Women History Month

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 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: CNNHistory.com

Meet Some of Wheaton's Phenomenal Women

Women have played an important role in helping to make Wheaton what it is today. In 2021, 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.

View the Women of Wheaton webpage.

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 Local Events

We Are Women Art Exhibit
March 1 - 31st 2023
We are Women - Art Exhibit 2023

In partnership with the DuPage Art League and Downtown Wheaton Association, we are excited to display 30+ pieces of artwork from local women artists from the DuPage Art League, St Michael's School, Wheaton North High School, Clare Woods Academy, and Inklude Studio at some of Wheaton’s women-owned or - managed businesses.

Wheaton Art Walk Map of Participating Businesses and Artists & Suggested Walking Itinerary (PDF)
Womens art walk thumbnail Opens in new window

Embrace Equity | Stronger Together: A Look at Female Allyship
Wednesday, March 8th - 7P at the DuPage County Historical Museum
Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 with DuPage Habitat for Humanity, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton, and the Museum for a panel on Embracing Equity: The Intersection Of Gender, Race and Housing Affordability. Panel begins at 7P, networking at 8:30P. For more information, email Michelle Podkowa at mpodkowa@wheatonparks.org.

Women of Wheaton
Tuesday, March 21st - 7P at the Wheaton Public Library
Wheaton historian and journalist Bob Goldsborough will share the history and accomplishments of some of Wheaton's notable women who have made an impact at the local or national level. Co-Sponsored by the Community Relations Commission, League of Women Voters of Wheaton, and the Wheaton Public Library. Register here.

Living History: Beatrix Potter
Wednesday March 22nd - 7P

Meet this beloved author and illustrator whose skills went far beyond Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter overcame barriers that kept women out of business and science and worked to preserve the landscape and culture of England’s Lake District.

This is a hybrid event. Choose to attend in person or virtually. Register here.

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.

Books About Women's History Month

In addition to the various events, you can also explore a curated list of adult books on Women’s History Month in the Library’s Catalog.

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