Thursday, March 7, 2024

Local Leaders Celebrate International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and Texas’ First Female Dean of the Senate


AUSTIN, TX –On Thursday, March 7th, Council Member Alison Alter, Assistant City Manager Veronica Briseño, and the women of the Austin City Council marked International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month at City Hall. Over 100 attendees, including representatives from Austin’s state legislative delegation, the Travis County Commissioners Court, Austin ISD, Austin Community College, and the judiciary, joined the female Council majority and ACM Briseño for a ceremony in Council chambers, followed by a reception.

“Annually, we gather with local elected women and our executive and departmental leaders at City Hall to celebrate our achievements and progress. We also reflect on the barriers to gender parity that we’re still fighting and commit to helping one another,” said Council Member Alison Alter. “I am proud that we have a female majority on the Austin City Council, the Travis County Commissioners Court, our local state legislative delegation, the ACC and AISD boards of trustees, and other bodies.”

“At the City, about 6,383 of our employees, including 81 City executives, are women,” said Assistant City Manager Veronica Briseño. “In particular, I'm a proud co-founder of the City's Woman to Woman affinity group…We now have over 400 active members, many of whom attribute the relationships and connections they’ve made to Woman to Woman. When we include, empower, and invest in women, we accomplish so much more as an organization and community.”

Additionally, Council Member Vanessa Fuentes and Mayor Kirk Watson sponsored a proclamation honoring Dean Senator Judith Zaffirini, who was named the first female Dean of the Texas Senate on December 31, 2023. “Dean Zaffirini’s trailblazing accomplishments, work ethic, and relentless tenacity are worth celebrating,” said Council Member Fuentes. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to honor her legacy, which continues to inspire and empower women across our state and country.”

“Succeeding 24 men who have served as Dean of the Texas Senate since 1909 is an important milestone. We rejoice in shattering that ceiling, but are saddened and disappointed it took almost 180 years to do so. Equally important, how long will it take for a second woman to assume the title?” said Dean Senator Judith Zaffirini. “Our progress has been slow, but our pace clearly is quickening. I look forward to the day we no longer have to celebrate women’s ‘firsts,’ thereby giving us more time to celebrate our impact and accomplishments.”

“Gathering with these women has become one of my favorite traditions at City Hall, and it’s especially fitting for us to honor Senator Zaffirini’s historic achievement as part of Women’s History Month,” Council Member Alter added. “The theme of International Women’s Day this year is ‘Invest in women, accelerate progress.’ We know that when more women enter leadership roles, our entire community thrives.”