Saturday, June 26, 2010

Women Candidates: Celebrating Success

This past week I've spent a time talking with candidates for various offices including District 1 Education Candidate Chonya Johnson and Mary Lehman, both very impressive candidates. Yesterday I wrote a check for Montgomery County delegate candidate Jodi Finkelstein, whom I know from her terrific work with the Howard County Domestic Violence Center. All these activities for a generation of women younger than me (I admit it!) have made me reflect back on how far women have come during my professional life.

Without totally dating myself, let me say that a fair number of the early years of by public relations career involved promoting women's rights and career issues. Through the agencies for whom I worked we toiled for for the ERA, and worked hard for equal pay. I was privileged to work with a number of pioneering women business owners in this area including the late Susan Hager, Patty Abramson and Marcia Sharp, plus the great staff at BPW. I met pioneering journalists like Peggy Simpson, and women from Women in Communications, some of whom have remained lifelong friends. Because of their efforts women have gone far in their careers. Some have risen to the top. Women like Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton have not only been senators, run for president and become Secretary of State, or Speaker of the House, but dozens and dozens of other women are running for office to serve their communities. And nobody thinks it odd, strange, or pioneering. I fully expect that a woman will become president -- and while it will be an important "First" a woman's ability to lead a major nation won't be seriously questioned.

As these women run -- successfully in the cases above I hope -- I hope, too, that they and other candidates may take a moment to reflect on all the hard work that went before them to make the fact of their candidacy unremarkable. We have come a long way. And isn't that great.