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Doan Addresses Women's History Month Celebration

Remarks by
Lurita Alexis Doan
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
GSA’s National Women’s History Month Program
GSA Auditorium
March 20, 2008


Good morning, everyone.  It’s an honor to be part of today’s program. 

Let me first thank our wonderful emcee, GSA’s Montrez Nicholson.  I’m also excited that another GSA family member will be performing today: Tobi Edler, who works in the Speechwriting Office.  Clearly, GSA is more than the federal government’s premier acquisition agency -- we’re also an agency with very talented individuals.

I’d also like to thank our featured guest, Ms. Kate Campbell, for what I know will be an outstanding performance.

All of us are here today to honor the remarkable women of the past and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments being made by women today.

National women’s history month is about:

  • Recognizing the extraordinary achievements women have made throughout history.
  • It’s about acknowledging the obstacles women have overcome along the road to success.
  • It’s about the passion and vision of women like Mary Mcleod Bethune, who, with $1.50 in her pocket, founded a school for young black women.
  • It’s about the perseverance of women like Margaret Chung, the first Chinese-American woman physician, who worked her way through medical school by washing dishes and lecturing on china.

There was a time when women had few choices. They could be cooks, housekeepers, waitresses, teachers, nurses . . .  Today, women can be anything they want, from housewives to and entrepreneurs to doctors or astronauts.

Consider how things have changed in government alone! Once, women filled secretarial pools. Today, they lead federal agencies, run the U.S. House of Representatives and are competing for the highest office in the land.

We should pause and remember that this is all possible because of the women who fought the hard battles for equal treatment, equal rights, equal pay and equal career opportunities. 

Today is one of the few days I think a little about being the first woman Administrator of GSA. Most days, my energy goes into areas where I think we need improvement. But I know that when my time is done, history will note I was the “first female GSA Administrator.” So, rightly or wrongly, whether we think about it a lot or not, the women whose fortune it is to go first have a special responsibility to clear a few more hurdles for those who will follow.

That applies not just to me, but to many others at GSA, including:

  • Regional Administrator Emily Baker in New York;
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Barbara Shelton;
  • Leslie Plomondon, head of our Rocky Mountain Region;
  • Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Turco;
  • Chief Information Officer Casey Coleman;
  • Chief Human Capital Officer Gail Lovelace;
  • And Madeline Caliendo, Associate Administrator for The Office of Civil Rights. 

We should also take pride in the fact that:

  • Mary Peters is The U.S. Secretary of Transportation;
  • Linda Springer heads The Office of Personnel Management;
  • Elaine Chao is Labor Secretary, and the first Asian-American woman appointed to a cabinet position;
  • Margaret Spellings is the first mother of school-aged children to serve as Education Secretary;
  • And of course Condoleezza Rice is our Secretary of State.

Every day, women are seizing opportunities and shaping the future of America.  You name the discipline, and it won’t take long to find a woman of high achievement.

As we continue to excel, we must also strive to create a society where gender no longer predetermines opportunities, worth, or station.

Today, we celebrate the accomplishments, spirit, leadership, and hard work of every grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, niece, daughter and granddaughter. 

Let’s remember throughout the year the many contributions of courageous women who have made our nation strong. 

These women continue the legacy of leadership as entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, artists, and public officials. Yet they still have the strength, guidance, and love to provide for their families, communities, and country.

Thank you so much for letting me be part of today’s celebration.