SPRINGFIELD — Barbara Flynn Currie will be the first recipient of the Woman Legislator of the Year award, which will also be named after her.

Currie, a Democrat, served as majority leader in the Illinois House for 20 years. She was first elected in 1979 and retired last year.

Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, said at a press conference announcing the creation of the award that anyone “under the dome” will tell you that no three letters command more respect in Springfield than Currie’s initials, BFC.

“Throughout her career, Barbara has been the champion of adequate funding public education and creating fair and balanced state budgets,” Mayfield said.

“We wanted to do something to really honor her, and I think it’s important that as women we elevate other women in leadership,” said Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, co-chair of the Illinois House Democratic Women’s Caucus.

The award will be presented at the first Pink Event, hosted by the Illinois House Democratic and Senate Women’s Caucus and the Coalition of Women Legislators. The event is set for 6:30 p.m. March 5 at the Governor’s Mansion.

This is the first official year of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus. Conroy said the biggest focus for the caucus right now is continuing to get more women into leadership roles.

“Once women are in the same playing field as men, we will be able to take care of and alleviate some of the issues that we’ve had in the last couple years,” she said.