Women's History Month | YMCA DC

Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month!

We are celebrating and reflecting on the roles women have held which strengthen communities and advance agendas for the greater good of all. In looking around our region and across the globe, we see promising leadership and vision being shown by many women.

This year, we are celebrating women and acknowledging the challenges that women have faced in the past year. We will highlight what empowers the modern-day woman through sister-shout-outs and social media posts that feature staff from across our Association.


Early in Y history, women’s auxiliaries were instrumental in raising funds for the YMCA. In 1886, the first known female YMCA employee, Ellen Brown, was hired, and during WWI 5,145 women served under the YMCA banner. However, though the support of women was of vital importance to the success of the YMCA, they have not always been able to participate fully as a member. The Brooklyn YMCA is the first Y known to work with women which began as early as 1859. However, it was not until 1978 that gender discrimination was banned outright by the YMCA.

Our history shows that we have much to celebrate. Our movement has often been at the vanguard of change. Our history also shows us there is always room for improvement and new communities waiting to receive the benefit of joining the global YMCA community.