Mercer Island Mayor Benson Wong proclaimed March as Women’s History Month on the Island at the March 16 city council meeting.
In the proclamation, Wong urges “all Islanders to take the opportunity to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.”
According to the national Women’s History Month website, the proclamation’s origins date back to 1981 when Congress passed a public law to authorize and request the president to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 at Women’s History Week. The proclamation became known as Women’s History Month in 1995.
“These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields,” the site reads.
Island resident Robin Klevansky spoke about the issuance of the city’s proclamation: “It’s wonderful to see our city continuing to take steps to recognize the countless, often unheralded people who contribute to our country in so many ways. Women have been part of every industry and every movement, and despite having suffered the nation’s pains along with men, they’ve only rarely received credit for its successes. I hope gestures like this bring us toward a world where we can all contribute the best we have to offer, and be appreciated for it.”
The Mercer Island proclamation notes that “American women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways and served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, women are leading the way by logging copious hours as vaccine researchers, public health officials, frontline workers and more.
“Women, and particularly women of color, also make up the majority of America’s essential workers, including educators and childcare providers, grocery store workers, farmworkers, and others who are keeping our families, our communities, and our country afloat,” the proclamation reads.
The proclamation also notes the historic milestone of the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first woman and woman of color as vice president of the United States.
At the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Laurie Givan said the chamber stands with women and celebrates Women’s History Month. She added that women should be lauded every day of the year.
“Women are essential workers, nurturers, leaders, academics, scientists, teachers and more. As we grow as a nation to become more inclusive, we must always keep front and center a drive to value all women, regardless race, religion, ethnicity, professional and education, to name a few,” she said.
Judy Clibborn, president of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island, recently addressed club members about the history of women in Rotary. While delving into the club’s history, she noticed how things are constantly changing.
“I would like to thank the City of Mercer Island for taking a leadership role with a proclamation regarding women and their roles at home and in the world,” she said. “Started in 1905, Rotary was a men’s club for many years. In 1989, the first mention of women in Rotary was from Frank J. Devlyn, who said: ‘I would like to remind you that the world of 1989 is very different to the world of 1905.’ Today’s Rotary reflects this concept with men and women sharing leadership and directing service to our communities.”
Read the full proclamation at https://library.municode.com/wa/mercer_island/munidocs/munidocs?nodeId=35185d38579c9