Remarks of Debbie Hersman
Member, National Transportation Safety Board
NTSB's Women’s History Month Program
March 27, 2008
Good morning, thank you for being here today. I am pleased to welcome you to the NTSB conference center and to participate in this celebration of women’s history and accomplishments. What better time to celebrate the achievements of women who defied the odds and convention in every field of endeavor. Our theme this year is “Women Making History…Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Elizabeth Blackwell, Arabella Mansfield, Victoria Claflin Woodhull, Jeannette Rankin, Amelia Earhart, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, and Madeleine Albright, what do these women have in common? They were doctors, lawyers, and astronauts, they are known as the first women in their profession.
Women’s History Month is a time to recognize the women that have impacted the world. Before 1970, women’s history was rarely the subject of serious concern. Over 100 years ago, the status of women was defined by their role in the family. Society expected women to be oriented toward marriage and homemaking.
Today, we recognize that throughout history women have played a remarkable role in shaping our destiny. Today, women constitute the majority of the U.S. population and they make up the majority of enrolled college students. Today, there are nearly 62 million working women in the United States, which is nearly 46% of the total labor force; 30% of these women are either managers or professionals.
Amelia Earhart once said, "You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward." I know many of you in the audience, both men and women, have your own personal stories of women who have encouraged and helped you in your life and career. I believe that we all must do our part to foster and encourage the development of the next generation of women leaders.
At this time I would like to introduce you to a woman who has spent a career doing just that. She is the executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research and has lead major initiatives to improve the knowledge of the role of women business owners and their enterprises around the world. She spent 21 years with IBM as an executive in communications and public relations. She has also been an adjunct professor and lecturer at the George Washington University, the University of Maryland, and Georgetown University. She has received numerous awards and recognition; and we are privileged to have her join us here today, please give a warm welcome to Ms. Sharon Hadary.