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Women's History Month Celebration, Washington, D.C.

Remarks for Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
Women = s History Month Celebration
Ronald Reagan Amphitheater
Washington, D.C.

March 19, 2003

Thank you Linda (Batts) for that introduction.

It is an honor to be with all of you this morning, and on behalf of EPA, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Customs Border Protection Bureau I want to welcome you to our celebration of National Women= s History Month.

When I think about this year = s theme B A Women Pioneering the Future @ B Astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark truly embody that theme. Not only were they pioneers for women in the space program, but they also worked bravely to advance scientific knowledge and improve our lives as pioneers of the A untrespassed sanctity of space @ .

As we celebrate women= s history month, we pay tribute to their lives and to the lives of countless other women who have made great sacrifices, embarked upon meaningful endeavors, and torn down historic barriers of prejudice.

Confucius once said, A Study the past if you would define the future. @ As women pioneering the future it is imperative that we study the incredible women of our past.

From the undaunted courage of Amelia Earhart and the unrelenting fortitude of Susan B. Anthony to the unquenchable spirit of Annie Oakley and the quiet strength of Rosa Parks, our nation = s past holds a great wealth of women heroes who inspire us and provide us with examples of how to make a difference.

As a woman pursuing a political career, I benefitted greatly from the example set by many impressive women, but none more so than my mother.

She saw public service as a powerful means to strengthen our society and improve the lives of individuals. She dedicated herself to politics in New Jersey, blazing a trail for future generations of women B including me B to follow.

From my time as Governor of New Jersey and now as Administrator of the EPA, I have learned that my mother was right. Public service has indeed been an exciting, challenging, interesting, frustrating (at times), but at all times rewarding pursuit.

For many of you in the audience, I know you have your own personal story of the women who have encouraged and helped you in your life and career. And I believe that we have a responsibility to continue that cycle and to do our part to foster and encourage the careers and development of the next generation of women leaders.

This year, as part of women = s history month, we honor eleven women leaders for their contributions to American history and society. This is a group of great diversity that includes women such as environmentalist Rachel Carson, journalist Robin Roberts, and composer Tania Leon.

I would like to encourage you to learn more about this year = s honorees and to take advantage of the events planned throughout the rest of this month that will recognize the sacrifices, past achievements, and ongoing contributions made by women to the history and heritage of our great country.

The progress of women is a path that we chart B a path that has its foundation and beginnings in the richness of the past and it= s future in the efforts of each of us in this room. May we renew our commitment to charting that course and embark boldly on our work pioneering the future.

Thank you.