March is National Women’s History Month. Every year the National Women’s History Project selects a theme through which to examine women’s history. This year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” reminds us that women’s voices matter.
Women are an integral part of our nation’s history, from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who inspired the nation-wide women’s suffrage movement, to California-native Sally Ride, who was both the first woman and youngest American to travel to space. While these women have set historical milestones, this year’s theme recognizes the everyday contributions that women make to our society.
Women make a big impact whether or not their deeds are recorded in history books. Nearly half of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income. In addition to being the cornerstone of many California families, women are leaders in sectors as diverse as biotech, hospitality and education.
Unfortunately, gender disparities still exist in the workplace. Nationally, women continue to make an average of 77 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts. This statistic hasn’t budged in the last decade. Despite holding 52% of all professional level jobs, women only account for 14% of executive officers and only 8% are top earners.
That is why this year the Legislative Women’s Caucus is focusing their legislative agenda on securing economic opportunity for all women and families. We will be looking at legislation to ensure fair pay and just working conditions, expand affordable childcare, and to ensure that working families have the resources and opportunities they need to provide for their loved ones.
We also look forward to recognizing extraordinary women from our communities during our annual Woman of the Year ceremony in Sacramento. This year’s honoree is Ms. Betty Peabody of Point Loma. For the last 30 years, Betty Peabody has worked toward the success of San Diego’s treasured Balboa Park through her duties as a founding member of the Balboa Park Millennium Society, a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Museum of Man, and as a member of the Central Balboa Park Association. It’s fitting to honor Betty – particularly as we celebrate the Centennial of the California-Panama Exposition in Balboa Park. Over the course of her career she was also a historian and author of “Women Physicians in Early San Diego.” She served on many community boards while helping raise four children and eight grandchildren.
Ms. Peabody’s story is a microcosm for the contributions that women make all over California and our great nation. Women bring diverse perspectives to the work place. They support their families financially and emotionally. They make our communities stronger. This month, take the opportunity to say thank you to the women who make a difference in your life.
Toni G. Atkins
Speaker of the Assembly
78th Assembly District
P.S. For more information about Women’s History Month and this year’s national honorees, please visit www.nwhp.org.
Read more: San Diego Community News Group – Point Loma woman named San Diego Woman of the Year