VIENNA - The first lady of West Virginia spoke of the ability of young people, especially women, to work hard and be able to achieve their dreams.
Gayle Manchin spoke Tuesday to the League of Women Voters of Wood County. The League was celebrating its 90th year nationally and 57th year in Wood County.
Manchin spoke about how barriers are being broken by women in the number of professions women are seeking out.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
West Virginia’s first lady Gayle Manchin speaks to the League of Women Voters of Wood County Tuesday about issues important to her, including education and being able to empower young people so they can reach their full potential.
''We are opening new doors and we are creating better opportunities for our daughters and granddaughters just as our mothers and grandmothers did for us,'' she said at the Parkersburg Country Club. ''We should never forget the people who came before us and what they did. For all that has been done, there is still a lot to be done.''
Manchin, who was a teacher and is still involved in issues involving education, spoke about the West Virginia Youth in Government program where students fill in the positions in state government and get to act in those positions, including the Legislature, governor and court justices.
''What I find interesting is that this year there is a larger percentage of girls than boys participating,'' she said. ''They hold more of the offices.
''This year girls hold all of the top positions, the governor, supreme court justice and secretary of the state.''
Manchin asked those assembled why that changes and fewer women will seek out those jobs when they are adults. Women bring a different perspective to whatever they do; it is a perspective that is beneficial and helpful, she said.
''Are we each doing enough to encourage young women to pursue an education in a field that was not traditionally considered for women?" she asked. ''Are we encouraging our young women to become involved in math and science? These involve positions that are critical to our society. We should be encouraging this.''
Due to certain perceptions, some young girls reach a certain age and they will hide what they know, she said.
Many young women are not getting involved in these fields or taking part in the political process. They haven't had the opportunity to achieve key leadership roles in many business fields, Manchin said.
''I would never want to gain something or achieve something because I was a woman,'' Manchin said. ''At the end of the day, it should never be about what we accomplish as a woman, but rather being the best human being we can be.''
The first lady encouraged women and others throughout the community to be involved in advocacy for others who may not have a voice to speak, making connections with others by being involved in their community and working to make sure the children of West Virginia have the opportunity for the best education this state can provide for them.
''I encourage young people all the time to follow their dreams and believe in the beauty of their dreams,'' she said. ''I don't think that should be limited to just young people either.
''It is a time of great opportunity.''