Archive for April, 2012

Response to Huffington Post Article on 4/12/12

April 13th, 2012

This Education Director position was first posted February 14, 2012 on the American Association of Museums’ website, long before the Huff Po article on 4/8/12.

Thank you to the HuffPo for posting our job opening announcement.

Dr. Robin Lakoff to Speak about “Intersections of Language, Gender and Politics” on April 18th

April 11th, 2012

The National Women’s History Museum and United States Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars invite you to a lecture in the series The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Women’s History. Dr. Robin Lakoff of the University of California at Berkeley will give a lecture entitled: “Language Makes History: Intersections of Language, Gender and Politics” on  Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 4pm-5:30pm at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.  Dr. Lakoff is a professor of Pragmatics and Sociolinguists.

Dr. Lakoff writes: “Language is sometimes compared unfavorably to actions as soft or unreal: “Words are feminine, deeds masculine,” according to one Italian proverb. But this antithesis, however tempting, is deceptive: words and acts go hand in hand. One place where that connection is highly visible is in the change in women’s status in America over the last half century. Read the rest of this entry »

Women in Sports News

April 11th, 2012

As mentioned in an earlier post, spring signals a return to outdoor sports for many Americans. In the past week, two stories about women and sports have caught our eye here at the Museum. First, there is controversy about whether or not to allow women into the Augusta Golf Club, site of this year’s Masters Tournament.  Here is an article about this from

“Corporate executives connected with Augusta National Golf Club ducked the issue of its all-male membership throughout the four-day Masters Tournament that concluded yesterday.”Click here for full article.

This weekend marked an important event for women in sports, the reunion of the “Original Nine” a group of female tennis players who started their own tour in 1970. — Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Peaches Bartkowicz, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville Reid, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Judy Tegart Dalton met on April 6 during the Family Circle Cup, the longest-running tennis tournament for women.  Learn more in this New York Times article:

“In a farmhouse in the village of Durham Lead outside Melbourne, Australia, a single American dollar bill is framed and proudly displayed. Judy Tegart Dalton has kept that dollar for nearly 42 years, one small memento in the great battle for women’s rights.” Click here for full article.

Are you a Daring Dame?

April 10th, 2012

The National Women’s History Museum is pleased to announce the launch of its latest Online Exhibit, “Daring Dames: A Photographic Exhibit.” The rare and inspiring photographs in this exhibit depict women, in many eras, who have demonstrated curiosity about the larger world and remarkable resourcefulness in their ability to navigate in it. These adventurous women have, through their daring, transformed the notion of female identity and the popular perception of acceptable female roles. They have broken through the limitations of social convention to explore and conquer new realms—geographic, physical, mental, and metaphoric.

Donna Henes and Daile Kaplan, co-curators of “Daring Dames” stated, “The exhibition celebrates the spirit of adventure and indefatigable determination of these daring dames to manifest their wildest American dreams. These pioneering women are an inspiration to all of us.”

To view the exhibit, go to

Seeing through the facade

April 9th, 2012

A comment on the Huffington Post article:

“Wow, slow news day? I feel like I need to eat a steak there was so little meat in this story. On one hand you are telling us how other museums have taken 20 or more years to get places “on the mall” and then you end this piece by encouraging donors to ask “Why is it taking so long?” That seem somewhat incongruous. But it is a good question, why is it taking so long.

It is shameful that the contributions of women have not been officially recognized in our nations capital. And I applaud these women for trying to do something about it. It is my understanding that legislation to grant this organization a place on the mall has been introduced several times and yet it goes nowhere. Perhaps we need to gender population of congress to match the gender population of the populous before something gets done about this.

Shame on these two female “reporters” for working so hard to make something out of nothing and in doing so damaging the reputation of an organization that only wants to pay homage to those who came before them. However as they say there is no bad publicity. If you read this “story” and can see past the spin, contact your congressman and tell then that 16 years IS too long to wait and it is time they act now. Grant this gender and this organization the place they deserve.”

-Joe Meyer
(Disclosure: I am the spouse of a NWHM employee)

Statement on Huffington Post Article (4/8/12)

April 9th, 2012

View NWHM’s Official response at

Baseball’s Unsung Heroines

April 9th, 2012

By Cathy Pickles, NWHM staff member

It’s finally spring! Passover and Easter are over and Americans can now begin to celebrate the season in more worldly ways.  For many, this means baseball. Spring training and exhibition games are now in full swing and fans nationwide are poised to spend hours, hot dogs in hand, cheering their team at thousands of diamonds across the country. From Little League to the majors, baseball is a beloved institution. But most Americans know little about the history of women in baseball.

I became interested in this while preparing our April women’s history facts for Facebook. I came across this tidbit: In 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell, a minor leaguer, pitched in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. She struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The next day, the baseball commissioner voided her contract, saying baseball was too strenuous for women. This story is a perfect metaphor for the struggles women have gone through in their fight for equality. What I love most, however, is the photo I found of Jackie. She is clearly just a kid, but her stance, steely gaze and tight-lipped expression are those of a mature, professional player.

Yet Jackie Mitchell is just one of hundreds of female baseball players. The first team at any level to be paid to play baseball was the Dolly Vardens in 1867. They were African American women who began playing a full two years before the first male professional team and did so in corsets, long skirts, long sleeves and high button shoes. After Amelia Bloomer designed her famous Turkish-style pants, women donned them and took to the ball park as “Bloomer Girls” who traveled the country competing against male teams. They earned their living playing solid ball from the 1890s until the early 1930s. Yet, public opinion reflected an entrenched belief that baseball was far too dangerous and strenuous for the “delicate” female constitution.

Inroads were made when female softball leagues were formed. The All-American Girls Softball League was formed in 1943. It eventually became the 600-player-strong All-American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL) which played for twelve seasons. These teams were immortalized in the 1992 film, A League of Their Own, and they finally dispelled the belief that women were too weak to play baseball.

After the AAGBL dissolved in 1954, few women were able to break the gender barrier of America’s Pastime. Toni Stone, Connie Morgan and Mamie “Peanuts” Johnson played alongside men in the Negro Leagues, but significant female representation in the sport has never materialized. In 1998, minor league pitcher Ila Borders became the first woman to win a professional game, but still could not break into the majors and retired two years later.

This is yet another “forgotten” chapter in women’s history which deserves to be more widely-known. If you find yourself in a ballpark this season, don’t forget the girls of summer.

A Museum That’s Still A Gleam in the Eye of Women

April 4th, 2012

A Museum That’s Still A Gleam in the Eye of Women
April 4, 2012 | by Janet Staihar
The Georgetown Dish (

The still-yearned-for actual bricks-and-mortar structure of a National Women’s History Museum in D.C. received moral support as former California Congresswoman Jane Harman, Bermuda’s former premier Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks and other notable women personalities touted the venture at a reception Tuesday night.

Harman encouraged the project as upwards of 100 women gathered at the home of Judith Terra, chairman of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

“I promise you it will happen; how fast it will happen is up to us,” said Harman, the first female top executive for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She said she looks forward to a strong partnership between the center and the museum.

As an example of such a team, Harman pointed to the relatively new partnership between the international center and the Council of Women World Leaders, headed by secretary general Laura A. Liswood.

Museum President Joan Bradley Wages said Congress has before it legislation to build the museum “on the national mall or close to it” and she is hopeful of passage soon.

The museum idea boasts an impressively long list of board members and backers that includes members of Congress, businesspeople and celebrities. Meryl Streep, who this year won the Academy Award for best actress in a leading role for her portrayal of Dame Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, is the national spokeswoman for the museum.

Caribbean social and political trailblazer Gordon-Banks, former premier of Bermuda and Harman’s longtime friend, made a special trip to D.C. to throw her support behind the museum project.  When Gordon-Banks was sworn in as premier in 1997, she became the island’s first female leader and the youngest in its four-century-long status as a British colony.   She also is Terra’s daughter-in-law.

Among those attending were familiar media and political faces including Susan Blumenthal, former U.S. assistant surgeon general; Botswana’s Ambassador to the U.S. Tebelelo Seretse; former D.C. City Councilwoman at-large Carol Schwartz; Mahani Abu Zar, wife of the ambassador of Brunei; Kate Irwin, Coca-Cola’s diplomatic relations representative; museum promoter Jan Du Plain; Eleanor Clift, writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast; Donna Shor, writer for Washington Life magazine; D.C. activist Virginia E. Hayes Williams; and Arts and Humanities Commission member Rhona Friedman.