15+ Ways to Celebrate Women’s History Month in Raleigh for 2023

As a mother of two daughters, and someone who has worked hard to push against male defined ceilings to create a thriving life I love, celebrating the achievements of women and our powerful voices is very important to me. 

Mom and two daughters standing next to a mural that says "too small to fail"
Mural in downtown Raleigh

March is the month for celebrating women’s contributions to history, culture and society. I love that we have an entire month dedicated to remembering to give that little extra support to voices that typically are rooted in nurturing peace, love, and joy.

Empowering women is a benefit to societies, and I find Raleigh does a pretty good job at it, and it’s only getting better. 

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and rejoice in womanhood but to also look at the injustices we still face and how we can work for a more equitable society. Also, taking into consideration the even further inclusion disparities with black and brown women and transgender!

Mom and two daughters eating brunch at a Greek Restaurant
Mother’s Day brunch at Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen

Raleigh is full of diverse, women owned businesses and entrepreneurs. 46% of businesses in Downtown Raleigh are women-owned, this is in comparison to the state average of 21% and the country’s 19.9% (State of Downtown Raleigh 2022 report).

Here is another celebratory fact: Last year, Raleigh was named the best city for working women in the nation? Is there a list Raleigh is not on?

In this post we’ll share ways you can celebrate women this month, including great local women-owned business in Raleigh you can support.

Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments. Include your favorite female creatives, artists, business owners, friends and why you love them! I spent hours writing this post and still haven’t scratched the surface. I had to hit publish at somepoint. This is where we need your help by contributing to the comments and continuing our celebration of amazing women in Raleigh!

The History of “Women’s History Month”

Woman admiring a poster of Ava Gardner in a museum
Ava Gardner Museum, Smithfield

It grew out of a week-long celebration that was organized by the school district of Sonoma, California in 1978. The idea soon caught on and spread across the country until President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Six years later it was expanded by Congress to the entire month of March. 

Falling within this month is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, which took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. 

The 2023 Theme for Women’s History Month

mural of ella baker go vote
Remember those who paved the way

The 2023 theme for Women’s History Month is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” The theme celebrates women from diverse communities who have dedicated their lives and skills to create art, seek knowledge, and depict the human experience over several decades.

These women include writers, musicians, academics, actors, performers, and grandmothers spanning various eras.

Women have played a crucial role in preserving our cultural legacy through oral and written traditions, passing down the wisdom of our ancestors. Their narratives, along with those of humanity as a whole, enrich our comprehension of the world and enhance our bonds with one another.

Check out our post on 14 women-owned businesses in Downtown Raleigh telling great stories.

Ideas for celebrating Women’s History Month

1. Hear the stories of your female loved ones

caz and her sister Jen on wilmingotn riverfront at sunset
Sharing stories with my sister Jen!

Always start with those closest to you, family, friends, work associates. Spend time this month to hear their stories. How can you honor them? What can you learn from them? How can you pass it and pay it forward?

2. Host an event to celebrate women

women sitting in a circle under trees

Gather your women friends to learn, create, and celebrate together. Here are a few ideas:

  • A movie might watching female directed films or those with female leads
  • Create artwork together – perhaps murals of empowering female quotes
  • Play music by female artists – and of course, bust out in your best Beyonce moves
  • Give out awards, achievements, positive notes of affirmations to you gal pals
  • Discuss what sisterhood means and how y’all can make it better
  • Host book clubs with books written by women
  • Watch TED Talks given by women
  • Attend a fun women focused event
    • Killjoy is hosting a Women + Whiskey event for International Women’s Day on March 8 because women like whiskey too. Enjoy a four-course whiskey + small plates pairing with Maker’s Mark! 
    • Crowded Table are hosting a Women’s History Month Walking Tour/Sip n Stroll in Downtown Raleigh. Make new female friends and learn about Women’s History in Raleigh (while sipping and strolling in Downtown!) March 26, 1:30pm – 4pm.

3. Learn the history of women in Raleigh

Lady inside a museum looking at displays
Exhibit at City if Raleigh Museum
  • Visit the exhibition: Women of Change: The Legacy of the 19th Amendment at the COR Museum. It chronicles the quests for equal suffrage in 1920 and what women did with the vote over the next century. Visitors will be introduced to Raleigh’s suffragists, organizers, and elected officials who redefined women’s role in politics. 
  • Hop on the Historic Raleigh Trolley for a special Women’s History Month tour! Celebrate the influential women who shaped Raleigh’s history and explore their stories throughout Raleigh, from the women who broke barriers in North Carolina politics to those who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Sunday, March 12 @ Times: 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • The Power of Women in Country Music, is at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh from the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles, highlights the past, present, and future of country music’s greatest female trailblazers. 
  • Also, at the NC Museum of History is the Made Especially for You, an online exhibit showcasing 20th century formal wear made by Raleigh’s renowned Otey sisters.

Read more: 8 Fantastic Museums in Raleigh (most are free!)

4. Educate and Empower yourself 

caroline presenting at a an event

There’s no better way to ensure a better future for our daughters then to educate and empower yourself. Learn more about the current issues that affect women, so you are better able to help create solutions. 

Learn how to believe in, and trust in your own voice and story. Develop the confidence and courage to share your story with the world – if you positively impact just one person, you’ve made a difference.

  • The Soul II Soul Tour w/ Women’s Empowerment Expo, celebrates the influence of African American women through motivation and star power. It’s a day of panel discussions, shopping and entertainment from some of the nation’s biggest recording artists featuring North Carolina’s own, Fantasia. Fri, March 10, 2023, at PNC Arena.
  • The NC State Women’s Center is creating a community of authentic and engaged allies and leaders to pursue gender equity and social justice, enhancing the campus climate through education, advocacy, support and leadership development. You can join here. 
  • North Carolina Central University (NCCU) will commemorate Women’s History Month with a series of virtual events that are free and open to the public.
  • The Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is celebrating Women’s History Month in Color with a four-women panel discussing Women of Color Leading the Workplace. Thurs March 9, 4:30 -6pm at Artspace
  • NC Vibes will host an International Women’s Day Event at The Sheraton Hotel on Sun March 5 with a variety of speakers from accomplished entrepreneurs and businesswomen in Raleigh.

5. Support these women-owned non-profit organizations

Maggie-kane-A Place at the Table Cafe, Raleigh
Maggie Kane, A Place at the Table

The following local non-profit organizations working to create a better Raleigh are all female owned. You can support them via donations, shopping in their stores, volunteering, or just spreading their good work. 

  • Maggie Kane is the Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s pay-what-you-can cafe helping those experiencing homelessness in our community. (listen to our podcast interview with Founder Maggie Kane)
  • Cary Heise / Kristen Sydow are co-founders of Designed for Joy where they provide second chance employment to vulnerable women. Artisans are paid a living wage and taught skills to create the Designed for Joy brand of jewelry, handbags, and home decor. Listen to our podcast interview with Cary Heise here.
  • Co-founder, and CEO of Carroll’s Kitchen, Vicki Ismail is using her non-profit restaurant to provide women recovering from addiction, homelessness, incarceration, and domestic violence with employment. Caroll’s Kitchen on Martin St offers grab-and-go breakfast & lunch.
  • Mother and daughter team, Mary and Gabi currently have over 40 employees with special abilities at their 2 nonprofit companies: Gabi’s Grounds & Gab’s PALS. They don’t just have their private label coffee blends, but a packaging, assembling and shipping service for businesses. 
  • No Woman No Girl: Fantastic local non-profit founded by Shirnetta J Harrell to provide essential items to those women and girls in our community at risk.
  • Jackie Craig and Beth Smoot founded The Green Chair Project in 2010 to collect and reuse essential furnishings to benefit their Wake County neighbors in need.
  • Esteamed Coffee is a non-profit coffee shop and cafe located in Cary, NC who employs individuals with various disabilities. Co-founders, Angie Hudson and Tamara Lapsley provide job coaching and a supportive/encouraging environment where the employees and patrons feel they are part of a warm, welcoming community. 

6. Volunteer to help Women in Need

In addition to the above, here are a few more women’s organizations that are looking for volunteers in the Triangle Area.

7. Donate to a Women’s Rights organization

women holding signs protesting women's rights
The Kirby Derby in Dix Park

You can help promote social justice for women around the world through monetary donations. Consider the above-mentioned local organizations. Here are a few highlighted organizations that strive for the global empowerment of women:

8. Shop at women-owned stores

woman looking at shelves of products in The Flourish Market, Raleigh
The Flourish Market

There are so many local businesses in Raleigh that you can support with your dollars. Here are a few of our favorite women-owned stores. 

  • The Flourish Market in the Warehouse District is a unique women’s + gift boutique store owned by local entrepreneur, Emily Grey. All of their products have a higher purpose for supporting female owned businesses creating sustainable impact.
  • Deco Raleigh owner Pam Blondin opened the shop in 2012 with the intention to support locals. She stocks hundreds of locally made gifts, housewares, books and cards from more than 75 local artisans and makers.
  • Rose & Lee Co Boutique in Apex Amber Rose and Prisca Lee are the founders of this cute store in Downtown Apex. They feature brands (many local), each with their own mission of change and empowerment, from sustainability to human rights. I’m a regular shopper here!
  • The Gathering Gallery in Downtown Raleigh Erica Heilmann’s store on E Hargett St features products from local artists and makers and employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Erica is focused on creating an inclusive environment and make a difference in our community.
  • The Bath Place at Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street has divine candles and handcrafted, spa-quality, natural soaps. Founder, Kimberly Clayton also has an online store. 
  • Edge of Urge in North Person St is owned by Jessie WilliamsThey specialize in handmade and independent designer clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories.
  • Munjo Munjo is owned and operated by a Latinx artist. This design studio highlights women and BIPOC artists, through collaborative works, live art events, and other opportunities.
  • Nashona Boutique. The beautiful prints and textiles of Tanzania have created this unique clothing line from Lilian Danieli, a Tanzanian native who now resides in North Carolina.
  • Triangle Pop-Up founder Sarah Moody local pop-up events and markets in the area supporting local businesses. She also has a storefront Curate on E Hargett St that features a unique collection of handmade goods which included candles, jewelry and homemade sauces from over 60 local artists.

9. Make self-care a priority (with these women owned business to help)

A woman sitting in aswinging chair

There’s never a better time to prioritize your health than a month focused on supporting women. Get your annual checkup including relevant pap smears, mammograms and whatever else you need! 

Start eating cleaner and move your body! Here are some fantastic women-owned wellness businesses to help! 

  • I love all that Current Wellness does to support health and wellness in the Raleigh community. Owned by Britt and her husband, they offer a range of movement, cooking, and nutrition classes, as well as fun events and services like massage therapy. 
  • Raleigh locals Katie Clemons and Jolene Johnson own Yoga Soullective in the Warehouse District. They also run yoga retreats! This month it’s in Tulum!
  • Emily Wallace owns DOSE Hot Yoga and Smoothie Bar in the new Smokey Hollow Development. They also have teacher training, wellness events, and yoga retreats (hello Bali!)
  • Well Centered Wellness is our go-to for all things wellness related. Dr Allison Peters has spent the last 17 years in practice as a nutrition-based chiropractic physician specializing in functional nutrition, amputation and traumatic brain injury recovery and human potential neurological optimization. You can listen to our podcast interview with Dr Allison here.
  • Providing wellness solutions to the Triangle Community through organic hair care and Infrared Sauna services is Kristina Graham from Rize Salon and Infrared in Cary. We use the infrared sauna at least once a week.
  • Marina Lando from Harmony Life Reiki in Cary has been my monthly Reiki healer for years. Marina is the author of four books, is a Reiki Master and Teacher, and Certified Aromatherapist,

Listen to our podcast on 6 health and wellness businesses we love in Raleigh and our interview with Dr Allison Peters.

10. Watch Women’s Sports

Soccer fans watching a game
Women’s ACC Soccer at Wake Med Soccer Park

We love to support women’s sport, and just like the men’s version, we have a lot of options in Raleigh with our Triangle colleges, and professional NC Courage team. 

Women’s sports are just as exciting, skillful, fast and intense as mens. 

We are avid fans of watching the NC State women’s basketball at the gorgeous art deco Reynolds Coliseum, and are regulars at the women’s soccer at WakeMed Park in Cary. 

The North Carolina Courage women’s soccer kicks off this month on March 9, with an international friendly game against Rayadas de Monterrey in Mexico! They will start their 2023 NWSL Regular Season this month with a game against Kansas City on March 26, 2023.

Don’t dismiss the women’s college soccer teams. UNC’s run for the NCAA title last year was an on-the-edge of your seat game to remember!

Read our guide to the Wake Med Soccer Park, see our Reel of NC State Women’s Basketball in action, and the UNC women’s soccer team.

11. Cheers to Female Drink Crafters (of all kinds!)

woman sitting near fireplace with wine in hand at Vita Vite Wine Bar
Vita Vite, Downtown Raleigh

It’s not just mean making waves in the craft brew scene. Many women are innovating in the space of beers, wine, cocktails, and coffee. Let’s give an extra cheer to them this month!

  • Lindsay Rice owns the Vita Vite Wine Bar and Gallery in the Warehouse District and North Hills. Vita Vite comes from the Italian words for “life” and “vine” – the idea of life revolving around wine and food, and how they bring people together in a common space of appreciation for the beautiful things that can enrich life.(Read our interview with owner Lindsay Rice)
  • Raleigh Brewing was the first female owned brewery in NC with Kristie Nystedt as majority owner. It’s their 10th anniversary party this weekend in Raleigh.
  • Bombshell Beer Company in Holly Springs is owned by three female brewers who love to remind us that until Medieval times, it was the woman’s job to brew beer for the household and laws of that time stated that the tools of brewing were solely the woman’s property.
  • Tiffany Welton recently opened RBF Champagne Bar in Downtown Cary dedicated to honoring women’s authentic self. Show up with any face you like and you’ll be honored. 
  • DRINK on Glenwood Ave claims itself as more of a small wine society of friends than a wine shop. They specialize in small production wines and invite you into their intimate tasting space, outdoor seating and a Fine Wine “Cave”. I love the peacock mural on the outside of the building. 
  • What about a dessert and cocktail bar? Yes. Please. Head to Bittersweet in downtown Raleigh owned by Kim Hammer. It’s where you’ll find one of my favorite pairings: Pumpkin creme brulee and Irish coffee. 
  • Looking for some bitters for your cocktails? Crude Bitters and Sodas was founded in 2012 as the first cocktail bitters company in North Carolina. Owners Craig Rudewicz and Lindsay Lasserre, They have a shop front in Downtown Raleigh near Transfer Food Hall.
  • What about cold brew? You may have seen, or tasted, the creamy goodness of Slingshot Coffee in a can at your local grocery store. It was founded in 2012 by local Jenny Bonchak.
  • Lashonda Fort-Modest, is the owner of Melanated Wines & Spirits, Durham’s first Black-owned winery. She aims to decomplicate wine, embody the motto, “uncork the culture,” and represent the under-represented minority community in the world of wine.
  • Local 321 Coffee was founded in 2017 by Lindsay Wrege and Michael Evans to embrace diversity to its fullest. Apart from providing great coffee to the Raleigh community they employ 50+ employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

12. Explore Women in the Arts

peopel looking at art on Charlotte Russell Art Gallery wals
Charlotte Russel Contemporary Art Gallery, Five Points

Raleigh has a thriving art scene for all kinds of mediums and styles. You can easily find an exhibition in Raleigh celebrating the artistic talents of local female artists. It doesn’t even have to be local, just support a women’s voice expressed through art. 

There are concerts, live music, standup comedians, art galleries, theater productions, and so much more. Here are a few ideas:

  • First Friday is a fantastic opportunity to explore the different art galleries in Raleigh and their exhibition and fun events. This month, City Market has an exhibit, “Pieces of my world” by Nancy Meadows Taylor. Artspace will exhibitions and have live music with Heather Rogers.
  • The aforementioned Vita Vite Gallery, which regularly has art exhibitions and is fun to combine with a wine of First Friday. 
  • We love the Charlotte Russell Contemporary Gallery. in Five Points. Charlotte has fantastic rotating exhibitions of modern artworks. Charlotte’s mission is to give a voice to underrepresented and emerging artists (especially women) through rotating exhibitions in her gallery. Here is our post on her art gallery in Five Points.
  • 311 Gallery in the warehouse District has 12 artist’s studios as well as a gift shop in the front and an exhibition gallery out front, which changes every month with the First Friday opening reception. 
  • Why not take a day trip to Johnston County and visit the excellent Ava Gardner Museum and her incredible contribution to the world of film?
  • Don’t forget perusing female works in the outstanding North Carolina Museum of Art It will host a Women’s History Month Special event: Writing with Fire documentary directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh It explores the life of Indian women journalists in a male-dominated media landscape. Mar 25, 2023, 2pm in the East Building.
  • Be the first to view North Carolina native and nationally acknowledged artist Beverly McIver’s new exhibition at CAM. Hear from Beverly herself at this intimate event as she speaks with author Liza Roberts about art, race, gender and identity. Meet Beverly after the cocktail hour! Thurs March 23, 2023 @6:30pm
  • Look around as you’re walking through Downtown Raleigh and neighborhoods across the Triangle. You’re bound to see some beautiful murals, many of which will be the work of female artists.

13. Clean the air in your house with Help From these Plant Bosses

plants in pot with sign houseplant hippie

Life is just better when you’re surrounded by plants: Better quality of air, pretty spaces, and Zen-like vibes are just some of the benefits!

Here are three female plant experts in Raleigh to go to for help to ensure you find the right fit for you:

  • Raleigh native, Anna Grace is the owner of Copperline Plant Co in the City Market district. Not only does she have a store filled with gorgeous plants, but she also offers plant consultations, and monthly plant-based classes.
  • The ZEN Succulent is a modern terrarium and plant craft business full of unique greenery and handcrafted gifts from emerging makers. Megan George founded The ZEN Succulent in 2012 after several years of urban gardening and small-scale succulent propagation. Megan also teaches, leads workshops, and has written the book Modern Terrarium Studio (published in 2015 by Fons & Porter).
  • Houseplant Hippie is a cool mobile unit filled with plants, and products from other women-owned businesses. You’ll find Kay at many local markets. Even better have her consult with your home and help you create a plant oasis (with tips on how to keep them alive). Her family also owns Haven Farm in Knightdale (Kay’s mom is Leslie Logan Brown of Logan’s Garden Shop fame), which is a beautiful space for events and more.
  • TG Floristry is a Black woman-owned, Raleigh-based floral design studio, owned and operated by Tiera George. Itera has participated in Art in Bloom (on this March in Raleigh) and she offers creative workshops!

14. Dine at these amazing women-owned restaurants + Foodies

looking down on the tales and Chairs in MOFU Dumpling Shoppe
  • Ashely Christensen needs no introduction in Raleigh. A James Beard Award winner and owner of the speakeasy, Fox Liquor Bar! And 4 outstanding iconic Raleigh restaurants 
    • Beasley’s Chicken + Honey
    • Death & Taxes
    • Poole’s Diner
    • Poole’side Pies
  • A transformative visit to Mexico inspired Angela Salamanca to bring a taste of Oaxaca to Raleigh, North Carolina. Centro Mexican Restaurant has become a staple in downtown Raleigh, and they take pride in being a space that fosters community and diversity. I LOVE the mezcal bar upstairs, Gallo Pelón.
  • Known to have one of the best masala chairs in Raleigh and delicious homemade Indian Food, Cheeni in North Raleigh is owned by Preeti, who was born and raised in South India. I LOVE the vibe of this restaurant. As soon as I walked in I was transported back to my days backpacking Asia. I only had a snack of a very memorable Aloo chaat. I’ll be back.
  • Mofu Dumpling Shoppe has its beginnings with business partners Sunny Linn and Sophia Woo and their popular food truck, The Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck. You’ll find a menu of reimagined Asian classics. When I need a taste of Asia, I come here.
  • While not a restaurant, one cannot call themselves a Raleigh resident until they’ve eaten a lemon meringue or pumpkin pie from Slice of Pie Company. Founder (and true Raleigh local) Kristen Mullins really proves she is the Pie Lady with the diversity of her homemade pies and bona fide deliciousness of them. She even has gluten free! Listen to our podcast with the Pie Lady!
  • Sara Coleman Fitzpatrick is the owner of The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery, Raleigh’s first cupcake shop! Located on Glenwood Ave you’ll find freshly baked cupcakes, homemade batch of cookies, a cup of locally roasted Joe Van Gogh coffee, paired with a calming ambiance. Her cupcakes are delicious, and she even has gluten free and vegan. Read our interview with Sara.
  • Caroline Morrison and Siobhan Southern, are the co-owners of Raleigh’s Fiction Kitchen. Not only does Fiction Kitchen serve delicious food from their all-vegan menu, they have a business that is all about inclusivity. Y’all are truly welcome here at this iconic Raleigh restaurant.
  • Originally from the Bahamas, Randi is obsessed with beautiful cake creations. You can find them at her store Sugar Euphoria in the North Person St area.

15. Join a Women’s organization or club

women sitting around in a circle at high garden rooftop

There are plenty of women-centric organizations and clubs in Raleigh. From educational, to networking, emotional support and just fun sisterhood times, there are clubs to suit all types and missions.

Other Raleigh Women you want to hear about

Here are some other female trailblazers in Raleigh you’ll want to know. I’ll continue to add to this list as there are so many to love and we’re always meeting new people and hearing cool stories.

Comment: Who are your favorite female creatives, artists, business owners, friends etc. and share why you love them? What are some other ways you will celebrate Women’s History Month in Raleigh this year?

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