Published: March 26, 2024 | Updated: March 22, 2024

North Idaho Alliance Women of Impact: March is Women’s History Month

Marilee Wallace

Marilee Wallace

Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history.

It began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, Calif. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historian successfully lobbied for recognition and President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week until 1987 when the entire month was dedicated as Women’s History Month. Also, the National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme and 2024 is “Women Who Advocate for Equity,  Diversity, and Inclusion.”

The theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions. Women from every background have long realized that an uneven playing field will never bring equality or justice. Many feel the critical need to speak up and work harder for fairness in our institutions and social interactions.

During 2024, we recognize the example of local women who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in our common quest for freedom and opportunity. Women like Jeanette Laster, executive director for the Human Education Rights Institute and Kiki Miller, a Coeur d’Alene City Council member who is leading the change on fair-housing issues in our region. And Maggie Lyons at PAHA.

It takes courage for women to advocate for practical goals like equity, diversity and inclusion when established forces aim to misinterpret, exploit or discredit them. Throughout 2024, we honor local women from the past and present who have taken the lead to show the importance of change and to establish firmer safeguards, practices and legislation reflecting these values. Following decades of discrimination, we are proud to celebrate women who work for basic inclusion, equality and fairness.

Who are the women in your community or organization that you will honor?

NIA’s Onward & Upward Women’s Conference is May 22 at the Best Western Plus Coeur d'Alene Inn. This year’s theme is “Communicating. Let’s Talk About it!” Our speakers are local women whose stories will uplift and inspire you to be a better communicator — to others and to yourself! The all-day conference includes a luncheon and a follow up list of attendees to use as a reference to stay in touch after the conference (release of contact is approved by each registrant). Vendor booth and tickets on Eventbrite or at

Special thanks to the Coeur d'Alene Press for returning as our conference media sponsor!

Research Credit: Women’s History Alliance

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Marilee Wallace, IOM, president/CEO of the North Idaho Alliance Women of Impact. The Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable meets once a month for a nine-month series, and we base our monthly agenda on the word IMPACTED.