Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and this year we asked our Board, Advisory Committee, and team members to tell us what it means to them. 

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Awareness months are opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and experiences of different communities. Our Board, Advisory Committee, and team are made up of remarkable women who dedicate themselves to our mission of empowering Ohioans to resolve their legal issues. I am grateful to every one of the women who help us serve our users every day. 

-Susan Choe, Executive Director

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

"Women’s history month is an appropriate and necessary time for our country to pause, reflect, recognize, and celebrate the modalities and contributions women have used and contributed to the struggle for gender equality.  It is a time to understand the parallels of the women’s struggles and what this struggle represents for all people who are marginalized." - Clerk Nailah Byrd

"Women's History Month gives us the opportunity to be intentional in celebrating the many accomplishments and the multiple roles women have in their lives, including the vital role they play in their families, the leadership they provide to strengthen communities and the barriers they've overcome in the workplace." - Brandi Martin

"For me, Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the many, sometimes invisible contributions that women have made in our society. I find it especially important to reflect on the domestic labor that women have done historically that isn’t often glorified but is necessary for the survival and flourishing of humanity. Everyone needs to have their basic needs met, and women have taken on the burden of making sure that happens for all of us." - Rachel Harris

"Women’s History Month means that we still have progress to make. It recognizes that effort is still needed to make sure that every woman knows what opportunities exist for her to succeed in every aspect of her life and how to make the most of them." - Anjanette Whitman

What does it mean to be a woman in your field?

"In a word, “progress.”  My career has spanned more than 50 years and women in the profession today have nearly the same opportunities and respect as male attorneys.  When I started practicing, this was not the case.  Women in the profession were undervalued, not listened to, and not as respected in the same ways as their male colleagues. Today this situation, thankfully, has changed, but there is still a ways to go." - Sally Bloomfield

"I am grateful to have been born to parents who cultivated my self-belief and who did not limit my consideration of what path I might pursue. I am also grateful to have been born at a time when it was commonplace for women to pursue higher education and for law school classes to have equal numbers of women and men. Frankly, I took much of this for granted. Barriers to women pursuing careers in law (and other professions) felt like ancient history to me. As I had the opportunity to meet and learn more about women who entered law school and began practicing law before me, my eyes were opened to how different their experience had been not so many years before. This gave me a deep appreciation for the tenacity that was required of women pursuing a career in law at that time. For me, Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate these and the many other varied contributions that women make to society. Of course, there is much work still to be done. Many challenges still exist for women in law and especially for women and men of color." - Dimity Orlet

"In my current and former roles, it has meant having to prove my value and competencies rather than being given the benefit of the doubt that my positions are well deserved and aligned with my skills." - Laura Black

"As a woman working in law and policy, there are spaces where I have all the support and resources I need to flourish. Unfortunately, there are still spaces where reminders of a profession long dominated by men are present and even touted by colleagues. I hope that we can all continue to intentionally foster spaces so that every current and future member of the bar can flourish." - Micaela Deming

What women have inspired you or made an impact on your life?

"My mother Joan Reali has made the biggest impact on my life and my career. She came to the U.S. as a legal immigrant at age 16 and finished high school here in Ohio. She took some college courses but never finished her degree. She started her career as a teller in a bank at age 19 and rose over a 50-year span to Vice President of that bank.  She was married to my dad, raised three daughters, and worked outside the home at a time when most moms didn’t. It wasn’t easy to do both, but she persevered and had a wonderful career that she was good at and loved. She was my first and best role model." - Judge Colleen Reali

"Currently, I am reading Mark Twain’s book about Saint Joan of Arc, which he said was the best thing he ever wrote. Her faith and “granite fortitude” allowed this teenage girl from the 1400s to lead an army, win battles and ultimately die for what she believed in. Talk about ahead of her time! Joan’s is an inspiring story worthy of deeper reflection." - Maggie Ostrowski

"Nearly every friend, family member and colleague has made an impact on my life and career. I am grateful that my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, and niece have all supported me and pushed me to be a strong, independent, and considerate woman. My friends inspire me every day and we build each other up through any successes or failures. I’ve been so fortunate to work with women who use their skill sets and expertise to make changes for the good." - Diana Wiebe