State News

Evers signs executive order commemorating women of Wisconsin’s past aiming to empower future leaders

The order creates a bipartisan committee that will examine different ways to advance interests of women in Wisconsin. 

Image By: Jon Yoon

Nearly 100 years after Wisconsin became the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #19 with an aim to support women throughout Wisconsin today at the Capitol. 

The executive order will create a committee, chaired by Kathy Evers, to honor the success of the centennial suffrage movement. 

“Now more than ever, it’s important that we celebrate and elevate women and their contributions to our communities and our state while also acknowledging the important work we still have yet to do for equity, equality, and the inclusion of women across our state,” Tony Evers said. “I know this committee will serve as an important effort to educate folks and celebrate women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment in Wisconsin.” 

The all-female committee will consist of powerful women within Wisconsin ranging across the political spectrum. Members include former Lieutenant Governors Rebecca Kleefisch, Barbara Lawton and UW-Madison gender and women’s studies librarian Karla Strand. 

“There are so many amazing women that are going to be a part of this committee; I’m just so honored. I’m so fortunate to be able to work with them,” Kathy Evers said. “We’re lucky to be surrounded by such exceptional leaders who have been trailblazers right here in Wisconsin.” 

The committee has four objectives, according to the order. The first is to educate citizens on the state’s role in the women’s suffrage movement and how Wisconsin was first to establish the 19th Amendment. 

The committee will additionally aim to create educational activities and lesson plans for Wisconsin teachers and organize and commemorate the centennial anniversary with events around the state.

Finally, the panel will attempt to maintain a mindful perspective when educating those around the state that the ratification of the 19th Amendment did not ensure the vote for every woman. 

Legislators from around the state commented on the intentions of the initiative. 

Rep. Shelia Stubbs, D-Madison, noted the importance of voting as a way to resolve injustices. 

“For women of color, the right to vote was not secured until decades later,” Stubbs said in a release. “In fact, the right to vote today is still in jeopardy for many women as a wave of restrictions have rippled throughout the country. It is especially important right now that our voices and stories are heard loud and clear.” 

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, joined Stubbs in voicing support for the order. 

“It is truly an exciting time to be a woman in leadership in Wisconsin, but we still have a long way to go until the makeup of our legislature reflects the makeup of our state,” Taylor said in a statement. “I am excited to support Governor Evers’ Executive Order today and to continue the work of the women who came before us to better the world for the women who will come after us.” 

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