Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 8:31 AM
March is fierce. March is fabulous. March is National Women’s History Month.
As we say farewell to February, we look ahead to a monthlong celebration of girl power. National Women’s History Month officially became a U.S. observance in 1987, which today continues to honor the achievements of kick-butt females throughout history.
Although 31 days, of course, is never enough time to commemorate all of the extraordinary ladies of our lives, it certainly serves as a great place to start.
Below, we’ve outlined an array of ideas and events that honor women from past and present, including some of the people making a difference right here in Philadelphia. Bring out your mom, daughter, lady friends, or other inspirational female figures in your life, and get ready to celebrate through March and beyond.
Book a reservation at one of these restaurants featuring female 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists
Food is a universal mechanism for celebration. Fortunately, Philly is filled with restaurant options from which to choose, including several where talented female chefs and entrepreneurs are making national names for themselves. This year’s list of James Beard Award semifinalists includes multiple female Philly nominees. (The finalists will be announced on March 14.) These include Ellen Yin, restaurateur of Fork, High Street on Market, and a.kitchen, and pastry chef Camille Cogswell of Zahav. Book a reservation at Zahav or any of Yin’s restaurants. Or, for a more casual night, head to South Philadelphia’s Hardena, where the family trio of Ena Widjojo, Maylia Widjojo, and Diana Widjojo — nominated for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” — always welcome walk-ins to sit down for a feast of Indonesian eats.
Fork: 306 Market St., 215-625-9425, forkrestaurant.com; High Street on Market: 308 Market St, 215-625-0988; highstreetonmarket.com; a.kitchen: 135 S 18th St, 215-825-7030; akitchenandbar.com; Zahav: 237 St James Pl, 215-625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com; Hardena: 1754 S Hicks St, 215-271-9442, facebook.com
Learn the story of woman’s suffrage with Lady Gaga
It wasn’t until 1920 that women nationwide were awarded the right to vote. Dive into the history and symbolism of the 19th Amendment with Lady Gaga at the National Constitution Center, where a redesigned video of Gaga’s “Bad Romance” tells the story of women’s suffrage in a way that doesn’t feel too textbook. All throughout the month, the Constitution Center will offer discounted admission and will invite visitors to embark on self-guided women’s history tour that winds throughout the museum.
Through March 31; National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St; $10 for adults, $7.50 for youth ages 6-18; 215-409-6600; constitutioncenter.org
Two prime opportunities for laugh-out-loud, female-delivered fun are set to unfold this month. The first, the Bechdel Test Fest, showcases all-local female, trans, and nonbinary talent over three nights (March 2-4) at FringeArts, Bourbon and Branch, and PHIT Comedy. On March 21, Punch Line Philly hosts its monthly “Really Funny Comedians (Who Happen To Be Women)” night, bringing in talent from across the country for a night of hilarious entertainment in Fishtown. Tickets for each can be purchased online.
Bechdel Test Fest: March. 2-4; Location varies per night; $10-$25 per show or $60 for a three-day festival pass; bechdelfest.com
Really Funny Comedians (Who Happen To Be Women): March. 21; Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St; $15; 215-606-6555; punchlinephilly.com
Watch movies from all over the world during the eight-day Women’s Film Festival
Held March 16-24, the fourth annual Women’s Film Festival is designed to showcase accomplished female producers, directors, and actors as well as male counterparts whose works share the empowering stories of women. From sci-fi to historical drama to comedy, this year’s lineup features more than 75 films from across the world, touching upon topics that span from #metoo moments to homelessness to bachelorette parties gone wrong. Select screenings will encompass discussions with the filmmakers, and a workshop will be held for local filmmakers to partake in as part of the festival, too. The full lineup of events and screenings can be found online.
March 16-24; Select venues throughout the city; $10 per film, $8 for students with ID; thewomensfilmfestival.org
Celebrate women in science at the Franklin Institute
On March 17, The Franklin Institute will host an array of special programming designed to honor women and the important role they’ve played and continue to play in the world of science. South Korea’s first astronaut, So-Yeon Yi, will be onsite for a special conversation on “breaking barriers in space,” and a variety of female scientists from the museum will share their stories through hands-on demonstrations. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. and is free with museum admission.
March 17; Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.; Free with museum admission ($23 for adults, $19 for children); 215-448-1200; fi.edu
Spend the morning with a pastry from Machine Shop Boulangerie (a duo of women bakers) at Menagerie Cafe (a women-owned coffeeshop)
A croissant and a coffee — it’s the perfect pairing, and at Menagerie Cafe, it’s a female-powered one. The spot is that of April Nett and Elysa DiMauro, who’ve designed a cozy coffeeshop in Old City with plants that fill the windowsills and tabletops repurposed from former bowling alleys. The Menagerie continuously receives high praise for its third-wave-style coffee, a delightful compliment to the Machine Shop Boulangerie pastries that arrive fresh to the cafe each morning. The Machine Shop Boulangerie is the name that fronts bakers Katie Lynch and Emily Riddell, churning out decadent kouign-amanns, flaky croissants, and other buttery goodness from their wholesale headquarters in South Philly’s Bok building.
Open daily starting at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on weekends); Menagerie Cafe, 18 S 3rd St; menageriecoffee.com
Celebrate with the Guerrilla Girls and view both love letters and hate mail that the activist group has received over the years
On view through March 17, a special exhibition at The Galleries at Moore presents a major collection of works from the Guerrilla Girls — an anonymous female activist collective dedicated to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. View some of the group’s most iconic campaigns through history alongside an array of the artists’ favorite love letters and hate mail received across nearly three decades of communication. Visitors will be invited to post their own views to an interactive wall installation, and on March 15, an original member of the Guerrilla Girl collective will present a live performance, to be followed by a discussion with the exhibition’s curator.
Through March 17; The Galleries at Moore, 20th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway; Free; 215-965-4000; moore.edu
From Federal to Broad Streets, as many as 55 of the salons, independent boutiques, restaurants, and other businesses that line Passyunk Avenue are run by women. Spend the afternoon perusing the one-mile stretch, stopping at female-owned spots like Chhaya Cafe, P’unk Burger, and Tre Scalini for a bite to eat in between shopping at Miss Demeanor, Nice Things…Handmade in 2010, and other area stores where ladies take the lead.
East Passyunk Avenue from Federal to Broad Streets; visiteastpassyunk.com
Catch a sisterhood of jazz and soul singers in concert at World Cafe Live
Near the end of the month, Sistahs Attune, part of The Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, Inc., will deliver an evening full of soulful tunes at World Cafe Live. The event titled “Her-Story” will feature multiple musical selections designed to inspire and get you moving. Proceeds from the concert will go to The Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, dedicated to the education, uniting, and empowerment of women.
March 25; World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St; $15 in advance, $20 at the door; 215-222-1400; worldcafelive.com
Read full story: How to celebrate Women's History Month in Philadelphia