USA: In conjunction with National Women’s History Month, the National Women’s Hall of Fame has announced the upcoming Induction of nine American women who have made valuable and enduring contributions to the American nation.
These women will be formally inducted during a ceremony on 12 October, 2013, in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American Women’s Rights Movement.
Founded in 1969, the National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s oldest membership organisation recognising the achievements of great American women. Inductees are selected every other year based on their lasting contributions to society through the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy and science. From a group of over 100 completed nominations, an independent national panel of judges conducted a rigorous scoring process and selected nine women for Induction.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees are:
Betty Ford (1918–2011) – A groundbreaking First Lady, Betty Ford is often remembered for her candor in addressing the controversial issues of her time. Shortly after she became the First Lady of the United States in 1974, Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. Rather than suppressing the diagnosis, Ford courageously shared her story and inspired countless women across the nation to get breast cancer examinations.
In 1978, following a family intervention, Ford underwent successful treatment for addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. She again used her story to raise public awareness of addiction, and in 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center to treat victims of alcohol and chemical dependency.
Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal, with President Gerald R. Ford, in 1999.
Ina May Gaskin (1940– ) – A certified professional midwife who has attended more than 1,200 births, Ina May Gaskin is known as the “mother of authentic midwifery”. In 1971, Gaskin founded the Farm Midwifery Center in rural Tennessee and effectively demonstrated that home birth midwives could be well prepared for their profession without first being educated as obstetric nurses.
During a stay in Guatemala in 1976, Gaskin learned a technique for preventing and resolving shoulder dystocia during birth. After using the method with great success, Gaskin and began to teach it and publish articles about the method. Now referred to as the Gaskin manoeuvre, it is the first obstetrical manoeuvre to be named after a midwife.
Gaskin is the author of four books, including Spiritual Midwifery (1975), the first text written by a midwife published in the United States.
Julie Krone (pictured, 1963– ) – With more than 3,700 career wins, Julie Krone is the leading female Thoroughbred horseracing jockey of all time.
Krone made history in 1993 when she became the first woman to win a Triple Crown event at the Belmont Stakes. In 2003, she went on to become the first woman to win a Breeders’ Cup event at the Juvenile Fillies and the first woman to win a million dollar event at the Pacific Classic.
Krone initially retired from horseracing in 1999 and became a commentator and analyst for the TVG racing network, but returned to the sport in 2002, retiring for a second time in 2004.
Krone was named ESPN’s 1993 Professional Female Athlete of the Year, and in 2000, she became the first woman inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.
Kate Millett (1934– ) – A feminist activist, writer, visual artist, filmmaker, teacher and human rights advocate, Kate Millett has been described as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century.
Millet began her career as an English instructor and in 1966, became the first Chair of the Education Committee of the newly formed National Organization for Women. In 1968, she authored a pioneering report published by NOW, Token Learning: A Study of Women’s Higher Education in America, in which she challenged women’s colleges to provide an equal education for women.
Millet is perhaps best-known for her landmark work in feminist history, Sexual Politics (1970). She currently serves as the Director of the Millett Center for the Arts, a creative work space that provides artist in residence accommodation and studio facilities to women artists from around the world.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (1940– ) – For twenty-five years, Nancy Pelosi has broken ground for women in politics.
As the representative from California’s 12th district, Pelosi has focused her political career on strengthening America’s middle class and creating jobs, reforming the political system to create clean campaigns and fair elections, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, and ensuring safety in America’s communities, neighborhoods and schools.
In 2002, Pelosi became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United States as the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and from 2007–2011, she served as the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Pelosi has spearheaded the passage of historic legislation, including the Affordable Care Act, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and more.
Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM (1882–1955) – A woman of extraordinary vision and drive, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM founded the Maryknoll Sisters, the first United States-based Catholic congregation of religious women dedicated to a global mission.
While attending Smith College in 1904, Rogers was inspired by graduating Protestant students preparing to leave for missionary work in China, and following her graduation, she returned to Smith and started a mission club for Catholic students (1905).
It was while organising the club that she met Father James A. Walsh, director of Boston’s Office for the Propagation of the Faith, later founder of Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, through whom she was inspired to establish a mission congregation for women. The Maryknoll Sisters were founded in 1912, and by the time of Rogers’ death in 1955, there were 1,065 sisters working in twenty countries and several cities in the United States.
Bernice Resnick Sandler (1928– ) – For more than 40 years, Bernice Resnick Sandler has been a tireless advocate of educational equity for women and girls. In 1970, Sandler filed the first charges of sex discrimination against 250 educational institutions. It was this strategy that led to the first federal investigations of campus sex discrimination at a time when no laws existed to prohibit discrimination based on sex in education.
Subsequently, Sandler was instrumental in the development, passage and implementation of Title IX, the legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. An expert in strategies and policies to prevent and respond to sex discrimination in higher education, Sandler has given more than 2,500 presentations. She currently serves as a Senior Scholar in Residence at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, DC.
Anna Jacobson Schwartz (1915–2012) – Perhaps the most widely acclaimed female research economist of the twentieth century, Anna Jacobson Schwartz has been described as “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars”.
In 1941, after a five-year career with Columbia University’s Social Science Research Council, Schwartz began her more than 70-year tenure working for the National Bureau of Economic Research. During her time at the National Bureau, Schwartz met and began working with Milton Friedman and together, the two coauthored A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960.
Described by Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernake, as “the leading and most persuasive explanation of the worst economic disaster in American history,” the text is one of the most widely cited in economics. Schwartz was also considered a leading financial historian and expert on monetary statistics in the United States and Britain.
Emma Hart Willard (1787–1870) – During her lifetime, Emma Hart Willard blazed an extraordinary trail on behalf of women’s education. A teacher by trade, Willard opened a girls’ school in her home in 1814 and was struck by the contrast between the education she could offer her female students and the education provided to men at nearby Middlebury College.
She crafted A Plan for Improving Female Education, a document in which she advocated equal education for women at the academy level. In 1819, at the encouragement of Governor DeWitt Clinton, Willard opened a school in Waterford, New York which closed shortly afterward due to a lack of funding.
Two years later, she founded Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York (1821), the first school of higher learning for women. The seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in her honor in 1895.
“The 2013 Inductees again represent the spirit of Seneca Falls and the groundbreaking events that inspired the nation and the world. We are grateful for the work of all the women we honour this year as their pioneering achievements have opened doors for so many.
“These great women include those who have pioneered work in economics, treatment of addiction, education, obstetrics, and the political arena. Their efforts impact the lives of both women and men, girls and boys, and provide us with outstanding examples of the importance of perseverance, commitment and the desire for change,” said Beverly Ryder, Co-President of the Board of Directors.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame has inducted 247 women since its inception. This year’s Inductees will join a notable group that includes Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Billie Jean King, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Dr. Sally K. Ride, and Lucille Ball.
“Each class of Inductees becomes part of a singular group of women whose achievements inspire us all. We are thrilled to welcome them to Seneca Falls in October and are particularly appreciative for the support of our Founding Sponsor, ITT Corporation. ITT’s corporate culture of valuing diversity, supporting opportunities for women, and embracing social responsibility is an example of corporate citizenship at its finest. We are deeply honoured to have their support in furthering the Hall’s mission,” said Beth Quillen Thomas, Co-President, Board of Directors.
For more information about the National Women’s Hall of Fame and to make plans to attend Induction Weekend 2013, visit greatwomen.org.