How to Celebrate Women’s History Month in Sonoma County

Every year in March, we celebrate Women’s History Month. But did you know that the annual celebration began in Sonoma County?

In 1980, a group of Santa Rosa women formed the National Women’s History Project after noticing an absence of women in school textbooks: Only 3% of the content was devoted to women throughout history and their achievements.

The National Women’s History Project (now known as the National Women’s History Alliance) mobilized and convinced Congress of the need to acknowledge and celebrate annually women’s role in history, leading to the first official National Women’s History Week during the week of March 8, 1980 (to coincide with International Women’s Day). Seven years later, the alliance led a successful campaign to officially declare the month of March as National Women’s History Month.

Since then, the alliance and institutions across the country celebrated women’s historical achievements every year. The theme for Women’s History Month changes annually and, over the years, more diverse perspectives have shaped the annual celebration. But the foremost goal of the month remains the same: To provide education on how women helped shape the nation and to empower children by introducing them to historical role models.

Women's History Month 2022This year, the theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” recognizing the countless ways women from all cultures have provided healing and hope to the world throughout history and to this day.

Sonoma County will honor the month with various in-person and virtual events, exhibitions and group discussions. Here are a few ways to learn about and celebrate women’s history this month.


Advocating for Your Health: Conversations with Dr. Eki’Shola Edwards

Physician and musician Eki'Shola Edward — Photo by Erik Castro

In tune with this month’s theme of providing healing and promoting hope, the Sonoma County Regional Library will host an online conversation series with Dr. Eki’Shola Edwards (pictured above), who will be offering advice on how to choose a primary care physician, navigate preventive health guidelines, and advocate for yourself in healthcare. This presentation and Q&A series will be split into three parts: From 11-11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 11th; Wednesday, March 16th; and Wednesday, April 6th. This three-part virtual event is free, but registration is required.

Breathless ‘Demi’ Debut with Champagne, Charmian, and Gold
Breathless Wines Women's History Event

Sister-owned Breathless Wines in Healdsburg is celebrating Women’s History Month with a release of its new demi (half) bottles of brut and brut rosé, along with a presentation and book signing by award-winning author Rebecca Rosenberg. Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster will lead a tasting of the new Breathless wines, and Rosenberg will present three notable women from history from her books “Champagne Widows,” “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” and “Gold Digger: The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor.” This event will be held on Sunday, March 13th at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the winery. Tickets are $49. Breathless Sparkling Wines, 499 Moore Lane, Healdsburg, 707-395-7300

Bessie, Billie and Nina — Pioneering Women in Jazz
Bessa Billie Nina Luther Burbank Center

The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts will present a celebration in honor of three groundbreaking women in jazz — Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone — featuring dynamic vocalists and an all-female band. Singers Charenée Wade, Tahira Clayton and Vanisha Gould will perform classic songs from Smith, Holiday and Simone, with arrangements by pianist and musical director Carmen Staff. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-49. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, 707-546-3600

Documentary Film Discussion Group: Miss Representation
Miss Representation

The Sonoma County Library will host a virtual discussion highlighting the 2011 documentary, Miss Representation, which exposes how the mainstream media has contributed to the under-representation of women in the film industry and in other positions of power. The Zoom event will be held Thursday, March 24th from 6-7 p.m. Register for the free event here.

STEAM Bilingual Storytime with Miss Kelly
STEAM Bilingual Storytime Sonoma County Women's History

The Sonoma County Library is celebrating Women’s History Month with a “Women in STEAM”-themed storytime and book giveaway. A children’s librarian will host the virtual storytime and do a random drawing from the attendee list to pick a winner for the book giveaway, which will include a bundle of five women’s history-themed books in a canvas tote bag. The event will be offered in English and Spanish on Wednesday, March 30th from 10:30-11 a.m. Learn more and register for this free event here.

SRJC Women’s History Month – Honoring Women of the Resistance
Santa Rosa Junior College Women's History Month

Santa Rosa Junior College is hosting a variety of events for Women’s History Month, including engaging lectures and discussions with activists, directors, authors, doctors and professors spanning a variety of topics. All of the events will be held on Zoom and are free to the public. Learn more about each event and find the dates and Zoom links here.


“Agency: Feminist Art and Power”

"Me Too" by Vaness Filley The Museum of Sonoma County is currently presenting an exhibition in collaboration with The Feminist Art Project and curated by Karen M. Gutfreund. Entitled “Agency: Feminist Art and Power,” this exhibition features works from women of various cultural backgrounds and identities that explore the concept of individual agency while challenging societal norms. The exhibit will be on display throughout Women’s History Month and until June 5th.

The curator also gives a tour of the exhibition every second Saturday of the month, which is included with admission, no registration required. The next curator’s tour will be held on Saturday, March 12th at 2 p.m. Museum of Sonoma County, 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, 707-579-1500

“Finding Our Roots: Women of Petaluma Flourishing and Blooming over the Years”

The Petaluma Women’s Club and the Petaluma Garden Club have teamed up for a joint project at the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, which includes “Finding Our Roots: Women of Petaluma Flourishing and Blooming over the Years,” an exhibition that will be on display from March 22 – April 22. Petaluma Historical Library & Museum20 Fourth St., Petaluma

Written by Maci Martell

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