The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Raising her voice

Advocate speaks up for women and girls

When women and girls can’t speak for themselves, Mary M. Wiberg gives them a voice.

For more than 25 years, the member of St. John Lutheran Church, Sacramento, Calif., has dealt with gender issues, striving for equitable treatment for women. Her latest work has been with the State of California Commission on the Status of Women, which she has served as executive director since 2001.

Mary W. Wiberg
Mary W. Wiberg
The commission’s primary stated goals are to work in a culturally inclusive manner to promote equality and justice for all women and girls by advocating on their behalf with the governor, legislature and other policymakers.

“My mother was a college professor and was always interested that there was equity for women, so I came to this field quite naturally,” said Wiberg, who also followed her mother’s footsteps for a time as a teacher.

Wiberg’s work changed when she helped the census bureau in her then hometown of Ankeny, Iowa, and learned that the concept of two-parent, two-child homes being the norm wasn’t accurate. She realized that single mothers and teen pregnancy were major issues, even in her small community. The mayor of Ankeny then asked Wiberg to take part in a commission that explained those findings, which led to her consulting on issues of gender equity for career and technical education.

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February issue


Embracing diversity