Jewish Women on the Map - Sarah Lawrence College
In the summer of 1979, a fifteen-day conference (July 13-29), co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence, the Women's Action Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution, was held at Sarah Lawrence College. Intended for female leaders, it was attended by a diverse range of participants representing 43 different women's organizations. The institute was organized by Sarah Lawrence professor Gerda Lerner. One of the pioneers of women's history, Lerner hoped to introduce a diverse group of varied backgrounds to the possibilities of women's history.
Asked to create one large group project, seminar members adopted the goal, suggested by one of the participants, of "making the celebration of Women's History Week a national event." Institute alumni returned to their homes across the country and began to press for publicly sponsored women's history programs at both the local and national level. Securing a joint resolution of Congress and the approval of President Jimmy Carter, the first national Women's History Week was proclaimed in 1980. Women's History Week brought forth such a wealth of programs in so many schools, universities, and communities, that the observance was expanded into Women's History Month in 1987. Beyond Women's History Week, the Institute also led indirectly to the introduction of an abundance of historical programming at the local and national level, including the creation of the National Women's History Project.
See also: "Pioneering women's history summer institute" in This Week in History