March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women and all the many contributions women have made over the centuries. Here are some activities you might consider for corporate or personal observances of Women’s History Month. Whatever you plan, make at least a part of it intergenerational. It is important to share our history with younger women and girls, so they understand and appreciate the sacrifices made in the past that give them, and us, great freedom and possibilities today. (And that serves as a great lead-in to our Ninth Triennial Gathering with its theme, of many generations.)
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum offer a great starting point with a joint website that includes photos, exhibits and links to other collections online.
The New York Times suggests reading a day or week of its paper, making note of “every article, essay, review, photograph or video that you think significantly comments on women’s lives and roles in the world.” Then the newspaper offers discussion questions following this exercise. The New York Times also has a lengthy list of other suggestions for celebrating Women’s History Month.
Video options include the PBS series “MAKERS: Women Who Make America” and “Miss Representation.” Both offer discussion questions and lesson plans among their resources. (“Miss Representation” will be screened at our Ninth Triennial Gathering this July.) An online film festival, #SheDocs, showcases 12 documentaries highlighting women and girls who are transforming their lives, their communities and the world.
Select a book about women or written by a woman, invite others in your congregation to read it and plan a discussion. Perhaps you’d like a book that explores women and their faith, such as Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith by Nora Gallagher (1999 Vintage), Girl Meets God by Lauren F. Winner (2002 Algonquin Books) or Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (2000 Anchor).
You could explore issues of faith and feminism by reading Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism and the Cross by Deanna A. Thompson (2004 Fortress) or Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance by Helen LaKelly Hunt (2004 Atria).
If you’d like to look at the history of women’s organizations in the Lutheran church, you could select From Our Mother’s Arms by L. DeAne Lagerquist or Led by the Spirit: A History of Lutheran Church Women by Lani Johnson. Both of these are out of print; check your church library to find copies. Some online services can track down used copies.
The National Women’s History Project, founded in 1980, is a great repository of information, suggestions and inspiration when it comes to celebrating Women’s History Month. You can even find buttons, bookmarks, balloons and more to use as part of your observances, all available in NWHP’s web store.
Celebrate the bold life of faith of Katharina von Bora Luther (several program ideas here) and help to raise up bold women of faith for generations to come through Katie’s Fund.
Whatever your observance, make use of the Women of the ELCA litanies, prepared for Bold Women’s Day.