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Missouri’s Female Senators Write Book to Inspire Young Readers

March 31, 2022

A new book titled “You Can, Too!” recently was created by female members of the Missouri Senate to encourage childhood literacy and inspire young readers.

In addition, the MIssouri General Assembly purchased enough copies of the book for every fourth grade classroom in the state. Sen. Doug Beck delivered the books to Superintendent Dr. Tony Lake on Monday, March 14.

Women first served in the Missouri General Assembly in 1923, shortly after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which established a woman’s right to vote in the United States. That same year, two women were seated in the House of Representatives. Missouri’s first woman state senator was elected in 1972. Today, Missouri’s 34-member Senate is nearly one-third female, with 11 women currently serving, the largest number in the chamber’s history.

In 2021, those 11 female senators came together to leave a lasting, positive legacy in Missouri. Driven by a desire that all Missouri children can read, they created a book with profiles of all 36 women who have served in the State Senate. The book is intended to inspire girls to follow their passions, while instilling confidence to overcome hurdles and become their best selves.

“In the history of Missouri, there have been 1,118 male senators. There have only been 36 women,” said Sen. Jeanie Riddle, who represents six central-Missouri counties in the Senate. “We come from different backgrounds and experiences, but we have one thing in common. We are part of a sisterhood of state legislators. We hope our stories will inspire young readers and provide an example of the many opportunities that await them.”

The book features profiles of every past and present female Missouri senator and describes each woman’s path to elected office. Copies of the book will be provided to fourth grade classrooms throughout Missouri, and will also be sent to libraries, pediatricians’ offices and other places where young readers are likely to read.

This book also has a unique connection to Lindbergh, as former Board of Education president Anita Yeckel is featured on page 47. Yeckel was elected to the board in 1990. She served the district for nine years, including terms as president and vice president. Senator Yeckel also served South St. Louis County’s 1st Senate District from 1997-2005.

“Our first goal with this project was to encourage children to read, but we also wanted to inspire young readers, especially girls, to aspire to great things,” said Sen. Jill Schupp. “We don’t expect every girl who reads this book will want to become a state senator, but we hope they’ll see there is a world of opportunities waiting for them.”