League of Women Voters member Barbara Thomas has a message for women: Get involved and take part in the political process. Thomas was spreading that message Sunday at the Gideon Putnam Resort during One Woman. One World — an event celebrating International Women’s Day.
“You can make your voice heard by getting involved and voting,” she said. “Our philosophy is that government belongs to us and we can make a difference.”
Roughly 100 people attended the event, which featured successful authors, businesswoman and women entrepreneurs.
Though U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and N.Y. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul were both expected at the event, neither was in attendance due to other obligations. Saratoga Springs Mayor JoAnne Yepsen read a prepared message from Hochul: “Each of us can make an enormous difference when it comes to women’s equality and justice for all. That is why I answered the call to public service. Now working alongside Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo we are elevating women’s issues in New York like never before.”
Yepsen told The Daily Gazette she was thrilled to host the event in Saratoga Springs, noting it had been held in Albany for the last several years.
“I have been a part of the event for the last few years but it is very special to have it at this great venue and in my own city,” she said.
Yepsen added that the event is important for women all across the world because they have similar issues and it helps to discuss them with each other.
“There are so many woman out there going through the same issues,” she said. “Whether it is in the public eye or in the business world, we all have a lot in common and it is great to be able to get together and share that during a time like this.”
Yepsen said she regularly speaks with other women mayors in the region, oftentimes to either lend or receive advice.
“I have developed a great relationship with women mayors,” she said. “It can be tough for us sometimes so it is great to have some people to lean on and understand the problems that they have on a day-to-day basis.”
Before speaking at the event, Karen Flewelling, author of “Drilling for Hope,” said she was humbled to be around so many accomplished women.
“I look around and think I have to pick it up, there are so many women here doing so many great things,” she said, adding that she is leaving for Madagascar help its residents in a few days. “I just want to tell people about how I got here and where I want to go and hopefully people find inspiration in that.”
After attending Sunday’s event, Mary Buszuwski, of Saratoga Springs, said she will start reading and analyzing the news with a more critical eye.
“Some of the things I have learned are pretty useful,” she said. “I think I need to start reading and take things with a grain of salt before I automatically believe them to be true. I think that by doing that women can become more empowered, one by one.”