Women’s History Month is celebrated every year from March 1st to March 31st to spotlight the historical and contemporary contributions made by women. With humble beginnings in 1978 credited to the community of Santa Rosa, CA and the Sonoma County school district organizing a local celebration of “women’s contributions to culture, history, and society,” it soon morphed into a national effort with President Jimmy Carter issuing the first Presidential proclamation naming the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week.
With significant petitioning efforts by the National Women’s History Project and following the passage of Pub. L. 100-9 in 1987, the month of March was declared the first-ever Women’s History Month for celebrating and honoring women’s contributions to the world. This March marks the 36th annual celebration of Women’s History Month.
Women’s History Month gives us all an opportunity to pause and reflect on the women who have inspired us and who have influenced and shaped history. Did you know:
- Marie Curie (1867-1934) was a physicist and scientist who discovered two new elements and coined the term “radioactivity?
- Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was the world’s first computer programmer?
- Sally Ride (1951-2012) was the first American woman to go to space?
- Sandra Day O’Connor (b. 1930) was the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court?
- Susie Sharp (1907-1996) was the first woman to serve on the NC Supreme Court in 1949?
- Becky Hammon (b. 1977) is the first female assistant coach in NBA history?
- Annie Lowrie Alexander (1864-1929) was the first licensed woman physician in NC in 1885?
- Ketanji Jackson Brown (b. 1970) is the first African-American woman to serve on the US Supreme Court?
This is but a very short snippet of an otherwise never-ending list of influential women who have helped to shape our history and world.
During the month of March, consider the women in your personal and professional life who have and continue to inspire, influence, and help shape who you are.
Upon reflecting on women who have influenced and inspired me in my professional life, I realized that I have had the significant opportunity to work directly with some influential women within their own right. I recall Louise Dill, my first manager after I graduated from Notre Dame in 1995 and began working for The Northern Trust Co. in Chicago – she went from Managing Director of the Private Banking Division (where I worked directly with her) to the Director of Business Development and Marketing for the entire East Region. Another influential manager was Eileen Fetzko, with whom I worked in New York while at an employment consulting firm.
In my legal career, I have been inspired by Ellen Gregg, my managing partner at the law firm I worked for prior to coming to CR Legal Team. I recall my law school professors at Wake Forest Law School, such as Louellen Curry, Rhoda Billings (Evidence – IYKYK; she was also a former Justice of the NC Supreme Court), Margaret Taylor, Gayle Anderson, and Micki Felsenburg – they played significant roles in my legal education and career, not to mention that they also possessed stellar backgrounds in their fields of expertise. I continue to remain particularly inspired by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – an ardent advocate for women’s rights and gender equality under the law.
On a personal note, I remain eternally inspired and influenced by my mother, Priscilla Magante Quinn. She was born in the Philippines as the eldest of nine siblings. She started attending Far Eastern University in Manila but had to quit to help support her family. She started working as a telephone operator at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. Fast forward a few years and she had already met and married my dad, and my older brother was born. My dad was transferred back to the Philippines where I was born, and while stationed there, my mom re-enrolled in school at the University of the Philippines and completed her first of 4 degrees. After a few more years, we were stationed in Albuquerque, NM, and my mom enrolled back in school at the University of New Mexico after I started pre-school, and she earned her 2nd degree. We were transferred to San Antonio, TX and my mom enrolled at Our Lady of the Lake University to earn her master’s degree, and then at the University of Texas to earn her doctorate in education. My mom placed such great importance in education, and always instilled in me and my brother the notion that with education comes the ability to write your own destiny. Her tenacity and courage at completing her degrees to advance her career during times of when she was easily the oldest student in her class, the only Asian in her class, and very likely the only student with children, have and always will inspire me.
CR Legal Team places great importance in recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women, particularly women within our firm and the communities in which we serve. Here at CR Legal Team, we make up our own cadre of women who work daily to influence and inspire those around us. Look to your co-workers and colleagues and realize that you are surrounded by some rather fabulous women with impressive credentials, inspiring stories, and the drive to continue to strive for excellence in advocacy and in service to our communities.
Women have and will always continue to play vital roles in shaping and influencing history. Women’s history is everyone’s history. Specifically recognizing these contributions during Women’s History Month serves to give credit where credit is appropriately due, and it provides recognition to the women who have changed and who continue to change the world. [And as aptly stated in the Book of Beyonce, Chapter 1, Verse 1, “Who runs the world? Girls.”]