2024 Women’s History Month Resource Recap

Women carrying signs that say Can Until You Can't

March was Women’s History Month and the Law Library celebrated all month long with our display, candy, and blog postings. Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

The 2024 Women’s History theme was “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” According to the National Women’s History Alliance, “During 2024, we recognize the example of women who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in our common quest for freedom and opportunity. They know that people change with the help of families, teachers and friends, and that young people in particular need to learn the value of hearing from different voices with different points of view as they grow up.”

Law Library Women’s History Month Display

2023 Women's History Month Display

Our Women’s History Month exhibit, curated by Rhonda Wiseman, spotlighted alumni, women leaders, and monographs from our collection that focus on the history and journey of women’s rights and women’s contributions to the legal community and beyond. Of particular note was the special section of the display honoring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who visited UC Law to dedicate the refurbished Taft Hall and delivered the fourth William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional Law.

Women in the Law

ABA, Women Leading the Way (PDF)

Learn more about trailblazing women, especially those in the legal profession, in US history. View short bios and see highlights of women recently honored by the various ABA Goal III Entities, including activists, judges, and other trailblazers.

ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, 21 Day Grit and Growth Mindset Challenge

The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession created the Grit Project “to educate women lawyers about the science behind grit and growth mindset – two important traits that many successful women lawyers have in common.” Grit and growth mindset, in turn, help to build resilience and confidence. When combined with a sense of purpose, authenticity and community, these traits help to keep women in the profession – even while we work to address the larger systemic challenges that threaten to deplete the number of women practicing law. The 21 Day Grit and Growth Mindset Challenge was created to help you develop and enhance your grit and growth mindset by consistently engaging in short, daily challenges: reading thought provoking articles, watching videos, reviewing case studies, and taking concrete, habit-forming actions. Do them on your own, or form a Grit Group to unpack the challenges and learnings together.

ABA, Commission on Women in the Profession, Celebrating Women’s Leadership (Video)

This year, women are leading the majority of national bar associations across the United States. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession is proud to host many of these women presidents for a lively discussion. Join ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross and Commission on Women in the Profession Chair Hon. Maureen Mulligan as they lead a robust roundtable discussion about the history of the advancement of women in the legal profession as well as the lessons learned by this esteemed group as they carved their paths to the top of the profession.

ABA, Young Lawyers Division, How Women of Color Can Overcome Challenges to Thrive in the Legal Profession – Part I (Video)

In the legal profession, still largely dominated by male leaders, it isn’t easy for any woman to rise to the top. But women of color face even more significant hurdles and unique challenges. Among the major issues they face: pay disparities (gender and race), unconscious bias, and access to leadership training. In the first installment of the ABA YLD’s How Women of Color Can Overcome Challenges to Thrive in the Legal Profession Series, Wendy Shiba and Melissa Murray open up about what drives them, how they’ve overcome obstacles and their tips for success.

ABA, Commission on Women, Motherhood and Caregiving Bias in the Legal Profession: Dismantling the Systemic Barriers to Equity (Video)

What is the motherhood/caregiving penalty? Why is it still not recognized despite the value in weaving the human condition of caregiving into organizational culture? How do organizations implement procedures and decision-making for institutional change to ensure the success of mothers and caregivers? Join us for a lively discussion about dismantling the systemic barriers to equity and the perpetuation of bias, using an intersectional approach.

Media and Archival Resources on Women’s History

Documentaries – Women & Society

Available through the UC Libraries’ Kanopy subscription, view films on women and society.

Films on Demand, Women’s History Month

Available through the UC Libraries’ Films on Demand subscription, view a curated list of films on women and history.

Library of Congress, Women’s History

Videos from the Library of Congress on the subject of women’s history.

National Archives, Select Films on Women’s Rights

Women and the Spirit of ’76

The American Revolution led to a transformation of the social order of the 18th century, and women played a significant role during this dramatic era. Prominent Americans – Betty Friedan, Dr. Rita Hauser, Dr. Margaret Mead, Patricia Linh, Prof. Richard B. Morris, Benetta Washington, Governor Ella Grasso, Dr. Jesse Bernard, and Catherine Filene Shouse relate progress made in the women’s movement today to the leadership provided by their sisters of 1776 – Abigail Adams, Phyllis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Molly Pitcher, etc.

Decade of Our Destiny: Women — A New Force for Change

This film surveys the history of women’s efforts to gain equal rights and examines the contributions of prominent women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the women’s movement. The film also discusses the establishment of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year.

American Women and Social Change – Women at Work

Betty Medsger, free lance photographer-journalist; Sharon Prah, school librarian, Patricia Franzen, foreman at a steel plant; and Joan Wilson, welder at an automobile assembly plant, discuss the effects on children of working mothers, the response of men to the working woman, their reasons for working, and the life of women in non-traditional jobs.

More videos on Women’s History from the National Archives

What to Watch: Women’s History Month 2024, PBS (Feb. 26, 2024)

Celebrate Women’s History Month this year by exploring pivotal points in American history and learning more about women who fought for progress. Watch films on a range of topics.

Selected Legal Databases to Learn More About Women’s History

HeinOnline’s Women & Law

Women and the Law (Peggy) is a collection that brings together books, biographies, and periodicals dedicated to the role of women in society and the law. It provides a convenient platform for users to research the progression of women’s roles and rights in society over the past 200 years.


Gender Watch is a full-text collection of journals¸ magazines¸ newsletters¸ regional publications¸ books¸ booklets and pamphlets¸ conference proceedings and governmental n-g-o and special reports devoted to women’s and gender issues. Contains materials dating back to the 1970’s. Incorporated the publication Women “R.”

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, Scholar’s Edition

Women and Social Movements in the United States is a resource for students and scholars of U.S. history and U.S. women’s history. Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1600 and 2000, this collection seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding about U.S. history generally at the same time that it makes the insights of women’s history accessible to teachers and students at universities, colleges, and high schools. The collection currently includes 98 document projects and archives with more than 3,850 documents and 150,000 pages of additional full-text documents, and more than 2,100 primary authors. It also includes book, film, and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools. Supported by the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center. Coverage: 1600-2000.

Women and Social Movements, International

Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, reports of international women’s organizations, and publications and web pages of women’s non-governmental organizations, and letters, diaries, and memoirs of women active internationally since the mid-nineteenth century, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life. Supported by the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center. Coverage:1840-present

Women’s Studies International

Women’s Studies International covers the core disciplines in Women’s Studies to the latest scholarship in feminist research. Nearly 800 essential sources include: journals, newspapers, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, proceedings, reports, theses, dissertations, NGO studies, Web sites & Web documents, and grey literature. Women’s Studies International supports curriculum development in the areas of sociology, history, political science & economy, public policy, international relations, arts & humanities, business and education. Coverage: 1972 – present

Selected Books to Learn More About Women’s History

Feminist Legal History: Essays on Women and Law (Tracy A. Thomas & Tracey Jean Boisseau eds., 2011) (e-Book)

Feminist Legal History represents feminist legal historians’ efforts to define their field, by showcasing historical research and analysis that demonstrates how women were denied legal rights, how women used the law proactively to gain rights, and how, empowered by law, women worked to alter the law to try to change gendered realities. Encompassing two centuries of American history, thirteen original essays expose the many ways in which legal decisions have hinged upon ideas about women or gender as well as the ways women themselves have intervened in the law, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s notion of a legal class of gender to the deeply embedded inequities involved in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, a 2007 Supreme Court pay discrimination case.

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Criminal Law Opinions (Benett Capers et al. eds., 2023) (e-Book)

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Criminal Law Opinions answers that question in the affirmative by re-writing seminal opinions that implicate critical dimensions of criminal law jurisprudence, from the sexual assault law to provocation to cultural defences to the death penalty. Right now, one in three Americans has a criminal record, mass incarceration and over-criminalization are the norm, and our jails cycle through about ten million people each year. At the same time, sexual assaults are rarely prosecuted at all, domestic violence remains pervasive, and the distribution of punishment, and by extension justice, seems not only raced and classed, but also gendered. We have had #MeToo campaigns and #SayHerName campaigns, and yet not enough has changed. How might all of justice look different through a feminist lens. This book answers that question.

Feminist Judgments: Health Law Rewritten (Seema Mohapatra & Lindsay F. Wiley eds., 2022) (e-Book)

This volume provides an alternate history of health law by rewriting key judicial opinions from a feminist perspective. Each chapter includes a rewritten opinion penned by a leading scholar relying exclusively on court precedents and scientific understanding available at the time of the original decision accompanied by commentary from an expert placing the case in historical context and explaining how the feminist judgment might have shaped a different path for subsequent developments. It provides a map of the health law field-where paternalism, individualism, gender stereotypes, and tensions over the public-private divide shape decisions about informed consent, medical and nursing malpractice, the relationships among health care professionals and the institutions where they work, end-of-life care, reproductive health care, biomedical research, ownership of human tissues and cells, the influence of religious directives on health care standards, health care discrimination, long-term care, private health insurance, Medicaid coverage, the Affordable Care Act, and more.

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Kathryn M. Stanchi et al. eds., 2016) (e-Book)

What would United States Supreme Court opinions look like if key decisions on gender issues were written with a feminist perspective? Feminist Judgments brings together a group of scholars and lawyers to rewrite, using feminist reasoning, the most significant US Supreme Court cases on gender from the 1800s to the present day. The twenty-five opinions in this volume demonstrate that judges with feminist viewpoints could have changed the course of the law. The rewritten decisions reveal that previously accepted judicial outcomes were not necessary or inevitable and demonstrate that feminist reasoning increases the judicial capacity for justice. Feminist Judgments opens a path for a long overdue discussion of the real impact of judicial diversity on the law as well as the influence of perspective on judging.

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tort Opinions (Martha Chamallas & Lucinda M. Finley eds. 2020) (e-Book)

By rewriting both canonical and lesser-known tort cases from a feminist perspective, this volume exposes gender and racial bias in how courts have categorized and evaluated harm stemming from pre-natal malpractice, pregnancy loss, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, invasion of privacy, and the award of economic and non-economic damages. The rewritten opinions demonstrate that when confronted with gendered harm to women, courts have often distorted or misapplied conventional legal doctrine to diminish the harm or deny recovery. Bringing this implicit bias to the surface can make law students, and lawyers and judges who craft arguments and apply tort doctrines, more aware of inequalities of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation or identity. This volume shows the way forward to make the basic doctrines of tort law more responsive to the needs and perspectives of traditionally marginalized people, in ways that give greater value to harms that they disproportionately experience.

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