Women’s History Month

In recognition of Women’s History Month this March, we have curated a selection of resources below to help you discover, celebrate, and honor the vast contributions of women linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets, whose words and work continue to remind us of the power of words.

  • Connect with the legacies of groundbreaking women writers, orators, and changemakers during your visit to Planet Word by downloading our themed-experience guide.
  • Watch past program videos with contemporary linguists, authors, and poets like Amanda Montell, Julia Whelan, Sue Ellen Thompson, and more.
  • Head over to our blog to check out our past Q & As with women across a range of language-related fields like Naomi Baron, Kathleen Diamond, Lisa New, and more.

Did you know?

Dating back to at least the 1400s, young women have spearheaded language change. We can tell by comparing the letters people wrote to each other that women writers changed the way they wrote more quickly than men, and they were first to introduce new words like “has,” “do,” and “you.”

Themed Experience

Women Writers, Orators, and Changemakers

Celebrate Women’s History Month at Planet Word! Download the Women Writers, Orators, and Changemakers Themed-Experience Guide for your next visit and enjoy the identified interactive galleries that highlight women’s voices.

Featured Past Program


Language & Gender

May 31, 2022 | 6:30 p.m.

Amanda Montell, reporter and feminist linguist, deconstructs language — from insults and cursing, gossip, and catcalling, to grammar and pronunciation patterns — to reveal the ways it has been used…

Women Authors, Singers, and Poets

At Planet Word, we feature the words and works of numerous women linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets on our walls, in our galleries, and in our Present Perfect gift shop. Check out this list of books from celebrated women authors on our Bookshop.org storefront.

Read the list

In every generation, women have defined the music industry. Celebrate Women’s History Month — and International Women’s Day on March 8 — by singing and grooving along to an empowering playlist featuring the voices of strong female vocalists.

Listen now

Reflect on some of the most formidable poetry written by women with this collection of poems, articles, podcasts, and blog posts curated by the Poetry Foundation.

Explore the collection

Women Language Activists

Women are at the forefront of language revitalization efforts all over the world. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we would like to highlight just a few of them.

Winona Beamer is a champion of Hawaiian culture and history. Following the U.S. ban on the Hawaiian language from 1896–1986, Beamer inspired a generation of new speakers to take pride in the Hawaiian language and culture. As a result of her efforts, there are now nearly 5,000 Hawaiian speakers.

Learn more about Beamer’s work in the Endangered Languages interactive on our third floor.

Paula Melvin is the President of Conradh na Gaeilge, Ireland’s premier and oldest Irish language organization, which promotes the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland and advocates for the language rights of Irish-speakers.

Learn more

Lindsay Morcom, a Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education, is a linguist and member of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. She works in partnership with Indigenous communities to develop best practices for education and language planning.

Learn more

Glenna Slater is one of under twelve remaining fluent speakers of Umoⁿhoⁿ, the language of the Omaha people. Through teaching and other advocacy work, Slater promotes Indigenous languages and culture to preserve them for future generations.

Learn more

Alissa Stern is the founder of BASAbali, an organization that engages local communities in Indonesia to strengthen local culture and languages — like Balinese — through an innovative community-developed cultural wiki.

Learn more
  • Did you know?

    Perhaps ironically, the word “sesquipedalophobia” means “the fear of long words.”
  • Did you know?

    “Contronyms” are words that contain multiple meanings that are complete opposites of each other. For example, “oversight” means both “the action of overseeing something” and “a failure to notice something.”
  • Did you know?

    There are over 7,000 languages worldwide, but more than half the world’s population speaks only 23 of these languages.
  • Did you know?

    The first entirely artificial language was the Lingua Ignota, a private mystical cant recorded in the 12th century by St. Hildegard of Bingen.
  • Did you know?

    The 10 most-used letters in English are E, A, R, I, O, T, N, S, L, and C.
  • Did you know?

    Eels, llamas, and aardvarks, ooh my! In English, there are only four letters that appear as double letters at the beginning of a word: A, E, L, and O.
  • Did you know?

    A “deipnosophist” is a person who’s really good at making conversation at the dinner table.
  • How do you get a dog to stop eating your books?

    Take the words right out of its mouth!
  • What's the difference between a cat and a comma?

    A cat has claws at the end of its paws, but a comma’s a pause at the end of a clause.
  • The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar...

    It was tense.
  • Is there a word that uses all the vowels including y?

  • Riddle me this

    What did the intransitive verb say when told it was pretty? (Answer: Nothing. Intransitive verbs can’t take complements.)
  • Riddle me this

    What does an island and the letter T have in common? (Answer: They’re both in the middle of water.)
  • Riddle me this

    What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? (Answer: Short)
  • Riddle me this

    What starts with an E, ends with an E, and contains just one letter? (Answer: An envelope!)
  • Riddle me this

    What begins with a T, ends with a T, and has T in it? (Answer: A teapot!)
  • Riddle me this

    What’s in centuries, hours, and years, but not minutes, days, or seconds? (Answer: The letter R!)
  • Quote them on it

    “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx
  • Quote them on it

    “The past is always tense, the future perfect.” — Zadie Smith
  • Quote them on it

    “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” — Toni Morrison
  • Quote them on it

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only once.” — George R.R. Martin
  • Quote them on it

    “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela