Why I value the Women’s Democratic League of Frederick County

Who wouldn’t want to join the Women’s Democratic League? Since its mission is to promote Equality, Education of the political process, and participation in the community, it’s surprising the Women’s Democratic League isn’t a more familiar name in Frederick County. The organization has been around for ninety years. Ninety years! That makes it one of (if not THE) oldest continuous democratic organizations in the state of Maryland.


Just think about that for a moment – here in “Fredneck” is the oldest organization in the state that has a charter mission to promote women and equality of rights and representation. As much as women have accomplished in ninety years, I wouldn’t go as far as to declare ‘mission accomplished’ for the WDL. There are still plenty of women’s “firsts” to be accomplished and inequities to be eliminated.

More importantly, there are generations behind us that deserve better. My parents instilled in me an ethic to always leave a place better than when you found it. The WDL is grounded in this ethic. Although ‘firsts’ for women are a necessity, the long term goal should be to leave a broader and clearer path for all the women following behind us.

One of my favorite quotes that encapsulates this ideal is from Maryland’s own U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski:

“Twenty-six years ago, I became the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. I was the first, but I made sure I wasn’t the last.”

Current & Former WDL Presidents: Jane Abrecht, Mary Alice Marks, Lara Roholt Westdorp, Catherine Smith, Florence Schell, Dorothy Ewing

Current & Former WDL Presidents: Jane Abrecht, Mary Alice Marks, Lara Roholt Westdorp, Catherine Smith, Florence Schell, Dorothy Ewing

The impact of leaving a legacy for the next generation hit home for me several years ago when my neighbor, with three daughters, told me she let them stay up late one night a month to watch me chair the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals. She explained that it was important for her daughters to see that everyday women – women her daughters knew personally – held positions of authority in government and the community. This comment was a pivotal moment in my understanding of my role as mother, professional, and a woman in this country.

As a mother of sons I have always shared with them that the equalities they take for granted were only recently made available to American women and are still not available to millions of women around the world. It’s important that as young men they know they share the responsibility, like the fathers and grandfathers who stood shoulder to shoulder with women in the past, to ensure that the rights of access and participation are honored for all Americans.

This mindset and goal is what drives the WDL membership. The truth is that from the first time I met the members of the WDL I knew I was sitting with a room of women who were trailblazers, women who had each pushed societal boundaries and expectations in their own way throughout their lives. These were the generations of women who pushed for so many of the simple rights we take for granted, from opening a checking account or credit card account without your husband’s signature to being allowed to attend the police and military academies to Title IX.

2014 Officers with Julianna Albowicz (representing Sentaor Mikulski)

2014 Officers with Julianna Albowicz (representing Sentaor Mikulski)

For these reasons I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as the current President of the Women’s Democratic League of Frederick County. I share this title with some of Frederick County’s finest champions of women’s rights I have ever had the privilege of knowing. But it’s not just the leadership that continuously amazes me – it’s the diverse and strong-willed members, that ensure our communities and laws continue to move forward toward equality.

As we move forward I believe the WDL has a key role to play in bringing together men and women, of all races and backgrounds, to transform a history of struggles, intolerance, and competition into a legacy of Equality for ALL to be carried forward by the next generations.

With a great history, dynamic mission, and amazing members one could not be anything but THRILLED to join the WDL. Add to this the fact that we are all living through a moment of historical change here in Frederick County as we welcome in the new Charter government. The women of Frederick County are rising to the challenge. These 2014 elections mark the first time women comprise over 50% of the Democratic ticket, eight of which are WDL members.

More information

Women’s Democratic League of Frederick County on the web

Women’s Democratic League of Frederick County on Facebook

To contact the Women’s Democratic League:

Email: WomenDemsLeagueFC@gmail.com

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 104, Monrovia, MD 21770

The Women’s Democratic League’s (WDL) meetings start at 6:30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Meetings are preceded by social time starting at 6:00 p.m.

The next WDL meeting is: April 15, 2014

Mexicali Cantina
467 West Patrick St
Frederick, MD 21701