Kim Wyman, Women’s Suffrage Centennial and Mentorship Pilot Update
By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair
The women of our grandmothers’ time lived in a very small and narrow sphere, but civilization has advanced by many leaps and bounds. Now Washington can prove to the world the greatness of our evergreen state is not determined by the number of acres it contains or its population, but by the characters of its men and women who today are extending to all women of America the privilege of the a ballot.
–Frances Haskell, first women elected to Washington State House of Representatives on ratification of the 19th amendment granting women’s right to vote
Secretary of State Kim Wyman was moved to tears as she read the quote by Frances Haskell, the first woman elected to Washington State’s House of Representatives during the ICSEW’s first ever virtual meeting May 19.
“It gets me teary every time I read that quote because it was those powerhouse women who got to serve in the legislature because the men and women in Washington state in 1910 had the foresight to say, ‘you know what? Women should have the right to vote,’” Wyman said. “Women have held almost every elected position in the state because of Frances Haskell.
Wyman’s presentation “Ahead of the Curve: Voting, Leadership, and Women: Historical Insights and Contemporary Implications,” highlighted significant women in Washington State’s History and looked at events of the state’s ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The year 2020 marks the centennial of women’s suffrage.
ICSEW members attended the meeting via Zoom and Facebook live. In addition to talking about women’s suffrage in Washington state, Wyman also answered questions submitted via Zoom Chat and Facebook Live. She talked about the address confidentiality program, which keeps addresses of victims of domestic violence, stalking, trafficking and sexual assault from public records.
Wyman also talked about innovations Washington state has taken in a vote-by-mail system. Wyman noted that Washington is one of only five states in the nation that is entirely vote by mail and the Secretary of State’s Office has worked with partner agencies such as the FBI and Homeland security to ensure the integrity and protection of the elections as critical infrastructure.
Wyman also answered questions about who were ‘powerhouse women’ who have inspired her career. She talked about her maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were both single mothers in the 1940s who had been in abusive relationships. They both got divorced. “They were single women in a time when women were not single,” Wyman said.
“They both realized this was not the future they wanted for their children….They had the fortitude to work hard and instill that in their children and grandchildren. When I look back on those foundational elements and tie it back in with people li9ke Billie Jean King and Title IX, Title IX taught me to compete and gave me the keys to the workforce. I’m very proud of that family.”
After the presentation, Mentorship Subcommittee Chair Josefina Magana gave an update on the ICSEW mentorship pilot. The subcommittee is exploring virtual ways to proceed with the mentorship program, in light of the governor’s Stay, Home Stay Healthy Order. She said the mentorship subcommittee is still looking for around ten state employees to serve as mentors to other state employees in the pilot. If you are interested send an email to Stacy Hiatt by June 5, 2020. email@example.com. For more information, please visit the Mentorship Pilot Program page.