Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pennsylvania Commission for Women’s new Hannah Callowhill Penn Awards

Did you know that Pennsylvania was in the forefront of the women’s movement long before Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and other activists clamored for women’s rights in the 19th century?

In fact, the colony of Pennsylvania was ruled with an even hand by a woman for 14 years in the beginning of the 18th century. It was Hannah Callowhill Penn, the second wife of William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   Hannah was 28 years younger than her husband and after he was incapacitated by a stroke in 1712, she ruled the colony until her own death in 1726.

Long ignored by history books, Hannah Callowhill Penn is finally getting some recognition, and it’s about time. The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, of which I am chair, is partnering with the Office of the First Lady Susan Corbett to present a new award named after Hannah Penn.

UnitedHealthcare is proud to be the co-sponsor of the inaugural Hannah Penn Leadership Awards.  Our corporate culture, dedicated to fairness and opportunities for advancement of women at all levels, mirrors the values Hannah Penn lived. We look forward to recognizing those who serve as role models, resources and sources of inspiration to the women of The Commonwealth. 

We are also delighted to be involved with Pennsylvania’s First Lady, Susan Corbett, who has a long and distinguished record of community service in many areas, including the arts, parks, children, tourism and economic development.  Her husband,

Governor Tom Corbett, is an advocate of women’s leadership as evidenced by the key leadership roles women hold in his administration.

The Hannah Penn Awards will be given yearly to three Pennsylvania women who have made outstanding contributions through mentoring of other women. We created the award to inspire leadership among women across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by proactively highlighting innovative approaches to mentoring. The recipient of the recognition is intended to be a role model, inspiration, and resource for women and organizations serving women. We will present awards in three categories: Business Leadership, Civic & Volunteer Leadership and Rising Star for women between the ages of 16-29 years old.

The Hannah Penn Award was announced on “Hannah Callowhill Penn Day” in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 12, 2013. The Pennsylvania Commission for Women will publicize the award and seek nominations throughout the calendar year in conjunction with a campaign to promote awareness of Hannah Penn’s leadership.  

Applications will be accepted through December, 31, 2013. We’ll give out the first Hannah Penn Awards in March 2014 at the Commission’s first annual Finding Common Ground Conference in Harrisburg.  Nominations may be made by organizations, businesses and individuals. More information about the Hannah Penn Award and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women can be found at www.pa.gov/commissionforwomen.

I urge both men and women to start thinking about the women they know who have really made a difference in the careers and lives of other women. We can honor the memory of Hannah Penn by honoring those women today who are following in her footsteps as leaders and pathfinders.

Susan Corbett announcing the Hannah Penn Award as
Governor Corbett and Sue Schick stand by her side.

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