Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ladies Gallery Dedication at The Statehouse

Yesterday the women of Ohio gathered in front of "The Peoples House," (The Ohio Statehouse) to re-enact the 1914 photo of women suffragettes rallying for the right to vote.

In 1922 six women were elected to the Ohio legislature, two years after demanding the right to vote. 89 years later, Ohio ranks a pathetic 41st among the states for women's representation in Government, with only 17% of our statewide elected officials being women. The national average hovers precariously at 22%, a number that dropped from a mere 24% in recent years.

In honor of the brave Ohio Suffragettes who risked jail and ridicule for the right to vote and run for elected office, The Capital Square Review and Advisory board raised $264,000 to dedicate The Ladies Gallery as a permanent exhibition in The Ohio Statehouse. The ceremony featured comments by Jo Ann Davidson, the first female speaker of the Ohio House, as well as a re-creation of a famous July 30, 1914, photo taken when more than 5,000 suffragettes rallied at the Statehouse for the right to vote.

Ohio ratified the 19th Amendment on June 16, 1919, 12 days after Congress sent the proposal to the states. Final ratification took another year nationally, however, and women got the right to vote in 1920. It took two years for them to reach state government.

Gregg Dodd, spokesman for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, said "The enduring goal is to inform and inspire all who visit -- especially young women and girls -- to take an active role in democracy."

The display includes an interactive kiosk, artifacts, photos, banners and other items that tell the story of the first women legislators and the history of the suffrage movement in Ohio.
For more information visit

It was a great-grand day. Enjoy the photos!

Many great women leaders from both parties were there, standing united. Ahhh, a refreshing sight indeed.

But the little woman who stole the show was clearly Miss Tristen Davis, a child of only tender years, who got up on a box in order to be tall enough to reach the microphone and read the 19th amendment. She was adorable.

The girls from OHIO GO RUN political training camp were there in force sporting their White House Project GO RUN LEAD t-shirts. Over 100 Ohio women participated in the camp last month, with the goal of electing more women to public office. Currently the Central Ohio chapter of the group is focused on the November election of Julie Houston for Delaware County Recorder.

For some additional light reading entertainment on the important subject of women's representation, click this link for an essay by Marie Wilson:
Carpe Diem Ladies!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Add Women, Change Everything

Over at The Chief Source blog, Anne wrote a post titled A Remarkable Moment in Time about an event I attended last weekend. Over 100 women gathered from all across the state of Ohio for GO RUN LEAD training camp. Our goal: to train and prepare women to run for elected office. During the event, we gathered together an watched Hillary Rodham Clinton's concession speech on CNN with White House Project founder and women's rights icon Marie Wilson.

The Kleenex corporation should have sponsored the event because by the time it was over there was not a dry eye in the house.

Wilson also wrote about the event on The Huffington Post and Nicholas Kristoff wrote a fine commentary piece on the subject for The New York Times. I recomend you read them both.

As I sat there in that room across from Wilson during that historic moment, I wondered what she was thinking. I scanned the gathering of women, knowing they were all here with dreams of someday being elected and having a voice in our communities.
(Pictured above: political bloggers Jill Zimon of WRITE LIKE SHE TALKS and Annie of The Chief Source.)
I listened to Senator Clinton's heartfelt words, and did not cry...until the camera panned to her daughter.

It struck a deep personal chord.

When I lost my election in April, my daughter looked at me with those same eyes: a mixture of sadness, compassion, admiration and hope.

I knew then, my daughter would grow up strong and proud because of the example I provided. I knew for her it would be a perfectly normal idea to have a woman president, a congress filled diversity, and a corporate world with moms in the boardroom.

Later that evening, Marie summed it all up perfectly during her keynote address. The graduates of OHIO GO RUN political training jumped to their feet at cheered when she claimed:

"People are asking what will happen next, now that Hillary is no longer in the race. Well I think we have the answer right here in this room."

THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT: Add Women, Change Everything.