International Women’s Day is March 8, and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is encouraging all Kentuckians to observe the occasion by honoring the women and men who have paved the way for greater women’s rights and commit themselves to further progress. Grimes is Kentucky’s 76th Secretary of State and only current female constitutional officer.

In 2013, International Women’s Day focused on ending violence against women. Last year, Grimes helped further that goal by helping establish Kentucky’s first-ever address confidentiality program, which will allow domestic violence victims to keep their names and addresses off of public voting records so they can vote without fear for their or their children’s safety.

This year’s theme is “Inspiring Change,” with emphasis on encouraging the advancement of women in all aspects of society. In Kentucky, although more than half of registered voters are female, only 18 percent of state legislators are women. And nationally, according to a recent report commissioned by American Express, women own approximately 30 percent of private firms.

“In both my personal and professional life, I have been blessed to be surrounded by people who have promoted women’s status, whether around the dinner table, in the board room, or at the Capitol,” said Grimes. “From my grandmothers, mother and four sisters, to Ann McBrayer, to Governor Martha Layne Collins and Senator Georgia Davis Powers, the strong women who have challenged the status quo in the past inspire me to continue to strive for positive change now.”

Ann McBrayer is the owner and president of Kentucky Eagle, Inc., a beverage distributor that exemplifies corporate citizenship through not only its business practices and successes, but also through community involvement and environmental stewardship.

Gov. Martha Layne Collins has the distinction of having served as Kentucky’s first, and to date only, female Governor. Under her leadership, including helping bring the Toyota manufacturing plant to Georgetown, Kentucky experienced tremendous economic growth.

Senator Georgia Davis Powers was the first African-American and first woman to serve in the Kentucky state Senate. She advocated for fairness in employment and public accommodations, and she helped organize the 1964 Civil Rights March on Frankfort.

“International Women’s Day is a great reminder of how important it is to honor those who have inspired change in the past and work to make sure other women have the opportunity to achieve whatever they set their minds and hearts to,” said Grimes.

For more information on International Women’s Day, please visit www.internationalwomensday.com. American Express’s The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report is available at http://www.womenable.com/userfiles/downloads/2013_State_of_Women-Owned_Businesses_Report_FINAL.pdf.




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