South Dakota Women Making History

March is National Womena��s History Month. This yeara��s theme is a�?Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitmenta��. Here is the story of two inspiring women who have persevered in their careers and are making history in South Dakota.

Amy Varland, Contributing Writer

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Notable women right here in South Dakota are breaking some long-held stereotypes, perceptions, and barriers like equal pay and promotions.

Take for instance Kay Schallenkamp — Schallenkamp is the first female in 120 years to hold the position of President at Black Hills State University.

She says she hopes one day gender is no longer an issue in the workplace.

“I hope that we are judged on what we bring to the table in terms of our credentials, and that our credentials are as compelling as the male’s, and that we are getting the positions based upon what we have accomplished,” says Schallenkamp

Schallenkamp says despite the fact that gender inequality does still exist today, women can do anything, and be anything they aspire to.

“I will tell them to put themselves in positions where they will be noticed, be can-do sorts of people, bring solutions to the table, be supportive, and always exceed expectations,” says Schallenkamp.

Women still have a long way to go in their quest for equality, but opportunities for females have expanded greatly in just the past few decades.

Darla Crown says there are more women in the military now than ever before.

Crown made history as the first female to achieve the position of Chief Warrant Officer 5 with the South Dakota Army National Guard.

She says growing up on a farm near the Badlands contributed to her success.

“I drove trucks and tractors and milked cows and fixed fence and branded calves, so I approached my job with the attitude that I could do anything – based on it didn’t matter what gender I am,” says Crown.

Crown says she wants to be a role model and mentor for other women and help them achieve their goals.

She also says women can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

“Set your goals high, pursue your dreams whatever they may be, get as much education as you can, find role models, ask for mentors and be available as a mentor too, do lots of reading,” says Crown.

There are many other women in South Dakota helping break down barriers that stand in the way of equality and with March being National Women’s History month it’s a perfect time to celebrate these women of character, courage, and commitment.

SD CEO, the women’s business center at Black Hills State University, is co-hosting an event in honor of women for 2014’s National Women’s History Month: “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitmenta�� on Monday, March 17th at the University Center in Rapid City.

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