Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March is Women’s History Month!

Photo credit: nierocks.areavoices.com
Back in 1981 then-Representative Barbara Mikulski, a democrat from Maryland, co-sponsored a joint Congressional Resolution declaring the week beginning on March 7, 1982 as the first “Women’s History Week” to celebrate the struggles, contributions, and accomplishments of American women. Over thirty years later, Senator Barbara Mikulski is now the longest serving female senator in U.S. history and we celebrate the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.
In 1995, President Clinton began the tradition of issuing a presidential proclamation every March in honor of Women’s History Month. These proclamations have honored women such as aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart to abolitionist Harriet Tubman to Nellie Bly, a groundbreaking investigative journalist.  You can read President Obama’s 2012 proclamation here.
Washington state has a proud history of female leadership. In 1976, Washington elected Governor Dixy Lee Ray. Governor Ray was the fifth female governor in the United States, and only the second who wasn’t a wife or widow of a previous governor. Patty Murray became Washington’s first female senator in 1992, ‘the year of the women’ in which five females were elected to the U.S. Senate. Finally in 2004, following Governor Chris Gregoire’s election, Washington became the first state to have both a female governor and two female senators.
Based on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ figures, the Washington State Legislature has the fifth highest level of female representation in the country. The House Democratic Caucus is proudly home to nineteen female representatives. Seven of those women serve as committee chairs, in addition to the six who are members of leadership.
In March we will be celebrating the women at the table, the struggles they overcame to get there, and the men who helped them along the way.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.