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This woman changed the Navy for the better in 1991

Rear Admiral Marsha Evans took her message to installations across the country, spearheading 80 initiatives to help promote equality in the Navy.

NORFOLK, Va. — Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as "Women’s History Month."

These proclamations celebrate the contributions that women like Rear Admiral Marsha Evans have made to this country.

Not only did Evans become the first woman to command a U.S. Naval station in 1991, according to past 13News Now coverage, she was also put in charge of the Standing Committee on Military and Civilian Women in the Department of the Navy. 

That was a task force that addressed gender-based issues and worked to better integrate women into the force.

Evans took her message to installations across the country, and the committee recommended 80 initiatives to help promote equality in the Navy, including a toll-free sexual harassment phone line.

Following more than 600 calls in just the first year, the phone line led to the Navy discharging more than 30 sailors found guilty of sexual harassment, according to the Navy. 

After her retirement from the Navy, Evans would go on to serve as executive director of the Girls Scouts of USA and president and CEO of the American Red Cross.

The origins of Women's History Month are traced back to a schoolteacher in Sonoma County, California, in the 1970s.

She noticed there weren’t a lot of women in her students' history books, so she set out to change that with a group of other teachers.

In 1978, she helped create a "Women's History Week," and the idea spread across the country.

Eventually, word of what those schoolteachers were doing reached the president and congress, and the week became nationally recognized in 1981.

Several years later, in 1987, Congress passed a proclamation establishing Women's History Month.

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