Administrative History

"Women as half of all Americans, half the residents, half the taxpayers and now more than half the voters come in every conceivable variety, and historically have had a truly impressive set of varied experiences. American females have been every ethnic/socioeconomic status, and are fundamental to human society, yet women and girls are too often invisible in history. They provided much of our daily sustenance and support yet are omitted from much of our formal history. What happened historically and what we know as history are two different things. We need to work with parks to find these missing women, to uncover their lives and experiences. By doing so we will tell a richer, more accurate history."

- Jon Jarvis
Director, National Park Service, 2012

In May 2012, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar introduced a new Secretarial initiative focusing on women’s history. On December 10 and 11, 2012, the National Park Service partnered with the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) on a workshop called "Telling the Whole Story: Women and the Making of the United States." This workshop brought together academics and professionals to discuss the the need for increased visibility of women's history. Participants discussed current efforts in national parks and communities to (1) improve the interpretation of women’s history and (2) preserve significant associated historic places.

The workshop resulted in the following goals for the initiative:
  • Increased documentation of women's history in the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmark Programs
  • Documentation and interpretation of women's history in the National Park System
  • Inclusion of women's history in the National Park Service interpretive and educational framework
  • Creation a federal marker program that reflects women's history
  • Identification and removal of barriers to sharing women's stories
  • Updates to the National Park Service management documents to incorporate a gendered understanding of the American past
  • Development of a women's history presence on the National Park Service website
  • Understanding and appreciation of the public of the experiences of American women's lives
Find detailed information about the National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Women’s History Initiative Progress Report (2011-2013) [PDF 1.7 MB] and the collaboration with NCWHS.

Last updated: June 23, 2018

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