Claiming a Vote: Women Legislators of Maryland
The General Assembly

By Kathy Postel Kretman and Gregory G. Lebel
January 1, 1991


The process launched by the women legislators in 1972 to create a formal mechanism whereby the concerns of all women throughout the state could be vocalized and addressed has significantly advanced the status of Maryland women in and out of office. Beginning in 1648 with Margaret Brent, who demanded women's suffrage before the General Assembly in Annapolis, there have been countless individuals who have made equal rights of women their cause - a cause worth fighting for. Many of the unsung heroines have had long and successful careers in public and community service, culminating in their election to public office. Others have inspired women to break through the "glass ceiling," to seek positions historically prohibited to women.

In publishing this work, we would like to acknowledge the women of Maryland who have served and continue to serve the citizens of Maryland through their work in the communities, in their professions, and in their roles as public servants. In particular, we would like to thank the following individuals, who have shared with us their own experiences as well as their dreams for the future Women Legislators of Maryland: Delegate Mary Boergers, current President of the Women Legislators of Maryland; former Delegate Ben Booth; Delegate Pauline Menes, first president of the Women Legislators; Congresswoman Constance Morella; and State Senator Ida Ruben, former Women Legislators' president.

In addition, we would like to thank Delegate Juanita Miller, 1990 Chair of the Center for Political Leadership and Participation Committee, for creating the idea of a written history and requesting approval for the necessary funds for its completion; Karen Dorsey, former executive director of the Caucus, who was adamant that this project be undertaken; Dot McDonough, the Women Legislators' executive director, who inherited the project; Georgia Sorenson, Director of the Center for Political Leadership and Participation, the University of Maryland, for her encouragement; the Center for the American Woman and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, for its consistently outstanding research on and support for women legislators; and, finally, the Ms. Foundation, for its contribution to the Women Legislators of Maryland in its watershed years.

Kathy Postel Kretman
Gregory C. Lebel
January 1, 1991

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