In her forward to our book Smithsonian American Women, author and historian Jill Lepore shares a story of kindergarten students who had selected notable figures from the American Revolution for a class project. They all selected men. When Lepore asked why they had not chosen any women, one girl said, "Because there were no women then!"
During Women's History Month and all year long, here are five ways you can help make sure women's history is part of the conversation.
1. Transcribe historical documents by and about women
Our archives contain thousands of handwritten and typed pages by women in science and art, from the first American woman in space to a pioneer of the African American beauty industry. Transcribe a few words to bring their work to light.
This March, transcribe documents written by astronaut Sally Ride, businesswoman Madam C. J. Walker, and World War II veteran and activist Grace Thorpe, among others. Visit our Transcription Center website to explore our frequently-updated set of women's history transcription projects. It's a great way to volunteer for the Smithsonian no matter where you live.
2. Virtually visit a museum or historic site
Does you favorite museums share women's history year-round? This March, virtually visit your favorite museums to learn more about women's history.
At the Smithsonian, you can learn all about Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage, hear first-person perspectives of some of the American Indian artists featured in Hearts of our People: Native Women Artists, and more. You can also check out Women of Discovery from our National Air and Space Museum, One Life: Dolores Huerta from our National Portrait Gallery, and Innovations in Species Survival: Dr. JoGayle Howard from our National Zoo.
3. Add women who should be recognized to Wikipedia
Less than 19% of Wikipedia biographies in English represent women, according to the organization Wiki Women in Red. This means women's contributions aren't fully being recognized and shared.
Learning to edit Wikipedia is a great goal, but there are ways to pitch in if you aren't ready to write a full article. You can add a new image of a woman to Wikipedia Commons, where another volunteer can include that image in a Wikipedia entry. One place to find images of women to add to Wikipedia? Search for images marked Open Access in Smithsonian collections!
If you're looking for virtual Wikimedia training, you can join Wikimedia D.C.'s introduction to Wikipedia on Friday, March 27from 10:00-11:15 a.m.! Register here to attend. You'll receive a Zoom link prior to the workshop.
4. Donate to support Because Of Her Story
You can help us amplify women's voices, empower women and girls, and reach a global audience with women's stories. Gifts go directly toward projects like developing new women's history exhibitions, hiring curators, and offering mentorship programs. You will help tell the stories of women who have transformed America.
Make a tax-deductible gift to support the American Women's History Initiative, Because of Her Story, today.
5. Discover new history with us by subscribing to our newsletter and sharing it
Subscribe to our newsletter to grow the Because of Her Story community. You'll get the latest news, updates, and more delivered directly to your inbox, so that you can help us celebrate American women's history all year round.
If you're already a subscriber, thank you so much! This month, consider asking a friend to sign up, too.
We hope you get involved this Women's History Month to help us ensure women are part of the conversation.