Yesterday, on International Women’s Day, Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson spoke to an online gathering of women about “Utah’s incredible women” who have come before us and the work that still lies before us.
She shared that in January, 1870, thousands of Utah women gathered in what they called “The Great Indignation Meeting” to demand the right to vote. A few weeks later, the all-male territorial legislature voted unanimously in favor of women’s suffrage and a few days later, Seraph Young cast her ballot. Women then lost the vote when the US Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act and then regained it upon Utah gaining statehood.
Lt. Governor Henderson spoke of Alice Kasai, who watched her husband get arrested and placed in an internment camp, simply for being Japanese. She became the president of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and a powerful advocate for the Japanese community in Utah. Throughout her life, she advocated for “fair housing, education and international peace.”
Henderson also paid homage to Utah’s first female Lt. Governor (and later, Governor), Olene Walker. Young Olene dreamed of becoming president and spent her life in public service. Olene served as PTA president in all the schools her 7 children attended, got elected to the Utah House, where she became majority whip - and finished a doctorate at the same time. Because of Olene Walker, Henderson said, Utah has a rainy day fund and a fund for affordable housing. She quoted Olene as saying “There are many worthwhile things for people to do. They just need to do them, not just talk about them.”
Henderson also talked about the gender pay gap, the she-cession, domestic violence, lower college graduation rates and the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on women. Referring to the One Utah Roadmap put out by the administration, she said they are working on “upskilling and retraining, scholarships and mentoring, improved childcare options and creative solutions with the private sector.”
Following her remarks, Lt. Governor Henderson read and then signed a declaration proclaiming March 8, 2021 Women’s Day in Utah.
Take a few minutes and watch the Lt. Governor’s speech.
You can also read the Declaration in its entirety.