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Inspirational women continue to make a difference

Posted on Mar 29, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

Whether it’s International Women’s Day or April’s Earth Month, celebrating the contributions of women and girls around the world and close to home has never been more important.  That’s especially true as Hawai‘i has emerged as a global leader in fighting climate change and creating a healthier, more sustainable planet.

Mrs. Ige and panelists gather for International Women’s Day.

Mrs. Ige and panelists gather for International Women’s Day.

On March 8, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige and Australia’s Consul General Andrea Gleason co-hosted their annual International Women’s Day event — this year featuring strong female leaders in Hawai‘i’s conservation work. Mrs. Ige praised their dedication to protecting our natural resources — whether in government service or nonprofits. “We are increasingly facing existential challenges that require us to work towards a just and inclusive community,” she said. “As an island community, we also have an acute understanding of how climate change will impact all of us in the next decade.”

Alice Augusta Ball was honroed at UH for her pioneering work.

Alice Augusta Ball was honored at UH for her pioneering work.

The past month also provided more opportunities to honor women who have served to inspire others. Whether it’s a queen at Washington Place, a pioneering scientist in Mānoa or a teacher in Kalihi, women have remained strong role models from the past and for the future. Alice Augusta Ball, who made her mark more than 100 years ago, was honored at UH Mānoa in a special ceremony Feb. 28. Ball was UH’s first African-American graduate and the first woman to earn her master’s degree in chemistry in 1915. She was a pioneering scientist who at age 23 discovered a treatment for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) using oil from the Chaulmoogra tree.

Michelle Le Iwasaki is the 2022 Millken winner.

Michelle Le Iwasaki is the 2022 Millken winner.

On the same day, a surprised Michelle Le Iwasaki heard Governor Ige announce her name at an assembly as the recipient of the $25,000 Millken Educator Award for 2021-2022. Iwasaki, a Kalihi Kai Elementary academic coach, was praised for developing long-term solutions to support the students. This included leading the school to partner with the Turnaround Arts national program. “It’s teachers like her all across our state who are inspiring students to be the best they can be,” said Mrs. Ige, a former educator in Hawai‘i’s public school system.


Read more in the April Capitol Connection newsletter.

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