Celebrating women's achievements around the world

Today, International Women’s Day is being celebrated in many countries around the world. But did you know it actually began in New York City? Back in 1908, when 15,000 women marched together, we witnessed strong women rising up to demand their rights. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then, but we still have a long way to go.

Recently, I attended the Women’s Legislative Briefing hosted every year by the Montgomery County Commission for Women. The keynote speaker was Rosie Rios, who served during President Obama’s administration as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States. In that role, she began to realize just how few female role models there are in America’s political landscape. Ms. Rios told a story about the statues in many major American cities, and how she found that very few were of women. For example, Central Park in New York City is one of the most visited urban parks in the nation (and the world). But out of 25 statues, 23 are real men, and the other two are only fictional women: Mother Goose and Alice in Wonderland.

Ms. Rios set out to change things forever. She noticed there are only two countries in the world that don’t have a woman on any of their currency; one is Saudi Arabia, and the other is the United States. Now, thanks largely to her efforts, Harriet Tubman (a Marylander!) will soon be on the $20 bill beginning in 2020. She didn’t stop there. After leaving her post as treasurer, Ms. Rios started an initiative called Empowerment 2020, where one of its trademark programs is called “Teachers Righting History,” which is a database detailing the contributions of 250 historic American women. I applaud Ms. Rios for her incredible efforts and hope others will continue her progress.

As we observe International Women’s Day, my thoughts turn to the great, strong women of history who have inspired me. So today, take a moment to celebrate all the outstanding women who inspire you, too. My mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law are certainly in that group. In fact, I think it’s especially amazing that my strong, independent daughter was born today—on International Women’s Day. Happy Birthday, Kim, and here’s to the achievements of women all over the world!