[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 32, Number 12 (Monday, March 25, 1996)]
[Pages 530-531]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Proclamation 6872--Women's History Month, 1996

March 19, 1996

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

    It is impossible to fully appreciate America's proud history without 
recognizing the extraordinary contributions that women have made to our 
country since its founding. Women's History Month provides an 
opportunity to celebrate the countless women who have enriched our 
Nation and to ensure that their achievements--in homes and businesses, 
schools and hospitals, courtrooms and statehouses--will always be 
    We have come a long way since Abigail Adams asked her husband John 
to ``remember the ladies'' when drafting the Constitution, and we 
recognize that women not only have broadened and reshaped the path laid 
by our Founding Fathers, but also have made new avenues toward progress 
and justice. Female workers filled the textile mills that drove the 
Industrial Revolution. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells-
Barnett, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought tirelessly for suffrage and 
women's rights. Jane Addams founded America's first settlement house for 
poor immigrants and established social work as a new and respected 
field. And farm and migrant laborers across the country gained the 
leadership of Dolores Huerta when she joined the newly created United 
Farm Workers Union.
    Indeed, there is no aspect of our history left untouched by women--
from the first published American poet, Anne Bradstreet; to Sacajawea, 
Lewis and Clark's interpreter

[[Page 531]]

and guide; to Harriet Tubman, heroine of the Underground Railroad; to 
Margaret Mead, who revolutionized the study of anthropology. Writers and 
artists such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mary Cassatt, Beverly Sills, Amy 
Tan, and Martha Graham have captured our imaginations. Champions like 
Wilma Rudolph and Bonnie Blair have taken America to great heights in 
the international sports world.
    Today, women make up close to half of our Nation's labor force, and 
women-owned businesses are changing the face of the American and global 
economies. But barriers to equality remain. Despite the efforts of women 
like Esther Peterson, a leader in the effort to end gender-based salary 
differences, many women are still paid considerably less than their male 
counterparts. Often these women also struggle with the dual 
responsibilities of raising a family and meeting the demands of a full-
time job.
    Last September, thousands of women from around the globe met to 
discuss these issues at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on 
Women in Beijing, China, and to develop a Platform for Action. The 
resulting document represents a powerful consensus on the need to 
advance women's status by improving access to education, health care, 
jobs, and credit. It describes the fundamental desire of all women to 
enjoy basic legal and human rights and to take part in political life. 
Only through our commitment to these principles can we forever end 
discrimination and injustice based on gender, promote women's full 
participation in all aspects of American life, and join people 
everywhere who seek true equality.
    Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United 
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the 
Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 
1996, as Women's History Month. I call upon Government officials, 
educators, and all Americans to observe this month with appropriate 
programs, ceremonies, and activities; to remember year-round the many 
important contributions that women make to our country each day; and to 
learn and share information about women's history in homes, classrooms, 
and community centers across the Nation.
    In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day 
of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and 
of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and 
                                            William J. Clinton

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:46 a.m., March 20, 

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on March