"LADIES FIRST" PART 1
Everyday little girls dream of becoming something when they grow up.
Thanks to women who've come before them, those dreams can become a reality.
"The fun thing about my career is winning over those people who thought, you know, that you can't do it," said Cindy Dick, Tallahassee's Fire Department's first female chief.
"Hi I'm Cindy Dick, the first female fire chief for the Tallahassee Fire Department."
When it comes to her career, Cindy Dick pushed the door wide open, and left it that way for those coming behind her.
"Because honestly, when I was a young girl that wasn't in my realm of possibilities. It really wasn't presented to me as an option," she said.
But all that changed in 1987, when she suited up in bunker gear, fighting blazes while blazing a trail.
And in 2005 she went down in history. Now she's telling her story.
"I don't know that it sinks in to me more that I'm the first woman fire chief in Tallahassee, or that I'm the fire chief. And sometimes I just walk in here and giggle and go 'Wow I am that person that I was so intimidated by 24 years ago,'" said Dick.
But she doesn't use intimidation or feminine wiles to prove she's boss. She just uses just good ole fashioned hard work.
"The gender, the race, all of that becomes a non issue because you're too busy focusing on what you gotta do," she said.
"Men can think what they want. I'm going to be the best attorney General I can be. And if anybody is worried about me being tough, then they don't know me," said Pam Bondi, Florida's first female Attorney General.
"Hi I'm Pam Bondi and I'm proud to be Florida's first female Attorney General"
After nearly 20 years as a career prosecutor, Pam Bondi got her calling to politics.
"People said it can't be done. First of all, I've never run for any political office and we've never had a female attorney general," said Bondi.
With the nay sayers behind her, she's more concerned about a younger, more impressionable crowd.
"As the first female attorney general you really become a role model to kids and that's a really important thing," she said. "I firmly believe that there aren't any glass ceilings anymore because they were shattered by all of the women that came before us."
"Sometimes I'm sitting on the bench and it's actually surreal. Is this really happening?," said Kathy Garner, the first female and African American County Judge in Gadsden County.
"Hi I'm Kathy Garner and I serve as Gadsden County's first female and African American County Judge."
Kathy Garner's picture will soon hang among the pictures of all white male judges who have served in Gadsden County.
"Women are as competent in professions that they choose to go into"
And that's exactly what she did. "I strive daily to balance compassion with justice," she said.
Every day women are doing jobs that are traditionally thought of as men's jobs. Now not only are they doing those jobs, many of them are running the show.
"Don't ever let anybody take your dream from you. It doesn't matter if you're a woman. Keep focus."
Thousands of women work as career firefighters in the U.S.
As for politics, more than 21 percent of women hold statewide elective executive office, and in legal professions, women make up more than 30 percent of the Florida Bar membership.
"LADIES FIRST" PART 2
March is Women's History Month, but women's history didn't just begin and end with the Women's suffrage movement. There are women in our area who are living legends, and they'll go down in history as some of the many who were the first to accomplish something great.
There was once a time when women stayed home while men went to work. But in that man's world things didn't always go as planned, and there always seemed to be that someone who stepped in and got things back on track. Nowadays, that someone just may be a woman."
"Hi I'm Betsy Barfield and I'm the first female elected to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners."
Betsy Barfield grew up in a home with four brothers. Better to be seen than heard? Not for this Jefferson County native.
"I am willing to stand up," said Barfield.
So when she felt her commissioners weren't participating in a stimulus package group organized by a fellow Tallahassee commissioner, she wasn't afraid to do just that.
"I said 'How's your group coming along. He said great. I said are my people at the table? He said no I haven't seen them' So I got back in my car and I called up the commissioners, and I called up my county coordinator and I said why are we not at the table?"
It was then that Barfield knew she needed to be at that table. She ran for a seat on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, and in 2010 the county elected its first female to the board.
"Do I run into the 'We've always done it this way and this is the boy way to do?' Yeah, absolutely I have," said Barfield.
But Barfield says that voters have spoken and it's a new day. She joins a host of other women making waves in politics, from local on up to the state level.
Women have made major strides in politics. Since 1971 the number of women in state Legislatures has more than quintupled. That's five times more women.
"Both my parents instilled in me that you can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do," said Doris Maloy.
And Doris Maloy wanted do was something no African American woman had done before in Leon County.
"Hi I'm Doris Maloy Leon County tax collector."
She says getting to this point wasn't a cake walk, but when asked to name an instance where trials threatened to stop her, she couldn't name one.
Maybe that's because Maloy doesn't view adversity the way many others do. In fact, what many call obstacles aren't really obstacles to her at all.
"I didn't really look at obstacles as being a stumbling block. You just go to the next level," she said.
And though she's going down in history, Maloy usually doesn't have time to gloat about her achievements.
"I had a cousin who said to me 'I know you don't think a lot about your accomplishment, but it really is a great accomplishment.' And it's not that I don't think about it like that. I look at it as I have a job to do," said Maloy.
This year's theme for women's History Month is "Our History; Our Strength". The beginning of women's history month can be traced as far back to the first International Women's Day in 1911.