Women’s History Month

As the end of Women’s History Month approaches we’d like to take a moment to salute women who have taken leadership roles in shaping Philadelphia’s social, cultural, and economic development. Join us in celebrating the contributions of women — past and present — by learning about their legacy and attending some special events this month.

Looking back

Betsy Ross has her own Museum, but here are three other Philadelphia women of courage you should know.

Lucretia Mott - Image: Library of Congress
Lucretia Mott – Image: Library of Congress

Lucretia Mott (1793-18880) was a Quaker preacher and a cousin of Benjamin Franklin. She was a staunch abolitionist, feminist, and women’s rights advocate. When the nation abolished slavery, she advocated giving former slaves, both male and female, the right to vote.

Painting of Rebecca Gratz by Thomas Sully – Image: The Rosenbach

Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869) was an educator and social reformer. She founded the first orphanage in Philadelphia, the first charitable organization to benefit impoverished women and children, and the first Hebrew Sunday School in America.

Marian Anderson in 1940, by Carl Van Vechten. Image: Library of Congress

Marian Anderson (1897- 1993) overcame the oppressive Jim Crow racism of her day to become the first internationally acclaimed Black opera singer. Turned down by vocal academies in Philadelphia, she studied abroad and returned to win a singing competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic. Anderson become the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Women’s History Month Events

She Rocked It!  In celebration of Women’s History Month, the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District and She RockedIt! present a panel discussion with women business owners from East Passyunk Avenue about their experiences, challenges, and successes. Monday, March 28th, 6-9 pm, Society Hill Dance Academy, 1919 Passyunk Avenue. The event is free but space is limited. RSVP required.

Take a Badass History Tour of Philadelphia focusing on trailblazing women who shaped Philly history with Beyond the Bell Tours, a Philly women-owned trolley tour company.

Visit Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom. The nine-foot sculpture of famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor is now on display in the north apron of City Hall through the end of this month in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Tubman’s birth.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is showcasing Women in Motion, 80 works of art by more than 50 American women artists with work spanning from PAFA’s founding in 1805 through the end of World War II. 

The National Constitution Center marks Women’s History Month with a slate of educational programs as part of its exhibit The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote. Admission is free on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote Exhibit

The Sisterly Love Collective, a nonprofit celebrating Philadelphia’s women chefs and women-owned restauranteurs, hosts a Women’s History Month workshop and celebration for emerging and established female entrepreneurs, March 28th, 12:30 pm-8:30 pm at the Fitler Club, 24 S. 24th Street.

Monica Glass of Sisterly Love Philly

The Museum of the American Revolution presents the little-known story of the time period between 1776 and 1807 when women (and free people of color) could legally vote in New Jersey, and what led to that right ultimately being lost, in an online exhibit called When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story.

The Philadelphia Ballet hosts Dance Theater of Harlem stars who danced their way into the spotlight during the 1970s. In this talk, Black women share their stories of being a dancer in the world of ballet and issues of race in dance. Mandell Theater, Drexel University, 3220 Chestnut St. Monday, March 28th at 1pm.

To commemorate Women’s History Month and the contributions of countless women throughout history, make a point of supporting one of Philly’s many women-owned businesses! 

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