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00:00:02Ladies and gentlemen, special guests, distinguished visitors, and
00:00:06legislators, thank you for joining us today and
00:00:09welcome to the Ohio Statehouse.
00:00:12My name is Karen Kish, and I'm the Assistant Director of Communications
00:00:17for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and a retiree from the
00:00:21Ohio Army National Guard.
00:00:23It is my honor to be your emcee today.
00:00:32We will begin with the presentation of the colors by the Ohio Army
00:00:36National Guard and the signing of our National Anthem.
00:00:41Please stand and remain standing for the presentation of the colors
00:00:45followed by the singing of our National Anthem by Captain Leslie Battle
00:00:50of the 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Ohio Army National Guard.
00:00:58Color Guard Present the Colors.
00:01:23Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
00:01:32What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
00:01:40Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
00:01:49O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
00:01:58And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
00:02:06Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
00:02:15O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
00:02:26O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
00:03:12Please be seated.
00:03:19Thank you, Captain Battle, for that beautiful rendition.
00:03:22The Ohio Statehouse is more than a monument to our past;
00:03:26it's where history happens.
00:03:29This building serves as both a place of learning and the state's
00:03:33working seat of government.
00:03:35If you haven't been here in a while, I would encourage you to visit a
00:03:38lot of the new exhibits to include the interactive museum.
00:03:43If your schedule permits today,
00:03:46sign up for a tour and have lunch at the cafe.
00:03:49As we gather to commemorate Women's History Month, it's a time not only
00:03:57to celebrate the progress women have made, but also the women
00:04:01throughout our history who have made that progress possible.
00:04:06On January 10, 2011 history was again made for Ohio.
00:04:10Governor John Kasich appointed Major General Deborah A.
00:04:15Ashenhurst as the Adjutant General for the Ohio National Guard.
00:04:19Major General Ashenhurst holds the distinction of being the Ohio
00:04:22National Guard's first female adjutant general.
00:04:26As a member of the governor's cabinet, she commands the Ohio National
00:04:31Army Guard, consisting of the Ohio Air National Guard, the Ohio
00:04:33Military Reserve and the Ohio Naval Militia.
00:04:39It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce the 81st Adjutant
00:04:45General of the State of Ohio, Major General Deborah A.
00:05:04Please sit down.
00:05:08Good morning.
00:05:10I want to take a moment to thank Director Moe and his staff for
00:05:13extending an invitation for me to speak with you this morning to
00:05:17celebrate Women's History Month.
00:05:20I am thrilled to be here.
00:05:21But I have to tell you, when asked to do this presentation; I
00:05:24envisioned a small group maybe 10 to 15 women gathered in a small
00:05:27setting where I could informally address the group.
00:05:32Well, it appears that I got that wrong.
00:05:34Did someone tell you all that there was
00:05:35a free lunch here today or something?
00:05:39I am honored to serve as Ohio's first female Adjutant General,
00:05:41breaking a 222-year tradition in the Ohio National Guard.
00:05:45My 32 years of military experience have taught me many lessons and have
00:05:49formed the person you see here before you today.
00:05:53I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1980 (a mere ten years
00:05:57after the importance of Women's history
00:06:00was beginning to be mainstream).
00:06:02Since then, I have been privileged to command at all levels from
00:06:05company, to battalion, to brigade and held multiple staff assignments
00:06:10throughout the organization.
00:06:11It is these duties and experiences that make me proud to stand before
00:06:14you today, as the first female General Officer in the Ohio National
00:06:18Guard, to honor Women's History month.
00:06:22You know, well before Women's History Month was officially recognized,
00:06:28there were outstanding, accomplished women, making remarkable
00:06:31contributions to our nation.
00:06:34It is the through the unrelenting efforts of our fore-mothers, those
00:06:38who originally cracked and then shatter the proverbial glass ceiling
00:06:42that women, like me, have had the opportunities that we enjoy today.
00:06:48Let me tell you about a few: After the first women's rights
00:06:52conference held in New York and the beginning of the Women's Suffrage
00:06:56Movement in 1848, it took until 1869 (21 years) for Susan B.
00:07:03Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to form the National Women's
00:07:07Suffrage Association.
00:07:09The primary goal of which was to achieve the voting right for women by
00:07:20means of a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.
00:07:24And it wasn't until 1913 that a lady named Alice Paul along with Lucy
00:07:32Burns formed the Congressional Union (later to be known as the National
00:07:36Women's Party), to work toward the passage of the 19th amendment to
00:07:41give women the right to vote.
00:07:43Now these bad girls and other members picketed the White House and
00:07:47practiced "other forms" of civil disobedience to bring attention to the
00:07:52cause, but it still wasn't passed by Congress until 1919 and then
00:07:58ratified on August 18th 1920.
00:08:01Did you catch that timeframe?
00:08:04Remember the first women's rights conference was held in 1848 - it
00:08:08took 72 years for women to get the right to vote!
00:08:12Then a mere 13 years later, along came Francis Perkins.
00:08:17Francis Perkins was the United States Secretary of Labor from 1933 to
00:08:231945 and the first woman appointed to the United States Cabinet.
00:08:28She held that job for twelve years and championed so much of the new
00:08:32post-Depression "safety net" for workers; she is frequently described
00:08:37as the mother of the New Deal.
00:08:40She proposed public works programs, unemployment and retirement
00:08:44insurance, minimum wage and prohibition of child labor.
00:08:48She chaired the committee that wrote
00:08:51the first draft of the Social Security Act.
00:08:54She was instrumental in the Labor Movement, where women formed the
00:08:58first society of working women.
00:09:01Wow, can you imagine the issues she faced with all her male peers?
00:09:05Yet, while Frances was still in office, on March 17, 1942, the
00:09:14Congressional Record stated - and I quote: "I think it is a reflection
00:09:19upon the courageous manhood of the country to pass a law inviting women
00:09:24to join the armed forces [ Who ] then will do the cooking, the washing,
00:09:31the mending, the humble homey tasks to which
00:09:35every one woman has devoted herself.
00:09:38Think of the humiliation!
00:09:40What has become of the manhood of America?" End quote.
00:09:45In those years, no one thought twice about
00:09:48the implications of this statement.
00:09:50Thank goodness, today a political statement such as this would be met
00:09:55with large protests around the nation.
00:09:58We have truly come a long way from where we were then to the
00:10:02celebration of women and their significant achievements
00:10:06that we honor today.
00:10:08As I read numerous accounts of the great accomplishments of women
00:10:12before us, I realized that the year of 1978 holds significance for both
00:10:17Women's history and for me.
00:10:211978 was the year I joined the military, went to basic training (boot
00:10:26camp) and was issued WAC brass insignia.
00:10:32WAC, W-A-C, or Women's Army Corps, insignia was issued to women up to
00:10:40that time in lieu of the US insignia issued to the men.
00:10:46You see the men were considered to be in The US Army, women were not -
00:10:51they were in the WACs.
00:10:54By the time I graduated from basic training, a public law had been
00:10:57signed by President Jimmy Carter disbanding the Women's Army Corps as a
00:11:01separate corps within the US Army,
00:11:04and I was proudly wearing my US insignia.
00:11:07Significant to all women's history in 1978, the Education Task Force
00:11:13of the Sonoma County California Commission on the Status of Women,
00:11:17initiated "Women's History Week".
00:11:21They realized that children in grades K-12 were not learning anything
00:11:26about women in history, and wanted to change this.
00:11:29They chose the week of March 8, 1978 as a week bring attention to this
00:11:34now obvious oversight.
00:11:37The observance of Women's History Week was a huge success.
00:11:41Dozens of schools decided to celebrate the week and women around the
00:11:45communities showed their support through doing special projects in
00:11:48classrooms and by implementing a "Real Women" essay contest.
00:11:54At the end of the week, a large parade and program was held in downtown
00:11:58Santa Rosa, California.
00:12:00The success of the Sonoma County celebration was discussed at the 1979
00:12:05Women's History forum at Sarah Lawrence College, and the participants
00:12:10decide to support an effort to secure a National Women's History Week.
00:12:17So in 1980 (the same year I graduated Ohio National Guard's Officer
00:12:23Candidate School) President Carter issued the first Presidential
00:12:27Proclamation declaring the week of March 8
00:12:30as National Women's History Week.
00:12:33The proclamation stated that "men and women have worked together to
00:12:38build this nation the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and
00:12:44love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men
00:12:48whose names we know so well."
00:12:51It also mentioned the strong words of
00:12:53Dr. Gernda Lerner, in that women's history "is an essential and
00:12:59indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage
00:13:04and long-range vision".
00:13:07Now as I think of 1980 in my personal history, I remember my first
00:13:11annual training period as an officer in the National Guard.
00:13:15My unit was being evaluated on its effectiveness and ability to
00:13:20perform our war-time mission.
00:13:23My commander, a Colonel, told me that the evaluator liked me and
00:13:28thought I was cute, so I should smile a lot
00:13:32and be around throughout his evaluation.
00:13:35And during my first training weekend as an officer at a Brigade
00:13:42headquarters I was told to make the coffee.
00:13:47Yes that's the 1980s I remember.
00:13:59In 1981, Representatives Barbara Mikulski and Senator Orrin Hatch
00:14:04decided to continue the movement and co-sponsored congressional
00:14:08resolutions for a National Women's History Week in 1981.
00:14:12By 1986, 14 states had implemented
00:14:15women's history into their curriculum.
00:14:17Also in 1986, congress was lobbied to declare the entire month of
00:14:23March 1987 as Women's History Month.
00:14:26Finally, in 1987, Congress declared
00:14:30March National Women's History month indefinitely.
00:14:36Today, in 2011, almost every college offers courses in women's history
00:14:41and most graduate programs offer doctoral degrees in the field.
00:14:45Women's history month is celebrated nationally in thousands of
00:14:51schools, communities and organizations around the world.
00:14:55I continue to wear my US insignia and the military recognizes that
00:15:00women can accomplish great feats and are critical to its success
00:15:05through our leadership, initiative and hard work, not because we are
00:15:10cute and can smile around the evaluator.
00:15:14Our military, our communities, our organizations and our country
00:15:18have thrived because of the significant contributions made every day by
00:15:24regular women, working side by side with their male counterparts to
00:15:26ensure everyone achieves success.
00:15:29I am sometimes asked what it's like being a woman
00:15:33leading over 17,000 service members.
00:15:36To me, being a female is immaterial.
00:15:39As Paul Grosskruger stated, "My experience confirmed that effective
00:15:50leadership is based upon a number of factors - not one of them being
00:15:54gender." Women's History Month's original purpose of celebrating
00:15:59women's historic achievements in all areas of our society has served as
00:16:05a lesson to everyone, regardless of gender,
00:16:08that adversity can be overcome.
00:16:10The women whose accomplishments we remember and celebrate serve as
00:16:14role models for future generations and remind us all that anything can
00:16:19be done with hard work and determination.
00:16:23As Marian Edelman said in 1987 "We must not, in trying to think about
00:16:32how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we
00:16:36can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often
00:16:40cannot foresee." The women who first dared to make a difference, to
00:16:46stand up for what they believed in and who spoke until their voices
00:16:54were heard paved the way for everyone in this nation to dream big and
00:16:58know those dreams are not only achievable, but are achievable
00:17:02regardless of gender.
00:17:05As to the concerns of the Congressional Record of 1942, men can cook,
00:17:11wash and mend better than some women can, as to which anyone that has
00:17:18eaten my cooking can attest.
00:17:21Thanks for being here today to share in this Women's History
00:17:26celebration with me.
00:17:27I hope we all take away take a little bit back with us and remember
00:17:29it's all of us together that make a difference regardless of gender.
00:17:52Thank you.
00:17:54Thank you.
00:17:56That was wonderful.
00:17:57Thank you so much.
00:17:59I would now like to introduce, my boss, one of my bosses, Tim Espich,
00:18:06Deputy Director for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
00:18:15Well, I just want to take a moment to make a few comments.
00:18:18First I'd very much like to thank Major General Deborah A.
00:18:21Ashenhurst for spending her time with us today and thank her for her
00:18:25service for this country and this state.
00:18:27It's very much appreciated.
00:18:29Secondly, I'd like to thank the Statehouse and Capitol Square Review
00:18:36and Revise Board and all the employees here at the statehouse that do
00:18:39such a wonderful job in making sure that events like this are possible
00:18:42and providing us all the support.
00:18:45I have to tell you, being here representing the department of Veteran's
00:18:47Services, I have to take a moment and recognize all the people that
00:18:52served, serve our country right now and served our country in the past.
00:18:56When the Department of Veteran's Services was formed in 2008, one of
00:19:00our primary missions was to find those individuals that served their
00:19:04country and connect them to their benefits.
00:19:05And there are many benefits.
00:19:07From medical care to compensation for injuries, educational benefits,
00:19:12home and business loans, bonuses, financial assistance, burial
00:19:17benefits, there are a ton of things that our service members have
00:19:21earned and often don't know about.
00:19:24This is very true of our women veterans and Major Ashenhurst couldn't
00:19:28have written it any better when talking about our women's veterans
00:19:31because women veterans often do not consider themselves veterans.
00:19:35And so when we say we're looking for veterans or trying to connect
00:19:38veterans to veterans benefits, our women veterans so often do not feel
00:19:43themselves as veterans and so do not apply.
00:19:47Even though, just so you know, there's about 1.8 million living female
00:19:51veterans in the United States and today
00:19:5320% of all military recruits are female.
00:19:56So, today what I'd like you to do, if you have ever served your country
00:20:01and you don't know your benefits, we have a couple tables here today.
00:20:03One from the VA and one from the Department of Veteran's Services.
00:20:07Find out about your benefits.
00:20:10Find out about what you're entitled to for serving your country.
00:20:12And if you know anyone, and I know you all do, know someone who served
00:20:17their country, encourage them to find out about their benefits.
00:20:21So that they can understand what they've earned and use those benefits
00:20:24because they've surely earned them.
00:20:27When you leave here today, if you don't want to do that, at least
00:20:32remember this, 1-877-ohiovet.
00:20:36Let me say it again, 1-877-ohiovet which is decoded as 1-877-644-6838.
00:20:48If you call that number, type in your county, we will connect you to a
00:20:51county veterans service office or you can go to
00:21:00One last reminder, I want to let everyone know here that the Ohio
00:21:08Department of Veteran's Services Women's advisory committee will be
00:21:12hosting the Ohio's Women's Veteran's conference on Saturday October the
00:21:178th 2011 at the Aladdin Trine Temple right here in Columbus.
00:21:23I'd like to thank you all for attending and to all of those who served.
00:21:26Thank you very much for your service.
00:21:28Again, thank you General Ashenhurst.
00:21:38Thank you, Tim.
00:21:39Before closing the program today, I would ask for the Color Guard to
00:21:42please retire the colors.
00:21:48Color Guard Retire the Colors.
00:22:36Please be seated.
00:22:39Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes our program for this afternoon, I
00:22:41would like to thank General Ashenhurst, and the National Guard for
00:22:46their support, and thanks to all of you for being here to celebrate the
00:22:48history of Ohio's Women.
00:22:53Thank you so much, if you have some time, mingle with other women
00:22:56veterans, gather some information.
00:22:58Thank you again for coming.
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions