Mayor Menino, AG Coakley Dedicate Swan Boats Historic Marker in Honor of Women's Equality Day
Event Commemorates 91st Anniversary of Women's Suffrage; New Boston Women's Heritage Trail Map Announced
View photos from today's event:
"We are pleased to honor all of the women who fought and made sacrifices to facilitate the passage of the 19 th amendment," said Attorney General Coakley. "Today, we also honor the women of the Paget family, whose perseverance has helped keep the Swan Boats, a Boston treasure, afloat for more than 130 years."
"Boston is a city of rich history and this is a great opportunity to learn about the important and historical contributions made by women in our city. Today I am proud to be here to mark the historic significance of the Boston Swan Boats and the contributions of the Paget family, who have worked for so many years to preserve this special place in Boston," Mayor Menino said. "It's great to be here with so many accomplished women to celebrate the 91 st anniversary of women getting the right to vote."
Women's Equality Day commemorates August 26, 1920, the day on which women won the right to vote. Today's event honored the Paget Family, founders of the Boston Swan Boats, by recognizing the historical significance of the Swan Boats at their location in the Public Garden, a historic Boston landmark. Julia Paget ran the Swan Boats from 1878 to the early 1900s and overcame significant obstacles in order to be granted permission to run a woman-owned business at that time.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Attorney General Martha Coakley spoke at the event, which was co-chaired by the Women's Suffrage Celebration Committee, Boston Women's Heritage Trail, Boston Women's Commission, and Boston Parks and Recreation Department.
Sue Goganian, President of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail, announced a new walking trail 'HerStory' map featuring 30 historical sites related to the achievements of women in Boston. This new map includes sites such as the Swan Boats and the Boston Women's Memorial, which celebrates three significant, progressive-thinking women contributors to Boston's history - Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley.
Lyn Paget, whose family has owned the Swan Boats from its inception in 1877, spoke about the obstacles that Julia Paget had to overcome after her husband, Robert Paget, died a year after founding the business. As a woman, Julia faced significant impediments to assume management of the enterprise and for many years had to gather signatures from local business owners to prove her ability to run the business.
After the speaking program, honorees participated in a ceremonial photo opportunity to recognize a new marker celebrating the Swan Boats as an integral feature of the Public Garden. Attendees were then invited to use the new 'HerStory' map and take the short walk to the Boston Women's Memorial on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, where members of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail recalled the contributions and historical significance of the women portrayed at the Memorial. The Boston Women's Commission worked with the Boston Women's Heritage Trail to lead the efforts of many people and organizations to create the Boston Women's Memorial between Fairfield and Gloucester Streets.
The Boston Women's Commission provides information, advocacy and technical assistance to women in the City of Boston. Among the priorities that the Commission focuses on are economic opportunity, child and family care, health and safety concerns, and promoting educational programs for girls to experience a full range of life options. The Commission also serves as a liaison between the City of Boston and individuals and organizations on public policy.
Last year on August 26, AG Coakley joined women's and civil rights groups from around the state to honor the 90 th anniversary of women's suffrage by forming the Women's Suffrage Celebration Committee (WSCC). The WSCC tasked itself with initiating a statewide effort to provide educational opportunities designed to engage young people in opportunities to learn about the historic anniversary of women's suffrage. In the past year, the WSCC has held a Citizenship in Action contest, put together a comprehensive list of educational resources relating to women's rights, and held a screening of Iron Jawed Angels, which tells the story of a group of young women activists in 1912 as they struggle to earn the constitutional right to vote. For more information, visit www.mass.gov/ago/womensequality.