Archive for June, 2012

Nora Ephron

June 27th, 2012

We are mourning the death of screenwriter, author and NWHM supporter, Nora Ephron. She wrote the scripts for some of the most beloved American romantic comedies, including When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. Most recently, Ephron wrote the screenplay for Julie and Julia. Ephron’s work is witty and populated by three-dimensional characters, flawed yet always genuine. She drew upon her own experience in relationships, turning the excruciating into the wryly funny, exemplified by her novel Heartburn, based on her divorce from Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. Her parts for women have been especially prized by Hollywood’s most talented actresses. Ephron once said, “I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”

The staff of NWHM sends its heartfelt condolences to Ms. Ephron’s family. Her unique voice will be greatly missed.

Silenced: Gender Gap in Election Coverage

June 26th, 2012

According research from 4th Estate, a company that monitors media sources for government agencies and companies, women are significantly under-represented in 2012 election coverage in major media outlets. The research firm analyzed news stories and transcripts in newspapers and television for 6 months and found that men are much more likely than women to be quoted on their subjective insight. This pattern holds true across all major news outlets, as well as on issues specifically concerning women. For example, in front page articles about the 2012 election that mention reproductive rights, men are 4 to 7 times more likely to be cited than women. According to the 4th Estate, “this gender gap undermines the media’s credibility.”

Happy 40th Birthday, Title IX!

June 22nd, 2012

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. — 20 U.S.C. §1681

This short sentence, signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, changed history for American women (and men). It is known as Title IX. An amendment to the education section of Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is commonly believed to apply only to equal opportunities for women in high school and college sports.  But it is meant to prevent all forms of gender discrimination in all schools which receive federal funding.

After its passage, President Nixon charged the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to define the parameters of Title IX. The resulting ten key areas covered by the law are:

  • Educational Access
  • Athletics
  • Career Education
  • Education for Parenting and Pregnant Students
  • Employment
  • Learning Environment
  • Math and Science
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Standardized Testing
  • Technology
  • The legislation was the brainchild of Representatives Edith Green (Oregon), Patsy Mink (Hawaii) and Senator Birch Bayh (Indiana).  While there are still strides to be made in educational equality, here are a few “before and after” statistics about Title IX from Title IX: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education from the National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education (NCWGE):

    • Participation in organized sports by high school girls has increased ten times in 40 years. Involvement of women in collegiate sports has increased six fold.
    • PhDs for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) increased from 11% of the total in 1972 to 40% by 2006.
    • The majority of Bachelors and Masters degrees are now earned by women.

    To learn more about Title IX, including criticisms, triumphs and the work that still needs to be done, we highly recommend the following two articles:

    Title IX: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education

    Faces of Title IX

    National Women’s History Museum Selects Texas Social Activist Carey C. Shuart To Serve As Interim Chair

    June 15th, 2012


    Media Contact:

    Jan Du Plain – 202-486-7004



    WASHINGTON, DC –June 13, 2012- The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) today announced that it has selected Texas social activist Carey C. Shuart to serve as Interim Chair of the NWHM’s Board of Directors.  A Houston resident, Shuart is Co-Founder of the Women’s Archive and Research Center at the University of Houston and is a Partner in Shuart Farms at Eagle Lake, Texas.

    Shuart has served as a board member of NWHM for the past year and is a Patron of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Houston.  She also founded and served as President of the Friends of Women’s Studies Advisory Board for a number of years and was awarded the Chair’s Award from the University of Houston Alumni Association for her many volunteer contributions to the university.  Shuart’s selection was made at the June 5 meeting of the Board of Directors in Washington, DC. Read the rest of this entry »

    NWHM Conducts Focus Groups at National History Day

    June 14th, 2012

    NWHM conducted focus groups at National History Day on Sunday, June 10. The focus groups, which took place on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, were intended to gather information regarding the public’s knowledge of women’s history, as well as their feedback about past museum-going experiences.

    The three focus groups consisted of parents, teachers and students respectively and featured a wide distribution of people from various regions of the country. Each group offered very insightful ideas and recommendations that will be helpful to the Museum. The findings from the group sessions will be used to improve the Museum’s capacity to provide educational programs to the public and to create a better museum-going experience for everyone in the future.

    NWHM is deeply grateful to all focus group participants and to facilitators Kathy Baczko, Cheryl Beversdorf and Joan Moser. The Museum thanks Kim Fortney and Cathy Gorn of National History Day, who played key roles in coordinating the sessions.

    National Women’s History Museum Expands Staff And Services

    June 14th, 2012


    Media Contact:

    Jan Du Plain – 202-486-7004


    WASHINGTON, DC – June 14, 2012- The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) today announced it has included two new positions designed to expand its services and outreach. The new positions include a special consultant to advise on online exhibits and education programs and a volunteer coordinator to enhance communications with volunteers nationwide.

    NWHM announced it has hired Kristen Gwinn-Becker, PhD, founder and CEO, HistoryIT of Chicago, as a special consultant to advise the museum about their online exhibits and education programs.  Dr. Gwinn-Becker will also work with the NWHM Scholars Advisory Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

    Elinor Ostrom, first woman to receive Nobel Prize in economics, dies at 78

    June 14th, 2012

    Dr. Elinor Ostrom, a former Indiana University professor who in 2009 became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in economics, died June 12 at a hospital in Bloomington, Indiana. She was 78 and had cancer.

    Dr. Ostrom, who had never formally trained as an economist, taught and worked at the Indiana University for more than 40 years. When she was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize, many of her colleagues in the field were astonished, because the field had long been dominated by men.

    The globe-trotting professor also made major waves through her anthropological fieldwork which included traveling across the Los Angeles water basin and the American Midwest, through Swiss pastures and into the villages of Nepal to gather evidence for a theory that few of her contemporaries believed.

    Her theory postulated that individuals and communities could sustain their own collective resources (water supplies, fisheries, forests, etc.) without the presence of government regulation or private industry.

    “What we have ignored,” she said after her Nobel Prize was announced, “is what citizens can do . . . as opposed to just having someone in Washington or at a far, far distance make a rule.” Dr. Ostrom collected her findings in publications including the book Governing the Commons (1990).

    The National Women’s History Museums honors Dr. Elinor Ostrom for her remarkable achievements and her contributions to the field of economics.


    Washington Post:

    Geena Davis and Kate Walsh join effort for a National Women’s History Museum

    June 14th, 2012

    Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 06/13/2012 The Washington Post

    Geena Davis and Kate Walsh join effort for a National Women’s History Museum

    By Jacqueline Trescott

    Geena Davis (Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images)

    Meryl Streep, the Oscar-winning actress, has been advocating for a National Women’s History Museum for some years. Now she is getting some help from her entertainment colleagues.

    The planning board for the museum, which would be located in Washington, has enlisted some red carpet names to get the word out about their plans. Joining Streep are Geena Davis, Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh, Nora Ephron, Frances Fisher, as well as Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first “Twilight.”

    For her first project with the group Hardwicke has directed a public service announcement called “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t.” In the spots, young girls portray women from history and actress Alfre Woodard supplies the narration.

    The new PSAs range from 15 seconds to 90 seconds. Read the rest of this entry »

    Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Newsman Sam Donaldson Speak at NWHM Event

    June 14th, 2012

    The lovely McLean, Virginia home of Lynne and Greg O’Brien was the setting for a NWHM event last night with special guests former ABC news anchor Sam Donaldson and Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Co-hosted by Linda and Joe Jenckes and Charlotte and Bob Kettler, the get-together was a chance for about ninety guests to get to know NWHM over a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres on a perfectly warm and breezy evening.

    Sam Donaldson spoke briefly about witnessing the rise of women in the news media over his forty-five-year career. While the first African-American reporters were hired in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that women were given a chance to pursue on-air reporting careers. Reporters such as Jessica Savitch, Kathleen Sullivan and Ann Compton and a tenacious Barbara Walters worked their way from “the ground up”. Donaldson spoke highly of the skill and professionalism of women such as Diane Sawyer and Cokie Roberts. He amused guests with the story that Katie Couric claims he jumped up on a desk and sang “KKKatie, Beautiful  Katie” to her when she was a script girl. He praised the fact that now half of the on-air news personalities are women. In addition, he said that he tells his male journalism students that they must work twice as hard to match the quality and drive of today’s aspiring female reporters. In closing, Donaldson lent his support to the goal of building the National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi -25 Years of Public Service!

    June 13th, 2012

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi & MSNBC host Racel Maddow

    NWHM partnered with Sewall-Belmont House & Museum on June 6 to celebrate The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader, for her 25 years of public service. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was host of a conversation with Leader Pelosi about her experiences and achievements over her notable career to date.

    More than 200 guests attending the event on the garden terrace of the Sewall Belmont House on Capitol Hill were treated to an afternoon of insights and stories about the House Minority Leader’s life. One such anecdote was that she’d initially planned to be in Congress for only ten years, but compelling new issues kept her where she was. Read the rest of this entry »