Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The White House Project

In 1870, Esther Morris was named the first female Justice of the Peace in Wyoming and in 2009, Sonia Sotomayor was named the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Almost 140 years separate these two milestones -140 years is too long in our opinion here at The White House Project.

Is it surprising that it took 140 years for Morris’ inspiring example and accomplishment to catch on? Unfortunately, it’s not surprising at all - The White House Project Report: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership finds that although women currently make up almost half of JD recipients, “at the very top of the legal sector, women have made no progress at all in the last 15 years.” Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court marks an astonishing and impressive step for women in the legal sector - one that, given the research, is unfortunately not yet being mirrored at large.

National Women's History Museum Notes:

Mission Statement: The National Women's History Museum affirms the value of knowing Women's History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future.

Dr. Einor Ostrom is a woman whose thoughts led her to one of the most prestigious awards in the world–the Nobel Prize winner. In 2009 Ostrom became the first female to win a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences – a category that has existed for over 40 years."

Born,1860: Henrietta Szold - educator, author, social worker, founder of Hadassah, rescuer of Jewish children from the Nazis

Born,1829: Jane Cunningham Croly - journalist, clubwoman, was the driving force behind the American club women's movement. She was the founder of the General Federation of Women's Clubs.  These clubs helped pass suffrage but also were part of the greatest period of social reform in our Nation's history....the Progressive Era 1890-1920...sanitation, grading of meats, labor law reform, child labor laws, the library system, the National Parks System...just to name some of the important advances in our society.(Ann E W Stone)

Born,1807: Phoebe Worrall Palmer - religious writer, evangelist: Holiness movement, she conducted regular women’s home prayer meetings which gradually became known as the Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness

Born,1860:Deborah Sampson-fought in the American Revolution as Robert Shurtleff, later received a full soldier's pension

Born,1844:Fanny Garrison Villard-pacifist, suffragist, philanthropist;helped establish Barnard & Radcliffe Colleges & Hampton Institute,Virginia

1897:Margaret Chase Smith- 1st woman elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate. Also 1st woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency at a major party's convention (1964 Republican Convention,won by Barry Goldwater).  She was also the lst woman from Maine to hold either position.

1862: Battle of Fredericksburg. Frank Thompson, aide to Colonel Orlando M. Poe,born as Sarah Edmonds (Edmonson or Edmondson). Later worked as a nurse for the US Christian Commission and published a book of Civil War experiences. She was granted a veteran's pension in 1882
Born,1835:Sarah Ingersoll Cooper - educator,speaker at 1893 Columbian Exposition,opened the first free kindergarten west of the Rocky Mountains in San Francisco which became a model, suffragist, treasurer General Federal of Women's Clubs. Her life was so filled with tragedy...her husband committed suicide when he was let go by the IRS and her daughter made several attempts before finally killing both herself and her mother by gas asphyxiation. Yet through it all Sarah pushed on fighting for women's rights and education expansion. What an inspiration.
Born,1863: Annie Jump Cannon astronomer, credited with co-creation of Harvard Classification Scheme,the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures.
Born,1830: Emily Dickinson - a recluse and one of the greatest American poets. Most of her work (over 800 poems) were not published until after her death.
Born,1906:Grace Murray Hopper- Navy admiral, mathematician, computer programmer; wrote COBOL the major computer program that runs the World's government computers adn coined term "bug" for computer programming errors.
Born,1922: Jean Ritchie - singer, folklorist, collected songs from the mountain folk and traced its history, she became known as "The Mother of Folk."
1764: Abigail Smith prolific letter writer married John Adams and later became First Lady Abigail Adams,"Remember the Ladies" she admonished the POTUS!
Born,1830: Belva Lockwood-lawyer, reformer,fought for and won the right for women to argue their cases before the Supreme Court!

1910: Blanche S. Scott became first woman to make a public solo airplane flight ...you have heard of Amelia but bet you never heard of Blanche? 

Born,1834:Abigail Scott Duniway-pioneer, reformer, writer, suffragist-chronicled the fight for suffrage on the West Coast.

1891: Sarah Winnemucca died (Native American leader),. Did you know most if not all Native American tribes were matriarchal? The women owned the land...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Delaware's Alice Paul Leader in Suffrage Movement

Alice Paul becomes involved in the British suffrage movement in 1908 while she is studying in Britain. There she meets Lucy Burns who is also studying in Europe and is involved with British suffrage. Paul returns to the US in 1910 to complete her PhD and joins the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1912. After frustration with not obtaining a Federal Woman’s Suffrage Amendment, most of NAWSA’s attention has shifted to securing voting rights on a state-by-state basis. However, Alice Paul leads the small Congressional Committee of NAWSA, which is focused on passage of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
In 1913, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, along with others, form the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, which evolves into the National Woman’s Party. The National Woman’s Party concentrates exclusively on adding the Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the Constitution. Paul and Burns employ some of the radical tactics they learned from the suffragists in Britain. They campaign against the political party in power on the premise that delays in suffrage are the responsibility of the party in power. And, only when faced with defeat, would the political party be cajoled into promoting suffrage.
As World War I rages in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, campaigns for re-election in 1916 with the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” The National Woman's Party campaigns against him with the slogan, “He kept us out of suffrage.”
After Wilson is re-elected and still refuses to support the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, Alice Paul and the suffragists in the National Woman's Party begin picketing in front of the White House. The protests are particularly controversial because they continue even after the US enters World War I in April 1917. The women protestors, known as the “silent sentinels”, demonstrate peacefully, unlike their radical British counterparts. Nonetheless, the women of the National Woman's Party are arrested numerous times beginning in June 1917. Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others are imprisoned at Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. When Paul leads a hunger strike, the women are brutally force-fed. The negative press coverage about the jailing of the women puts additional pressure on President Woodrow Wilson to act. According to the book, Jailed for Freedom by Doris Stevens of the National Woman's Party, more than 500 suffragists are arrested between 1917 and 1919, and 168 women serve time in jail.  http://herstoryscrapbook.com/Intro/Intro.Paul.p2.htm

The New York Times Coverage of the Last Four Years of the Victory for the Vote

The HerStory Scrapbook focuses on the final four years of the women’s suffrage campaign, as reported by The New York Times. From 1917 - 1920, The Times published over 3,000 articles, editorials, and letters about the women who were fighting for, and against, suffrage. The HerStory Scrapbook includes more than 900 of the most interesting pieces, as if someone had saved the original articles from The Times.
Many of the books, written by the suffragists, about the final stages of the suffrage movement focus on either the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) led by Carrie Chapman Catt, or the National Woman's Party founded by Alice Paul. The New York Times reported on both women. And, that makes our understanding so much richer.
For instance, in the fall of 1917, Alice Paul is jailed for picketing for suffrage in front of the White House while Carrie Chapman Catt is campaigning for suffrage in New York State. Many women in New York worry that the White House picketing will turn off male voters before they vote on suffrage. When the women in New York win full suffrage, the number of women eligible to vote in the US nearly doubles. Yet, while Carrie Chapman Catt celebrates the greatest suffrage victory to date, Alice Paul is on a hunger strike in the jail hospital.
After a struggle that spanned more than fifty years, it takes the extraordinary organizational skills of Carrie Chapman Catt and the indefatigable courage of Alice Paul to win suffrage for women across America in time for the 1920 presidential election.  http://herstoryscrapbook.com/

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The Address is in two parts:
1) Angela Davis on NWSA
Angela Davis talks about the National Women's Studies Association, reflects on its history, and congratulates Beverly Guy-Sheftall for the work she is doing.

2) Angela Davis on Difficult Dialogues
Within the context of the theme of the conference, Davis talks about the positioning women's studies
within academia and its relationship to other academic fields, her past, and her aspirations for the future.


Looks Forward to Feminist Candidate Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling in January

The National Organization for Women congratulates Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for her overwhelming victory in the Democratic primary in the special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat. If Coakley prevails as expected in the Jan. 19 general election, she will be the first woman senator from the state of Massachusetts, and she will double to two the number of women in the state's current 12-member congressional delegation. The NOW Political Action Committee proudly endorsed Coakley in her run.

"As the first woman attorney general in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley has demonstrated commitment and leadership on a wide range of feminist issues," said NOW President and NOW/PAC Chair Terry O'Neill. "Most recently, her vocal opposition to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and its assault on health insurance coverage for abortion care proved that Martha is a force to be reckoned with when women's rights are at stake."
O'Neill pointed to Coakley's other strong credentials: As Attorney General, Coakley investigated and pursued cases related to housing discrimination, disability rights, fair lending, equal marriage, health care disparities, and hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Coakley is the only Attorney General in the country to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. And she successfully advocated for and defended legislation to create and expand buffer zones around reproductive health care facilities to ensure the safety of patients and staff members.
"If elected in January, Martha Coakley will be a real champion for women in the U.S. Senate," said O'Neill. "Following the irreplaceable Ted Kennedy truly is a daunting job, but I am confident that Martha is up to the challenge."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FirstFemale CEO Ellen Kullman has Streamlined DuPont Company

Ellen Kullman learned she would be the 19th top executive at the DuPont Co. in late September 2008, as storied financial institutions were crumbling and American capitalism itself seemed to be under siege.

It was not how the Wilmington native envisioned taking over her hometown company after 20 years of steadily rising through the ranks of management.
"Everything I thought about the possibility of this happening, and everything I thought about what I would want to do in becoming the CEO of this company, I had to set aside," Kullman said in a recent interview at DuPont headquarters in downtown Wilmington. "It was not relevant to the environment. We had to start over. I had to start over my thinking around it."
In the nearly 15 months since Kullman was named as the first woman to lead DuPont, she has helped guide the company through the worst global recession in decades. Kullman, 53, has won praise from the investment community for cutting costs and putting DuPont on a course for growth.
"She will be very focused on efficiency and effectiveness, and that will flow through to the bottom line," said Gene Pisasale, a financial adviser with Wells Fargo Advisors in Greenville who has followed DuPont since the mid-1990s.
Protecting the bottom line, though, has come at a cost: about 4,500 jobs lost across the company, along with thousands of contract workers. Not all support Kullman's choices.
"There was a dire situation, but the reaction to it was shortsighted and counterproductive," said Kenneth Henley, general counsel for the International Brotherhood of DuPont Workers, which represents DuPont employees at sites in five states.
Kullman was born Ellen Jamison, the youngest of four siblings in a close-knit Irish-American family. She grew up in the subdivision of Fairfax Farms off Concord Pike, attending St. Mary Magdalen School and then Tower Hill School.
After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in mechanical engineering, she worked in technical service and sales for Westinghouse, got her MBA from Northwestern University and moved on to General Electric in 1983. DuPont hired her five years later as a marketing manager.(Use the link below to access the rest of the story)
Andrew Eder
Business reporter
The News Journal
E-mail: aeder@delawareonline.com

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ruth Ann Minner, Delaware Governor, 2000-2008

Ruth Ann Minner (January 17, 1935) is an American politician and businesswoman from Milford, in Kent County, Delaware. She is a member of the Democratic Party who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and two terms as the first female Governor of Delaware.

Minner was born Ruth Ann Coverdale, at Slaughter Neck in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware, near Milford. While growing up, she left high school at age 16 to help support her family. Subsequently she married Frank Ingram with whom she had three children: Frank Jr., Wayne and Gary. When she was 32 her husband died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving her a single mother with three children. She earned her GED in 1968 and later attended Delaware Technical & Community College, while working two jobs to support the family. In 1969 she married Roger Minner and together they operated a family towing business, the Roger Minner Wrecker Service. Roger Minner died of cancer in 1991.
Ruth Ann Minner began her political career as a clerk in the Delaware House of Representatives and as a receptionist in the office of Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt. In 1974 she was elected to the State House as a member of the "Watergate Class," a group of newly elected legislators from both parties, who came into office on a "good government" mission and a strong sense of their ability to make significant improvements. Minner rose to become Delaware's most powerful female politician, but she did it in a very conventional way, representing a rural, small town constituency, and building relationships and expertise by working in the legislative process over many years. She served four terms in the State House, from the 1975/1976 session through the 1981/82 session. At various times she served as House Majority Whip and chair of the powerful Bond Bill Committee. She also chaired the Rules Committee. In that role she led several successful reforming efforts, including a change that removed the rule allowing Representatives to table roll call votes. This rule was used to help schedule votes when only the right combinations of Representatives were on the floor.
In 1982 Minner was elected to the Delaware Senate and served there from the 1983/1984 session through the 1991/1992 session. While in the State Senate Minner was noted for her sponsorship of the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Act, a key piece of legislation that protected 30,000 acres (120 km²) of land and created the Delaware Open Space Council. To fund the activities of this Council the General Assembly created the "Twenty-First Century Fund" from the proceeds of a multi-million dollar corporate securities lawsuit. Elected Lieutenant Governor in 1992, she served two terms from January 19, 1993 to January 3, 2001. While in that position she chaired the Minner Commission on Government Reorganization and Effectiveness.
Minner was elected Governor of Delaware in 2000. She had secured the Democratic nomination after her long years in the General Assembly, as Lieutenant Governor and her demonstrated ability to run a campaign by her large statewide victory margins in 1992 and 1996. Minner won easily. As the incumbent Lieutenant Governor Minner took office upon the resignation of Governor Thomas R. Carper on January 3, 2001. She served as the first female President of the Council of State Governments in 2005.
Minner was Delaware’s fourth consecutive two term governor and largely continued the business oriented policies and bipartisan, consensus style begun by her Republican predecessor. She was usually described as a "middle-of-the-road politician, with conservative fiscal views but progressive social policies." As governor, she worked to decrease cancer rates in Delaware, saying she "...was determined to reduce Delaware's high cancer rates. A task force...has created a road map of specific steps necessary...and I am implementing that plan. [One] result has been...the Clean Indoor Air Act, which has reduced cancerous pollutants in Delaware's restaurants, bars, and casinos by more than 90 percent."
Regarding education, she said, "While it might be popular, it is not demanding to set standards that all students can meet right away...Once high standards have been set, the key is to give our students, educators and parents the tools to continuously improve." She supported "giving local schools control of [most] new education dollars...expanding after-school and weekend class programs...and supports reading and math specialists." She opposed vouchers. “In 2005, she signed legislation creating the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) Scholarship program, which enables students who keep their grades up and stay out of trouble to go to college for free in the state of Delaware. She also expanded her education specialist program, which has placed reading specialists in every elementary school, to also include a plan to place math specialists in every Delaware middle school.”
On other issues she was "a firm supporter of a measure that would simply add sexual orientation to the list of characteristics in the Delaware code...that are not allowed to be used as basis for discrimination." She opposed "new gun control legislation," but supported "legislation requiring mandatory trigger locks and gun safety courses in schools." And she said "I do not support additional sites or kinds of gambling...the state should not become any more reliant on this form of revenue."
In her second inaugural address in January 2005, Minner concluded with this description of her philosophy: "for Ruth Ann Minner, farmer, gardener and daughter of a sharecropper, it is simply this: Work hard. Do the right thing. And leave things better than you found them."

Governing Women

There is a reason for the close connection between the words "government" and "governor:" governorships are, in fact, where the power is. Except for the U.S. President, the governors of the 50 states wield more individual influence than any other official.

This correlates with the history of women as elected officials. Tens of thousands have won elections to office from school board to Congress, and many hundreds have won other statewide offices, but only 25-women have been elected as governors.

The first woman to hold statewide office was Laura Eisenhuth, who won her race for North Dakota's state superintendent of schools in 1892 -- before women there had full voting rights. Several western states emulated that, and all except New Mexico granted full voting rights prior to 1920, when the 19th Amendment enfranchised all women. Nowhere, however, did any woman seriously campaign for governor until 1924, when Texas elected Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson and Wyoming elected Nellie Taloe Ross.

Governor Ferguson remains the nation's only female governor elected to non-consecutive terms, as Texans chose her again in 1932. Then there was a long dry spell before Alabama elected Lurleen Wallace in 1966, a surrogate for her husband, segregationist George Wallace. She died in office from cancer in 1968.

Because all three of these women had husbands who preceded them in politics and could build on their husband's who preceded them in politics and could build on their husbands' networks, Connecticut's Ella Grasso sometimes is considered the first "real" female governor. Elected in 1974, she never lost a race in a long political career and moved from Congress to the governorship. Unfortunately, Governor Grasso also succumbed to cancer and died just five weeks after resigning. Her husband, an educator, had stayed so far in the background that when she died, many were surprised that she was married.

The 1976 election brought the nation's only female governor who never married -- Washington scientist Dixy Ray Lee. Washington has gone to elect a second female governor, Christine Gregorie, who currently holds office. It also has women -- Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell -- in both of its U.S. Senate seats, making it the only state thus far to have women in three top jobs.

Arizona set another kind of record in 1998, when women won all of its five statewide offices. Jane Dee Hull was elected governor in her own right in 1998; she previously served as Secretary of State and when the scandal-plagued incumbent resigned in 1997, she became governor. Arizona's attorney general at the time was Janet Napolitano, who went on the governship in 2002 and now heads the Department of Homeland Security. When she left for Washington n 2009, Jan Brewer replaced Governor Napolitano -- giving Arizona three consecutive female governors. It had a fourth in Rose Mofford, who replaced another man forced to resign in 1988, but didn’t to seek election in her own right.

Five other women have served as governors without ever being elected to the position, but the elected women, in chronological order, are: 1924, Nellie Taloe Ross, Wyoming; 1924, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson", Texas; 1966, Lurleen Wallace, Alabama; 1974, Ella Tambussi Grasso, Connecticut; 1976, Dixy Lee Ray, Washington; 1983, Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky; 1984Madeline M. Kunin, Vermont; 1986, Kay A. Orr, Nebraska; 1920, Joan Finney, Kansas; 1990, Barbara Roberts, Oregon; 1990, Ann Richards, Texas; 1994, Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey; 1996, Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire; 1998, Jane Dee Hull, Arizona; 2000, Ruth Ann Minner, Delaware; 2000, Judy Martz, Montana; 2002, Linda Lingle, Hawaii; 2002, Jenifer Granholm, Michigan; 2002, Janet Napolitano, Arizona; 2002, Kathleen Sibelius, Kansas; 2003, Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana; 2004, Christine Gregoire, Washington[ 2006, Sarah Palin, Alaska; 2006, Jodi Rell, Connecticut; and 2008, Bev Perdue, North Carolina.

At least three women have announced their candidacy for governorships next year. Florida CFO Alex Sink is the likely Democratic nominee there, while Democratic Lieutenant Governor Dian Denish is aiming at the top job in New Mexico. U.S. Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson, A Republican, is running in Texas: if she wins, she will bhe state's third female governor, following Ferguson (who was elected in both 1924 and 1932) and Ann Richards, who won in 1990.

More women probably will be candidates in 2010, but even if they all win, the likelihood is that the majority of states will not pass the milestone of electing a female governor. Because several states have chosen women more than once, a majority has yet to set this precedent. It would be nice to think that all will have done so by 2024 -- the 100th anniversary of the first -- but that is a more fifteen years away.

(NWHM consultant Dore Weaterford is wring Women & Polirtics for Congressional Quarterlhy Press, to be published in 2011.  This is a summary of the chapters on governors.; http://www.nwhm.org/)

Nellie Tayloe Ross,Governor, First Woman Appointed to Major Office

Nellie Tayloe Ross (Nov. 29, 1976) was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, a longtime "jumping-off-place" for wagon trains, and she benefited from the strong heritage of Western women.  She accompanied her attorney husband to Cheyenne as a bride in 1902 and live a conventional life until his dealth in 1924.  He was then in the middle of a term as governor, and she was elected to fill the two remaining years until the next scheduled gubernatiorial election.  On Jan. 5, 1925, the nation had its first female governor. She served until January of 1927, having lost the 1926 election.  She did not give up on a political career, however, and moved to the East Coast to work for the national Democratic Party. When Franklin Roosevelt won his landslide in 1932, he became the first President to appoint women to major offices.  Quick to reward Ross for her loyalty, he appointed her director of the U.S. Mint within weeks of his inauguration.
The first woman to serve in this position, she found a demoralized staff and a meager budget, but went on to skillfully administer the office.  After overcoming the problems of the Great Depression, she dealt with those of World War II, including a servere paper shortage and Nazi attempts to counterfeit money. After 20 years as director of the Mint, Ross retired in 1953.
She was the first American woman to have her image struck on a medal made by the Mint and is also honored on the cornerstone of the famous Fort Knox Bullion Depository, which was built under her leadership.  Although she is usually remembered for her governorship of Wyoming, Nellie Tayloe Ross actually spent most of her life in Washngton.  Nellie Tayloe Ross lived on to 101, seemingly an anachronism to the publlic.  Her death in the same year as Elvis Presley's was little noted. (Source National Women's History Museum, www.nwhm.org)