MARCH IS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Rebecca Kelley

Fri February 28, 2014 12:57pm

Susan B. Anthony, Pearl S. Buck, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Condoleezza Rice, Amelia Earhart, Nora Vargas: just a short list of women who have shaped our world and our community, and whom we celebrate in March for Women’s History Month. Yes, Nora Vargas. Nora Vargas is the epitome of women’s rights and the women’s rights movement, and she is a proud Otay Ranch resident.
Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (Dove.us). “I’ve been blessed to have had strong women mentor me. Ann Hoiberg was the first woman who truly gave me an opportunity. I remember when I was just getting into the workforce. There was a political dinner where Denise Moreno Ducheny was the guest speaker. I wanted to go so badly, but couldn’t afford the dinner ticket. Ann invited me as her guest (for free), and my love for politics started there. Elmy Bermejo also opened my eyes to Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). MANA San Diego was the first board I ever sat on. I am truly grateful that I able to work with beautiful women (inside and out) where we can support each other.”
Women’s participation in the labor force accounts for 57.7% of the working age women population in 2012, compared to 70.2% participation rate for men. (U.S. Department of Labor) And, of the 62 million women 25 years of age and older participating in the labor force last year, 6.7% had less than a high school diploma, 25.3% had a high school diploma no college, 17.5% had some college, 12.7% had an associate’s degree, and 37.8% had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Those statistics are alarming, yet they’re reality.
Nora has called Otay Ranch her home for nearly a decade. Nora was raised in Mexico and came to the South Bay to attend Montgomery High School. She’s bi-national and bicultural. After she graduated high school, Nora continued her education at Southwestern College and finished at the University of San Francisco. She came back to Chula Vista because her mom was sick and she wanted to be here for her.
“I’ve been with Planned Parenthood since 2001. I’m the vice president of community and government relations and serve San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties. This is the most rewarding ‘job’ I’ve ever had. The work I do nurtures my heart and soul. My father always told me to keep your word, be centered, know who you are and lead with authenticity and integrity. I believe that I make the world a better place for others. Mediocrity is not an option.”
“I love Otay Ranch. It’s small enough to have the community feel, while large enough to have the amenities. As a woman, I feel safe in my community.” For additional information how you can be involved to support women, visit www.plannedparenthood.org/pacific-southwest.
Rebecca Kelley is South County regional director of marketing, media and community relations at South Bay YMCA.