Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Forum Celebrates Women's Equality Day, 19th Amendment

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Forum Celebrates Women's Equality Day, 19th Amendment

Article excerpt

In the dynamic era of social and political revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries, multi-generational efforts to establish voting rights for American women took root. After decades of protests and lobbying for women's suffrage, the active abolitionists and activists finally received representation in the nation that already taxed them. Ninety-five years after the 19th Amendment's ratification solidifying a woman's right to vote, more than 120 women and men from West Virginia gathered to commemorate and celebrate Women's Equality Day at the Woman's Club of Charleston with a panel of six locally prominent female business leaders and executives.

Tara Martinez, executive director of the West Virginia Women's Commission, said the massive turnout was double the anticipated amount.

"The thing is that's most amazing to me is that as we walk around this room, there are women and men here that support equality for women in this state. Any time that I've needed anything for the commission, these are the people I turn to, Martinez said.

With less than a month of planning involved, Martinez said she collaborated with her intern, Katie Wright, and Bradley Harris of the Secretary of State's Office to assemble the event.

"For Bradley to just - as busy as he is - to throw his hat into the ring and give this priority and with my intern Katie Wright, it's just been amazing, Martinez said.

The panelists were asked to describe their defining moments in their careers, approaches to mentorship and personal experiences with mingling in occupations typically possessed by male cohorts.

Katie Heller, the youngest panelist, said growing up with a mother balancing two careers in male-dominated fields set the tone for her future.

"I'd never heard of a glass [ceiling] situation, she said. "I was told your success was based on the value of working hard.

After graduation from the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, Heller's internship with the White House led to a career on Capitol Hill as advancement associate on the White House staff. …

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