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24th annual Maine Women’s Hall of Fame

Posted Feb. 05, 2013, at 3:51 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 06, 2013, at 9:58 a.m.

The Twenty-fourth Annual Maine Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Celebration will be observed on Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Jewett Hall at the University of Maine at Augusta. Each year’s ceremony is held at UMA during the month of March, in observance of Women’s History Month.

A Silver Tea in honor of the inductees and registration will be held at 1 p.m. Contributions will be accepted to augment BPW/Maine scholarship program.

The Induction Ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. for our two honorees: Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. of Waterville – activist, author, researcher, professor at Colby College, co-founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women. Mary Cathcart of Orono – former Maine State Representative and State Senator and currently a Senior Policy Associate with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.

The nomination of Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., was sponsored by Jackie Dupont and Megan Williams of Hardy Girls Healthy Women. The nomination of Mary Cathcart was sponsored by the Penobscot Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women, Cathleen M. Bauschatz, secretary.

For more than twenty-five years Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. has dedicated her life to changing the cultural environment for women and girls in Maine. She is a mom, activist, researcher, author, and muse to countless young women and girls.

As a founding member of Harvard’s project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development; an AAUW Scholar in Residence; a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Adolescent Girls; and a consultant to the Ms. Foundation’s National Girls’ Initiative, her work has been instrumental to creating widespread and enduring change for Maine girls and women in the areas of programming and policy.

Dr. Brown is the author of five books and numerous articles focused on girls’ lives, including the groundbreaking book Meeting at the Crossroads with Carol Gilligan that effectively changed the conversation on girls’ development and women’s health. She writes extensively on the relational life of girls; the influences of race, class and gender on girls’ lives; the impact of media, and girls’ feelings of anger, self-knowledge, loss, hope, and desire.

But what sets Dr. Brown apart is more than just research, because embedded in her approach to her work is a dedication to translating theory to practice. While she’s an academic by training, she’s an activist through and through. Much of her activism is done through the organization she co-founded more than twelve years ago, Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW). HGHW is a non-profit founded on her research and dedicated to empowering girls through knowledge, critical thinking, and a platform for driving social change.

As a professor at Colby College, Dr. Brown directly challenges and develops future generations of women by bringing both her research and practice in to the classroom. As a result of her students have led programs designed to empower girls by using the curriculum From Adversaries to Allies, authored by Dr. Brown, with close to 100 girls’ coalition groups across the state, giving girls opportunities to develop their leadership and voice.

Throughout her career, Dr. Brown has collaborated with community leaders to help them include the voices of girls. She has helped guidance counselors incorporate strength-based methods into their school communities and her work with the State Board of Education and the Governor’s Subcommittee on Youth Safety brings both a gendered lens and the voices of lesbian girls to the tables where policies are made.

Most recently, she has spearheaded programs designed to give youth voices in programs and policy locally and nationally through her work co-founding SPARK Movement, a collaborative dedicated to combating the sexualization of girls and women in the media. Through SPARK, she has dedicated time and energy to building a network of dozens of organizations, researchers, activists, and most importantly young women, to catalyze a movement focused on eliminating the objectification of girls and women in the media. She also founded Powered by Girl, the online media literacy and media activism site dedicated to providing a space for girls and young women to make their voices heard on sexism in the media through blogging, art, and social networking.

Dr. Brown has had a deep and widespread impact on the lives of women and girls throughout Maine. Her research, teaching, advising, and activism have been credited with changing lives and changing mindsets with regards to the way people understand and work with girls around the country. The key to bettering women’s lives is a strong foundation of empowerment and support in girls’ lives. Dr. Brown’s lifelong work has ensured that’s the case for Maine girls, and thus Maine women.

Mary Cathcart has been a stalwart supporter of women throughout her life and has been involved in many aspects of improving the lives of women and girls in Maine. Through her strong and informed advocacy, her generous financial support, and her dedicated service, she has represented the interests of Maine women and girls locally, statewide, and nationally.

Mary Cathcart’s association with women’s concerns began shortly after she arrived in Maine as a young professional woman. She started working with Spruce Run, a new organization at the time, and the third oldest domestic violence shelter in the country. Spruce Run has evolved into a successful model that addresses violence against women on an individual level as well as mobilizing the community with a coordinated community response. When she left her position at Spruce run and was elected to the Maine legislature, she continued to be active in this effort and was responsible for legislation that had a profound effect on institutional response to Domestic Violence.

As a member of the Maine House of Representatives for three terms, she gave round-the-clock attention to her constituents. She returned calls and listened with empathy to personal concerns and ideas. She has a knack for encouraging participation in the matters of the state by engaging citizens, inclusively. She found time to recognize the accomplishments of people in her district. These characteristics persisted as she served four terms in the Maine Senate representing communities in Penobscot County before she term-limited in 2004. There she was a leader with many bills to improve the status of women and to protect the family.

She became a leader in the Maine Legislature, advocating for women and children; and she worked tirelessly to strengthen the protections afforded to women in a violent situation. She served many years on the Maine Commission for Women and was a founder of the Eastern Regional Commission for Women. She was a founding member of SAFE (Safe Abortions for Everyone), an organization that provides funding support for low-income women’s abortions. She has been on the board of the Maine Women’s Fund, Women’s Legislative Agenda Coalition (WLAC), Women, Work and Community, Maine Center for Economic Policy, and Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Through Mary Cathcart’s work at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, she established the Maine NEW Leadership program – a non-partisan training program for undergraduate college women from a variety of public and private, four- and two-year institutions throughout Maine. The skills that are taught and the experiences provided for these young women enhance their own leadership and help form a “new wave” of connected and engaged citizens.

Mary Cathcart has worked tirelessly in various capacities over the past thirty years to advance the cause of women in Maine, to improve their lives, and to bring changes that will endure. Her many contributions to the lives of Maine women began with volunteer work at Spruce Run in Bangor to combat domestic violence (early 1980s), and most recently with the unique New Leadership Program at the University of Maine, which brings young women from around the state for a week of workshops and presentations, fostering development of leadership skills. She has supported many causes of benefit to women and has mentored many younger women in politics and public policy. She has always been on the front line to defend women’s rights and opportunities.

The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs established the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990, to honor women who have made an outstanding contribution to improving opportunities for all Maine women. The BPW/Maine Futurama Foundation and The University of Maine at Augusta are co-sponsors.

The three criteria for selection to be inducted are (1) woman’s achievements have had a significant statewide impact, (2) woman’s achievements significantly improved the lives of women in Maine, and (3) woman’s contribution has enduring value for women.

The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Jewett Hall at the University of Maine at Augusta. For more information, please contact Sally Ann Parks, chair for Hall of Fame, P O Box 84, Hinckley, ME 04944; (207) 453-6004.

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