuPage women have influenced politics on the local, state, and national levels.
- Marget Hamilton - Wheaton’s First Female Mayor: Wheaton journalist Bob Goldsborough discusses the extraordinary accomplishments of Wheaton’s first female mayor, Marget Hamilton, including her fight for fair housing, the forming of the Wheaton chapter of the League of Women Voters, and saving the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad right-of-way for future use as the Illinois Prairie Path. Co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wheaton and the City of Wheaton Community Relations Commission.
- Wheaton Public Library - Women Scientists Who Changed the World: College of DuPage staff members, Kathleen Hess, College of DuPage Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Laura Burt-Nicholas, Reference Librarian highlight the history of women who changed the world with their discoveries in science. Featuring Alice Ball, Dorothy Hodgkin, Hedy Lamarr, Tu Youyou, and more.
- Wheaton Public Library - The Women Who Helped Build Chicago: Major events in Chicago’s history compelled 19th and early 20th century women to act, to organize and create. It’s on their shoulders that Chicago women continue to shape our city. Laurie Russell highlights the achievements of women who have, and continue to greatly influence Chicago’s business, the arts, politics, and more.
- Wheaton Public Library - Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration: Gain new insight and appreciation for the privilege of voting! Historians and educators Llona and Lynn Steele will provide a retrospective of the Women's Suffrage movement, from national Women's Rights advocates to local luminaries, as well as the history of the League of Women Voters.
- Wheaton Public Library - Women of Cantigny: Laurie Russell, formerly of the Robert R. McCormick Museum at Cantigny, discusses how a lack of male heirs propelled the women in the Medill, McCormick, and Patterson families to do amazing things. From serving in Congress, breaking flight records, winning the Pulitzer Prize and owning their own newspapers, each woman has a fascinating story.