Tamaqua Resident, State Official Talks About Women Empowerment

Pottsville Republican

Proud to call herself a “Skook,” Tamaqua resident Maria Montero served as the guest speaker at a Pottsville Business and Professional Woman’s Club meeting Tuesday at the Pottsville Club.

In December 2011, Montero was named executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and has been appointed to Gov. Tom Corbett’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. The goal of both commissions is to empower, encourage and support women as they look to achieve their goals in business, education and politics.

“This is the perfect place to talk about women leadership,” Montero said Tuesday.

Montero is a graduate of Marian High School, St. Joseph’s University and Widener Law with a concentration in law and government.

She most recently served as the Northeastern Pennsylvania territory manager for Abbott Laboratories. She was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs during the Gov. Tom Ridge administration, served as the editor of the El Torero Spanish newspaper based in Allentown and is also a founding member of the Power of Women networking initiative.

Montero started her presentation Tuesday talking about important female leaders throughout history, from St. Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette to Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of Pakistan, and Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old education and women’s rights advocate in Pakistan.

“Everything that you do here and now is an inspiration for all women,” Montero said. “Even though we have come hundreds of years from how women have been treated, it is so important that we continue to stick together and advocate for women’s leadership.”

Montero pointed out that there are 20 female members serving on the 2013 Senate, but Pennsylvania is one of five states that has yet to elect a woman to the 100-person governing body.

“Part of my goal with the Pennsylvania Commission for Women is to inspire more women to take on leadership roles,” Montero said.

Montero also talked about a recent effort by the Commission for Women.

In an effort to inspire leadership among women across the Commonwealth, the commission is spearheading the Hannah Callowhill Penn Award. The award recognizes female residents in the state who have been outstanding mentors and role models for women. This is the first year of the award.

Hannah Callowhill Penn was the second wife of Pennsylvania founder William Penn and administered the Province of Pennsylvania for six years after her husband suffered a series of strokes and then for another eight years after her husband’s death. She served as acting proprietor from 1712 until her death in 1726.

Also during the meeting, the club awarded a $500 scholarship to John Williams as he continues his education at the Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing at Schuylkill Health. Williams is a 2010 graduate of Shamokin Area High School.