March is Women’s
On Saturday, March 14, from 2:00-4:00 pm, the public is invited to an open house at the Anoka County History Center and Library, located at 2135 Third Ave. North in Anoka. The event gives the public the opportunity to meet and speak with several of the women featured in the museum’s current exhibit, “We Can Do It!” In addition, several police and firefighters, featured in “Law and Ladders: History of Anoka County’s Fire, Police, and Sheriff” will be on hand to share their stories. There is no charge for this event, and the exhibit gallery will be free during the event.
The event recognizes and honors the role that women have played in Anoka County’s history. From the earliest homesteaders to modern business executives, women have always done whatever needed to be done. This event focuses on the trials and the achievements of women in public safety and in the military.
The exhibit presents a timeline, beginning with the “Sanitary Commission” efforts of Civil War wives. During World War I, when women were not even allowed to vote, over 30,000 women served in support roles. World War II gave women the first opportunity to enlist, and many local women joined the military as nurses, secretaries, and drivers, both stateside and overseas. Gradually, through the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the role of women expanded until today 80% of the jobs in the military and 90% of career fields are open to the best qualified candidate, regardless of gender.
Outside the military, women did much more than just “keep the home fires burning.” Millions of stateside women took over jobs on farms and in factories that were previously open only to men. Joyce Paul was in “special services” and provided recreation and entertainment on a military base in Germany. In a more recent example, Becki Mastrian is both an army wife and a Family Readiness Group Assistant. Other local ladies served, or are serving currently as nurses, dental hygienists, and even a cryptologist.
Similarly, women in Anoka County have served in the area of public safety, despite the fact that communities were initially reluctant to employ women as police and firefighters. They needed to prove themselves over and over again in order to overcome the attitudes and prejudices of their time.For additional information, please check the website at www.ac-hs.org or phone ACHS at 763-421-0600.