Sen. Kay Floyd invites Oklahomans to celebrate Women’s History Month

Oklahoma City – Even before women had the right to vote, they played an integral part in Oklahoma’s history, commented Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd in a recent press release. Today, she reflected, they continue to make strides in politics, human rights, science, education, business, the arts and more. Senator Floyd, an Oklahoma City Democrat, is urging citizens to learn more about women who have shaped this state and the country as part of Women’s History Month. 

Since 1995, presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month, celebrating the contributions women have made to this country. Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said many of those women were Oklahomans.

“When Oklahoma’s constitutional convention convened in Guthrie in 1906, all of the delegates were men and yet a woman named Kate Barnard played a key role by lobbying for a provision banning child labor, and for the creation of a statewide office of commissioner of charities and corrections,” Floyd said in comments sent to and other news organizations.   

“Kate later was elected to that office, winning by a greater plurality than any other candidate in our state’s first general election, even though women could not even vote at that time. She was the first woman in Oklahoma to hold statewide office, and one of the first to do so in the nation.”

Barnard went on to champion laws on compulsory education, launched a juvenile justice system and investigated the mistreatment of Oklahoman prisoners held in Kansas prisons.  A life-size statue of Barnard is among the public art on display in the state Capitol.

Oklahoma educator Clara Luper was a pioneer in the civil rights movement while another educator, Jeane Kirkpatrick, became the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Floyd pointed to other trailblazing Oklahoma women, including aerospace engineer Donna Shirley, who headed the Mars Exploration Program in 1994, and astronaut Shannon Lucid, who flew on six shuttle missions and lived on the Mir space station.

“These are just a few examples of women who have made history in Oklahoma, nationally and internationally,” Floyd said.“It’s worthy of celebration, and I hope our citizens will take the time to learn more about Oklahoma’s remarkable women and their many contributions during Women’s History Month.”