Women’s History Month, observed every March, is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually since 1987. The 2023 theme, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Stories,” highlights women who have used their voice and creativity to share stories that educate, inspire and entertain individuals.
In honor and recognition of Women’s History Month, we are sharing a few stories of amazing women leaders throughout Fairfax County, as well as events in March that highlight compelling stories about women’s contributions to society.
A Few of the Amazing Women Working for Fairfax County
- In 1965, Edwyna Wingo was a field nurse, working clinics and providing health services to students at three elementary schools for the Health Department. Today, she serves the Health Department as a coordinator of the Virginia Department of Health’s car seat program that supplies seats to families in need. Read more.
- In 2020, Captain Felicia Barnes became the first African American female safety officer in the history of the Fire and Rescue Department. Read more.
- After serving nearly 15 years with the Fire and Rescue Department, Philippa Durham was promoted to battalion chief in August. She is the first female battalion chief assigned to the Fourth Battalion — one of the busiest in the county. Read more.
- Master Technician Alison Jaquays, known to co-workers as AJ, has served as a firefighter and paramedic with Fairfax County for more than 20 years. A remarkable achievement considering that growing up, Alison did not consider a career in the fire and rescue service and didn’t have any family members in public safety. Read more.
- Data Analyst II Jessica LeBlanc has been with the Fire and Rescue Department since 2018. Previously, she served as a crime analyst for the Police Department for 14years. Read more.
- Deputy Chief Tracey Reed has served as a firefighter and paramedic with the Fire and Rescue Department for almost 17 years. She is the highest-ranking female officer within the department. Read more.
- Technician Alyssa Vance is currently assigned to the Fire and Rescue Department’s recruiting station. She has served as a firefighter and paramedic with the department for over 16 years. Read more.
- Learn about some of the key women who've influenced our heath and human services system, including our Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. Read more.
Fairfax County Event Highlights
- Beyond the Tenth Muse: “Exceptional” Early American Women Poets and What They Had to Say About That
Join George Mason University Associate Professor of English Tamara Harvey for a discussion on early American women poets.
Monday, March 6, 7-8 p.m.
Pohick Regional Library
- Local Author Donna Brand: Amazing Women of Arlington
Hear from local author Donna Brand and learn about the amazing women buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Monday, March 6, 7-8:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry Library
- Finding Our Voice – The Vote
Listen to a virtual panel discussion exploring American women's journey to earn the right to vote.
Wednesday, March 8, 7-8 p.m.
- Create Women's Stories in Silhouette
Explore the art of silhouette through collage, mixed media and women's history in a craft program for kids.
Saturday, March 11, 1-3 p.m.
- Women of Walney Walking Tour
From the Brown family in the 1740s to Ellanor C. Lawrence in the 1970s, women have defined park cultural and natural history. Hike around Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, learning about the women whose lives and work helped shape our land. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
March 12, 3-4 p.m.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
- “Makin’ Cake” with Dasha Kelly Hamilton
“Makin’ Cake” slices into American history exploring race, culture and class in a refreshing and fun way. It is storytelling in layers and filled with aha moments, poignant vignettes, digital media and an onstage backer.
Saturday, March 18, 6-7:30 p.m.
The Alden Theatre
- Women of the Mill — Emma Millard
For this 19th century woman, the work was never done. Visit the mill and the miller’s house for a discussion of how Emma Millard raised 16 children, ran a large rural household and was bookkeeper owner of Colvin Run Mill.
Saturday, March 18, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 23, 7-8:30 p.m.
Colvin Run Mill
- Colvin Run Book Club: “Pride and Prejudice”
Join us for good books, great discussions and delicious treats. The third Tuesday of each month, we’ll meet to discuss a different book connected to Colvin Run Mill’s history.
Tuesday, March 21, 7-8:30 p.m.
Colvin Run Mill
- The Women of Historic Huntley
A society matron, an enslaved wife and mother, a farmer’s daughter, a military wife; Historic Huntley has been home to some interesting women and has seen the lives of women change dramatically since the house was built in 1825. See Huntley from a refreshingly different view as we stroll the house and grounds.
Monday, April 24, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Colvin Run Mill
County Magazine Highlights Women's History Month
On the March edition of County Magazine, host Bryan Ashby talks to Phylicia Woods, chair of Virginia's Fairfax County Commission for Women, about Women's History Month. The episode highlights the struggles women faced to gain the right to vote and emphasizes the need to continue to support equal rights today.
The March episode also covers the dedication of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, which honors the women who fought for the right to vote. The memorial is the only one in the country that recognizes all suffragists who fought for women's right to vote from 1848 to 1920.
In addition, the program includes a segment about medical services from the Domestic Violence Action Center. Plus, Food for Others.
“County Magazine” is produced by Fairfax County Government Cable Channel 16, which can be viewed on Cox Cable on channel 1016 (HD) and channel 16 (SD); Verizon Fios channel 16 (SD); Comcast channel 16 (SD); via digital TV with QAM tuner on channel 34-16; as well as live online.
Past episodes of “County Magazine” can be viewed on the county’s YouTube channel as they are published each month; be sure to subscribe for notifications. Past programs are also available via a County Magazine Playlist.