Gov. Dayton Proclaims March As 'Women's History Month'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Wednesday is International Women’s Day.

The United Nations-designated day, which has been observed since the early 1900s, falls on the same day as “A Day Without a Woman.”

Women across the country were encouraged to take the day off from work to show how the importance women play in the nation’s economy. It is put on by the same group that organized the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January.

From St. Paul to the University of Minnesota to downtown Minneapolis, there were several marches and rallies planned for both initiatives.

“I think it’s really great to have a day that’s dedicated to women,” said Elaine Wyatt, executive director of WomenVenture.

The nonprofit organization WomenVenture was started 40 years ago by two women who wanted to help displaced homemakers.

Today, the organization has helped around 120,000 women start their own businesses, and make salaries comparable to their male counterparts. Their clients have opened hair salons, law firms, restaurants and fitness studios.

WomenVenture did not close for the day in order to be available to help their clients.

“We want to be here when women call,” Wyatt said.

Jill Pavlak is serving up female empowerment by the growler in St. Paul.

“We are so fortunate that there are so many successful women in this community,” said Pavlak, who co-owns Urban Growler Brewing Company.

Pavlak did not always know much about beer, but that all changed when she met her partner 11 years ago. They opened the brewery together in 2014 — the first brewery in Minnesota owned and operated by women.

“We got a lot of help from a lot of people in this neighborhood and we’re very grateful,” Pavlak said.

WomenVenture will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Urban Growler is also hosting an all-day event Wednesday in honor of International Women’s Day, where a portion of their beer sales will help fund WomenVenture’s mission.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed March as “Women’s History Month.” Both Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith released statements in support of women.

“During Women’s History Month, I urge all Minnesotans to reflect on the significant achievements that have been made by women in our state, and across our country. These rankings from WalletHub underscore the great progress we have made. But our work is not done. We must continue to stand up for equality and inclusion at all levels in our state, including equal pay for equal work, protecting reproductive rights and access to health care, charting the course for paid parental leave, and expanding economic opportunity for all women in Minnesota.”

Here’s Smith’s statement:

“On January 21, 2017, I marched in St. Paul with almost 100,000 men and women for our shared values: freedom, independence, and opportunity for everyone. Today, we take the next step. ‘A Day Without a Woman’ reminds us that every day, 2,727,005 Minnesota women do their jobs, take care of their families, and make our communities work. Our economy, our schools, and our communities ought to work for women as well as women work for us.”