MASON CITY, IA – It’s National Women’s History month and some are sharing their stories of struggle and success in order to continue the progress of women in our society.
That was the goal of a discussion last night in North Iowa.
Joyce Hanes was the first female board member at NIACC in 1975. At that time, Joyce tells us, society was just starting to accept women into higher positions.
“I really felt sincerely that I needed to prove that I represented women and women are just as capable as man and I felt very honored that I was the woman that was chosen to be the first member,” says Hanes.
She is among four women sharing their stories at the women’s history month panel at NIACC. They are from very different walks of life, and each is a leading example of character, courage, and commitment among women.
“I represent how women had the ability to move from within that generation group and to now have remarkable opportunities,” added Hanes.
Naomi Reiff broke tradition in the Mennonite church by enrolling in college and now has a bright future in nursing.
Priscillar John or PJ is from Papua New Guinea and attends NIACC partially because of her love for running. She finds America’s lenience of gender roles fascinating because in her culture men do not help out in the household.
“It doesn’t mean that you’re a woman that you will wash clothes and you will cook food,” says John.
Anna Ranson has overcome a mental illness, abuse, and addiction but hopes to change the lives of others by becoming a counselor.
Finally, Sharon Chamwoma, from Kenya, is a talented singer, majoring in music.
Those organizing the event are hoping these diverse stories will educate people on the history of women’s rights and impact their future.
“We love hearing about the stories everyone has to tell and we can learn and grow and honor the people who have paved the way and learn from them. I find it very inspiring and uplifting to do that,” says organizer Kathy Rogotzke.
Organizers are hoping to keep this event going in the future.
According to the Library of Congress, Women’s History Month started in the 1980s to pay tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.