How Associations Are Celebrating Women Leaders

Women get to take a well-deserved bow for their historic achievements during Women’s History Month. Associations are honoring the significant roles they have played—and continue to forge—despite adversity.

Women’s History Month in March is a great time to reflect on the many contributions women have made to American history—often under the radar and without the same acclaim as men. As President Jimmy Carter wrote when officially designating the first week of March as National Women’s History Week in 1980, “The achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

While there is a great deal to celebrate, in the year since the pandemic began women have endured significant setbacks because of the crisis. In January, another 275,000 women dropped out of the labor force, bringing the total number of women who have left the workforce since February 2020 to more than 2.3 million, according to a National Women’s Law Center analysis of the latest jobs report. That leaves the female workforce participation rate at 57 percent, the lowest it has been since 1988.

However, women have consistently shown they are resilient and can face—and overcome—many challenges. Associations are highlighting strong women and their stories during this iconic month. Here are some examples.

The National Restaurant Association celebrates women’s contributions to the restaurant industry, noting that:

  • Sixty-one percent of adult women worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives.
  • For 39 percent, their first job was in a restaurant.
  • One-third of all U.S. restaurant businesses are majority-owned by women.
  • Women hold 56 percent of foodservice occupations, compared to 47 percent in the overall economy.
  • Nearly half of foodservice managers are women.

A Society of Women Engineers timeline highlights noteworthy milestones in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and some of the outstanding SWE members who have made valuable contributions to the world of engineering and tech.

The U.S. Tennis Association salutes women who courageously pioneered progress in the sport, as well as those whose passion and presence continues to fuel its growth and success at every level—from its grassroots to its grandest stages.

The National Speech and Debate Association is commemorating the month with a literature collection and special poster series featuring female speech and debate coaches and alumni.

The Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association unveiled a new E-Museum to celebrate Women’s History Month. The organization recognizes many women from the New York City metropolitan area who contributed to the growth of the game since the WMGA was founded in 1899.

The Little Italy Association of San Diego honors women in March by highlighting some of the female-owned businesses in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood. The businesses are not only female-owned; many include female-made apparel, jewelry, art, and more.

How is your association honoring women’s history this month? Please share in the comments below.

(Ponomariova_Maria/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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