Peace Corps Celebrates Women's History Month

March 10, 2008

March 2008 Commemorates "Womens Art: Women's Vision"

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2008 Peace Corps recognizes March 2008 as National Womens History Month and recognizes the achievements of women Peace Corps Volunteers, as well as women leaders within the agency who contribute to fulfilling the agencys mission and goals. National Womens History Month is also a national celebration that highlights the achievements of women throughout history, and emphasizes their vital impact on our future.

Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter said, Women make up the majority of the Peace Corps Volunteer population. Their outstanding work and countless contributions will be honored by the Peace Corps this month. Their dedication to service has strengthened Peace Corps and touched the lives of hundreds across the globe.

The United States has been celebrating this commemoration to women since 1987, when Congress passed a resolution declaring March as National Womens History Month. In the Peace Corps, female Peace Corps Volunteers have consistently outnumbered male volunteers for more than 20 years. Currently, 59 percent of the 8,079 Peace Corps Volunteers serving are women.

Womens Art: Womens Vision, this years national theme, recognizes the many accomplishments of women in the creative arts. Women in the creative arts have contributed to the cultural, social, and innovative aspects of the nations history and global image.

Women have shown great leadership and passion in their Peace Corps service. The longest serving Director in Peace Corps history was a woman, Loret Miller Ruppe. Carolyn Payton served as Director from 1977-1978, and returned Volunteer and former Togo Country Director Jody K. Olsen currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.

Other notable female Volunteers in the Peace Corps are: Pamela W. Barnes (Paraguay, 1998-2000), President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Anne Lynam Goddard (Kenya, 1979-1981) President of the Christian Childrens Fund; Maureen Orth (Colombia, 1964-1966) Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The oldest currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer is a female Volunteer, Juliana Lucey, who is 81.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website: www.peacecorps.gov.

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