On The Front Page!

National Equality March in October
VFA is GOING TO DALLAS March 19, 2010

Friedan’s Headstone Unveiled in Sag Harbor
The Things We Do To Make It Home
Grace Paley: Collected Shorts by Lilly Rivlin
A TIME OF OUR OWN - Elinor Miller Greenberg
SUPER GRANNY by Sally Wendkos Olds
Sexism in America - Barbara Berg
GREEN RAIN by Mary Orovan

HALF THE SKY - Turning Oppression Into Opportunity


On The Front Page!




Questioning gender, confronting fear - Linda Stein
Gender Challenges in Higher Education





National Equality March in October
Stand with the National Equality March in October

No woman will have full equality until all women have full equality, and we must seize every opportunity to ensure equal rights under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The
National Organization for Women has proudly endorsed the National Equality March taking place in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 2009.

If you can make it to Washington, bring your NOW rounds, put on a NOW National Equality March T-shirt and join the NOW delegation in the march. Grassroots activists from chapters around the country are meeting in Farragut Square park at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Please gather at the corner of 17th and K (northeast portion of the park).

If you have questions, Pacific Shore NOW President
Zoe Nicholson is serving as NOW National Equality March Lead and can be reached at Zoe@onlinewithzoe.com

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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR 2009 SUSAN KOPPELMAN Award for Best Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited Book in Feminist Studies in Popular and American Culture

Susan Koppelman: huddis@msn.com

Susan Koppelman, an early feminist activist and a member of VFA, was the first woman to receive the American Culture Association Governing Board Award for Outstanding Contributions to American Culture Studies. The Women's Joint Caucus for the American and Popular Culture Associations honored her by the establishment of the annual Susan Koppelman Award for Best Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited book in Feminist Studies in Popular Culture. The first award was announced in 1985. Susan Koppelman is a feminist literary historian and is the editor of groundbreaking critical collections of American women's short stories. She also edited the first anthology of feminist literary criticism

The Susan Koppelman Award for Best Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited Book in Feminist Studies in Popular and American Culture Call for Nominations is sponsored by the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. Award winners will be announced at the PCA/ACA annual convention at the Renaissance Grand and Suites Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, March 31–April 3, 2010. It will also be posted on the PCA/ACA website at. http://www.h-net.org/~pcaaca/, on other appropriate websites, and in newsletters.

Submissions and Nominations Procedures: Books published in 2009 are eligible for consideration for this year’s awards.

The deadline for receipt of materials to be considered is December 31, 2009.

Please send one copy of nominated books to each of the Award Committee members below:

Jennifer Tebbe-Grossman
Professor of Political Science and American Studies
School of Arts and Sciences
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
179 Longwood Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Daniel Richardson
268 Humboldt Avenue
Roxbury, Massachusetts 02121

Grace Dillon
Associate Professor of English
English Department
P.O. Box 751
Portland State University
Portland, Oregon 97207-0751

Melody Moskowitz
4375 E. Coronado Ridge Lane
Tucson, Arizona 85739

SUSAN’S BOOKS…”The Short Stories of Fannie Hurst "The Strange History of Suzanne laFleshe" and other stories of Women and Fatness, "Women in the Trees:" U.S. Women's Short Stories about Battering and Resistance, 1839-1994 Between Mothers and Daughters: Stories Across a Generation http://www.feministpress.org

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From Mary Ann Beall

Dear Wonderful Women,

Has anyone read the writings of Anna Julia Cooper (featured on the latest Black Heritage postage stamp)? When I looked her up on Widipedia, I was stunned by her life's story - born into slavery in 1850s, in 1892 she published a book called
A Southern Voice: By a Woman from the South. She got her PhD from the Sorbonne at age 65 and is recognized as one of the first Black Feminists. Most of her life she was an educator and rights activist.

Contact Mary Ann Beall: LaPazza@aol.com

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You’re invited to an all day event on
Friday, March 19, 2010

Gender Agendas -Beyond Borders

at the famous Women’s Museum in Dallas

Help to celebrate Texan Pioneer Feminists



Meet Wanda Brice, Director of the Museum, renowned Dallas feminists, including Virginia Whitehill, Maura McNeil, Winnie Wackwitz, Louise Raggio and other activists who fought for women’s rights in Texas during the 1960s and 1970s.

Join Event Chair and VFA Dallas Co-Founder, Dr. Bonnie Wheeler

VFA’s VP of Events and Co-President, Sheila Tobias;
VFA Founder/President, Jacqui Ceballos; VFA's Board Chair, Muriel Fox;
VFA’s Vice President International, Gracia Molina Pick

and VFA board members

for a day and evening of comaraderie during which
we will not only celebrate *Pioneer Texas Feminists but will discuss


image: diana mara henry


If you know aTexas woman who
should be included among our honorees
please email Bonnie Wheeler:

Information will soon be posted on http://www.Dallas2010.vetfems.org

For more information, contact bwheeler@smu.edu.

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Feminists Who Changed America,1963-1975

If you are not included in the much-praised
Feminists Who Changed America,1963-1975 (University of Illinois Press), you can still be included if you active quickly. Barbara Love, the editor, is taking questionnaires for a second edition/supplement.

The second opportunity will only be open for a short time. You deserve to be included in this reference work documenting our contributions. So
CLICK HERE for the questionnaire,

You can Print it, fill it out and send it to Barbara at Pioneer Feminists Project, c/o Barbara Love 82 Deer Hill Ave., Danbury, CT 06810. or fax to: 203-826-9701

The first edition included biographies of over 2,200 second-wave feminists and has sold more than 3,000 copies, many to libraries and universities. This is a project in partnership with Veteran Feminists of America and VFA receives royalties. So do it now and send the questionnaire to your friends and and other activists who improved the lives of women and girls in America.

Contact Barbara Love: bjlove@msn.com

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Each month we're featuring one or two of the great feminists featured in
FEMINISTS WHO CHANGED AMERICA... We hope to get to everyone, but there are over 2000 in the book, and it would take 100 years and none of us will be here! So we're hoping that this rakes up so much interest that each one of you will get your local newspapers to write about you and everyone from your state. This way you'll not only be honoring local heroes of our great ongoing revolution, but it will call attention to VFA's work at documenting and preserving the history of the Second Wave, and encourage younger women to continue where we left off.


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Daniela Gioseffi's feminist awakening began in 1961. As a civil rights intern-journalist in Selma, Alabama at WSLA-TV, she appeared on an all black Gospel television show announcing freedom rides and sit-ins, was arrested, taken to a jailhouse by a deputy sheriff of Montgomery County,and raped. The rapist, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, threatened her with death for her civil rights activism. In 1966, at age 24, she had a second awakening. She almost died in childbirth when her doctor refused to respond to her complaints about a high fever, deciding she had a urinary tract infection. The fever was septicemia, or childbed fever.

Born in 1941 in Orange, New Jersey, Daniela grew up in Newark. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair University, and an MFA on scholarship from The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, C.U.A., Washington, D.C., then toured as an actress in classical dramas with The National Repertory Company out of Washington. She later moved to New York City with her husband and daughter, where she taught Communication Arts and Creative Writing at various institutions in the metropolitan area and gave readings and talks on her feminist poems during the late 60's and early 70's, often with other feminist poets like Audrey Lorde, Alicia Ostriker, and Marge Piercy.

Her writing began appearing in feminist poetry anthologies and in the earliest issues of MS. magazine She joined New Feminist Talent (a feminist speakers bureau founded by Jacqui Ceballos, Jane Field and Dell Williams), and lectured and performed on college campuses and in theatres, around the country, giving many readings to women who identified with the themes in her poems.

She presented a one-woman show titled:
The Birth Dance of Earth: A Celebration of Women and the Earth in Poetry, Music, and Dance, wrote a treatise on The Birth Dance, otherwise known as the belly dance, to explain that the dance of birth and fertility in ancient cultures was an ancient form of Lamaze exercise for preparation of the body for birthing, as well as a dance of life in celebration of the female's magical ability to bring life forth from her womb. The belly rolls of the ancient Mid-Eastern dance represented birth contractions. The so calledť "belly dance"ť had become a form of burlesque women were forced to perform for sexist society. The quintessential female dance of life was originally the female counterpoint to the typical male dance of the hunt and war, but it had been degraded.

In 1980, Daniela's book,
Earth Dancing, Mother Nature's Oldest Rite was published, illustrated with many ancient artifacts to demonstrate how women's rituals had been co-opted by sexist society and turned into burlesque spectacle. Daniela toured the country giving feminist performances in which women would join her in their ancient Dance of Life, which was featured as The New Dance of Liberation in a centerfold of MS. magazine, 1976.

Her book of poetry,
Eggs in the Lake, which celebrated women's freedom and erotic power, won a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts. Her drama The Sea Hag in the Cave of Sleep, an homage to the crone figure of feminine wisdom, was produced at the Cubiculo Theatre in Manhattan and won a multimedia grant award from The New York State Council for the Arts. In 1979, her satiric, feminist novel, The Great American Belly, was published by Doubleday in New York and the New English Library in London, as well as in Serbo-Croation in Zagreb. It told the story of a woman who survives divorce by birth dancing across the country while raising a child alone. Though fiction, it is roughly based on the author's life. In 1979, Daniela toured England speaking on BBC stations from London to Oxford to Brighton on her feminist theories of dance and ancient culture. She later joined a group of feminists in Brooklyn Heights who worship the Goddess principle using dance as ritual.

Published in 1980,
Earth Dancing, Mother Nature's Oldest Rite, was illustrated with many ancient artifacts to demonstrate how women's rituals had been co-opted by sexist society and turned into burlesque spectacles. She authored Women on War in1988, which became a women's studies antiwar classic and won an American Book Award in 1990. Reissued in 2003 by The Feminist Press, it expounds on the devastation of women's lives by war and a militarized economy. It has been translated into German, published in Vienna by a feminist press and been in print for over 25 years.

In 1993, Daniela edited
On Prejudice: A Global Perspective with an introduction on the dynamics of prejudice from sexism to racism to xenophobia. It won a World Peace Award from the Ploughshares Fund and was presented at the United Nations by The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. "It was translated into Japanese and published in Tokyo."

Recently she was given the $1,000 John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry; a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Association of American Educators, and the a N.Y. State Literary Award. Her recent book of poetry is
Blood Autumn, and she just completed a biographical novel on the life of Emily Dickinson. Titled Wild Night, Wild Nights after Dickinson's poem, it dispels myth that has surrounded the iconic American poet, bringing her to light as a full-bodied woman of strong and rebellious intellect.

In 2002, Gioseffi's verse was chosen to be etched in marble on a wall of Penn Station's 7th Ave. Concourse with that of Walt Whitman. She is currently working on a memoir of her life as a feminist activist.

(left: close-up of Penn Station Wall)

E-mail her: daniela@garden.net



The Poet and the Poem, Library of Congress Radio Show

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JULY 2009

This article and picture appeared in the July 1968 issue of The Bent of Tau Beta Pi. I received a Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Women's Badge my Junior year at GWU. If male, I would have become a member but in 1968 they didn't allow women. Instead they gave us badges and printed our pictures in the magazine. A year later, during my Senior year, Tau beta Pi voted to accept, rather than except, women; and I had the pleasure of becoming the first female inductee from GWU. - Note: Tau Beta Pi was founded in 1885. When I earned the Women's Badge in 1968, I became the 573rd women's badge holder in 83 years since Tau Beta Pi's founding. That gives you an idea of how hostile the profession was toward women both at the university and employment
Karen Spindel was a full-time female undergraduate mechanical engineering student at George Washington University in the mid 1960s. In 1969, her senior year, Karen went with her Student Chapter of the Society of Mechanical Engineers on a tour to Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point, MD. When she arrived with her male classmates, Bethlehem Steel personnel prohibited her from touring the plant because she was a woman. They positioned an armed guard in the seat next to her on the bus while the rest of the students toured. In 1968, Karen earned a “women’s badge” from Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, which at that time did not accept women as full members. A year later, when the rules changed, she became the first woman member of Tau Beta Pi from GWU. After her graduation in 1969 Karen faced and fought rampant job discrimination against women, and finally became an engineer for Robins Engineers & Constructors in Totowa, NJ. One of her first assignments was to design overland conveyors for Bethlehem Steel.

In the mid 1970s she organized a protest at the Passaic Public Library, demanding that women be allowed to get library cards in their own names. “Prior to that protest, women had to declare their marital status and use Mrs. followed by their husband’s name on their library cards!”

In 1972 she joined Passaic County NOW, served as membership coordinator for 20 years, and is still active today. She has lectured on the ERA “at any location that would invite us”.

Says Karen, “During my 30 years-plus of activism, I have organized marched and rallied in New Jersey and DC and written enough letters on topics such as equal rights, sex discrimination and gender stereotyping to fill a book.”

Karen lives in Clifton, NJ where she is completing and seeking a publisher for her chronicle of growing up feminist and frustrated in a sexist society. She is also a partner in a clinical quality software company, Database Place LLC which is in its infancy. Karen is the proud mother of two feminist daughters. Samantha, 37, has a masters in counseling and runs an "I can problem solve" program for at risk students in Paterson, NJ. Rachel, 20, is a Junior at Smith College majoring in politics. (September 1986, in Seneca Falls! One of the best gifts I ever received was being honored by daughter Samantha with a page in the Women’s Hall of Fame Book of Lives and Legacies for my 50th Birthday.)

Contact Karen -- kspindel@optonline.net

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My daughter, Michele and I arrived early at the Stockton Country Club café in northern California on August 27th. Michele immediately set up a table with VFA brochures & application blanks, Barbara Love's
Feminists Who Changed America and Merikay McLeod's book, Betrayal, which she'd given to VFA; and a tasteful display of beautiful Gloria Steinem refrigerator magnets we'd converted from pins hoping to sell enough to pay for my trip. And we did. This event was not VFA financed, but a gift from Beverly McCarthy and the San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women, so there was no money for "extras." (right: Jacqui Ceballos and daughter Michele at table)

Beverly, who planned the whole event, was seeing that all ran smoothly. The place was soon buzzing with activity -- women greeting one another, many who hadn't been in touch for years. By noon more than 150 guests had arrived --many African American and Latina women, and quite a few men -- the most diverse representation since our New Orleans event in 2002. Out of town guests were feminist icons Laura X (nee Murra), founder and director of the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape; Mary Stanley, of the California Women's Political Caucus; and Ruth Gottstein, publisher emerta of Volcano Press, which published the first book on domestic violence,
Battered Wives.

Led to the head table I was handed a beautiful program with a huge photo of our medal of honor gracing the cover, and seated next to Ruth Gottstein, who told me of her conversations with Del Martin and her partner, Phyllis Lyon, before Del's death, and gave me copies of Del's books,
Battered Wives and Lesbian/Woman. (left: Mayor Ann Johnston, Jacqui Ceballos, Beverly McCarthy and Ruth Gottstein)

The mayor, Ann Johnston welcomed all warmly and led us through the Pledge of Allegiance. A young soprano, Chantelle Faulks, after telling us that she'd never heard of "I am Woman" before Beverly had asked her to sing it, gave a lovely rendition of Helen Reddy's gift to the feminist movement.

Beverly got up to a round of applause and told the story of the San Joaquin County Status of Women Commission, which she founded and has directed for years, then introduced me. I gave my usual story of VFA with a little added spice. They must have liked it, as they gave me a standing ovation! Laura X later said, "Jacqui gave one of her best energizer bunny speeches."

I think the women were just thrilled to be honored--which confirms my main thesis--that all these great women who'd worked around the clock in the 1970s and 1980s making incredible changes locally and nationally, appreciate a little recognition. Ours was truly a great generation, and of that generation only a few, maybe Betty and Gloria, are recognized and will be remembered. If we want the feminist revolution to continue, we must not let the soldiers who made it happen be forgotten!

Beverly called the names of the honorees, and one by one they came up to be medaled by me. Meanwhile Michele videotaped the event, while my daughter in law, Elinore, and Merikay McLeod took some photos.

After the event many came to thank me. All said they're taking the brochures home to fill in leisurely. Hopefully, they'll join VFA. I'm following up with a note reminding them. It's so important that feminists keep connected, even after many have retired from activity.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND AS TO STOCKTON EVENT - In 1962 I was living in Bogota, Colombia, with my Colombian husband and four children, a "dama de la casa" with time to devote to my great love, singing. Bogota was a small town of one million then, and I met every visiting musician, including a soprano, Aline Eraso, who, with her Colombian husband and 3 year old daughter was visiting in Bogota. We became friends, and for years, after she returned to her home town of Stockton. CA.we exchanged Xmas cards, though our lives went in completely different directions. She was singing with the Stockton Opera Company and I was back in New York working full time in the movement.

In the 1980s when I was now living in New Orleans recuperating from years of heavy feminist activity, Aline visited me with her daughter. At the time my son Denis was also visiting. Guess it was fate. They married and have lived in Stockton for 10 years.
(left: Jacqui Ceballos, Maria Elena Serna, Mayor Ann Johnston)

During the early movement years every town of whatever size had a feminist movement. Were there any feminists in Stockton? I'd asked Aline. "Of course, she said. Beverly McCarthy." So I sent Beverly information about VFA, and she joined. But every time I was in Stockton, she was out of town. Finally, we met by circumstance having Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant. Of course I urged her to have a VFA event to honor Stockton's pioneer feminists. Beverly, who has been president of the local NOW chapter and every year for the past 20 or so has given a Susan B. Anthony celebration, agreed. She had the Status of Women Commission co-sponsor it, sent out a letter to all she knew deserved to honored, and the rest is herstory.

Besides thanking Beverly, we thank all who helped her, including Merikay Mcleod, my daughter, Michele, who, in spite of her busy life, took off to help, and my daughter in law, Elinore Eraso Ceballos, who took off work to help with photographing.
(right: Merikay McLeod)

VFA so appreciates Beverly that we've elected her to the board, along with others who have done above and beyond for VFA in the past two years: Eleanor Pan, Zoe Nicholson, Sally Lunt and Bonnie Wheeler. Eleanor was responsible, with Barbara Love, for the great Florida event in March, Sally Lunt gave a knockout event for
Feminists Who Changed America in Boston last year, Zoe did the same in Los Angeles, and Bonnie Wheeler, who, with Sheila Tobias is planning a major event in Dallas for March 10, 2010.


Comments: Jacqui Ceballos jcvfa@aol.com

Doors have been opened for us through the efforts of others
By Merikay McLeod

I was reminded recently that we’re often so solidly stuck in our oh-so-busy present, we forget how we got here. Such forgetting can rob us blind, and even hurt others.

For example, I vote in local, state and national elections. I work, receive a paycheck and deposit that check in my bank account. I own real estate. All of these things were once denied women, but today they are part of my ordinary life. These and so many other things have come to me as the result of other people’s hard work.

When we forget that doors have been opened for us through the efforts of others, we may fool ourselves into thinking that we opened them ourselves. Or we may traipse blindly through life, thinking we owe no one for all we have.

Such ignorance breeds the arrogance of entitlement.

What reminded me of all this was a luncheon at the Stockton Golf and Country Club August 27, honoring 43 local feminists whose efforts have changed the world in small and large ways.

Sponsored by the San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women and the Veteran Feminists of America, the luncheon was an enthusiastic celebration. More than 150 women and men from throughout the foothills and Central Valley attended.

Jacqui Ceballos, national president of VFA, flew in from Arizona to personally congratulate the feminist activists – some well into their 80s – for making America better.

As each honoree’s name was announced, Ceballos slipped a VFA medal of honor on a red-white-and blue ribbon over her head, and thanked her for her contribution while the audience cheered and applauded.

I was one of the 43 honored. I received my medal for bringing equal pay to a religious publishing house back in the 1970s. Before my lawsuit, women at Pacific Press Publishing Association earned about half what men earned, and they had no opportunity for equal advancement.

As Jacqui Ceballos slipped my medal over my head and thanked me for the effort I had put forth so many years ago, I marveled. My experience back then was one of being ridiculed, criticized, ostracized, shunned and even threatened. There were few thanking me in those far away days. Instead, Most of my colleagues were busy badmouthing and mudslinging in a desperate attempt to distance themselves from the "crazy libber" insisting on equal pay for equal work.

My story is similar to the other 42 honorees’ stories. We each pursued our cause because it was the right thing to do, and because we did not want others to have to live in the world we’d endured.

My husband is a Viet Nam vet and whenever he describes the sick-at-heart feeling of risking all only to be vilified upon returning home, I tell him I know the feeling.

As with veterans of other wars, we women didn’t take on the cause to be thanked, but the VFA ‘thank you’ felt profound.

Whenever I hear radio personalities referring to feminists as Nazis, whenever I hear women repudiating the struggles that have given them lives rich with possibilities, or shrugging carelessly about the rights and privileges they now enjoy, I want to shake them and say "Don’t you realize the sacrifices that have been made on your behalf?" At the VFA luncheon, an entire roomful of people knew well the sacrifices and it felt transforming to be in their presence.

Another foothill feminist – Ruth Gottstein of Volcano in Amador County – received a medal. Gottstein owns Volcano Press. She published the first book in the U.S. addressing domestic violence.

During the luncheon, we told each other our stories – sad, funny, frightening -- and always with the ending that our efforts had made a difference and that difference made the struggle worthwhile.

Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston, who MC’d the event, said the best part of being mayor is seeing the expressions on the faces of young girls who come to her office.

"They say, ‘You mean, I can be mayor?’" she said. "The light of possibility shines from their faces."

For me, the best part of the luncheon was remembering what sisterhood feels like. And remembering that here in America, our rights and responsibilities come to us through the (often hard-fought) efforts of others.

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Betty Friedan’s Headstone Unveiled in Sag Harbor

Friedan’s Headstone, for Friends and Readers, Unveiled in Sag Harbor

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sag Harbor Rabbi Jan Urbach speaks of Friedan’s personal and professional legacy

The front side of the headstone as it is unveiled.

Betty Friedan’s legacy is two fold, said Rabbi Jan Urbach at an unveiling ceremony of Friedan’s headstone on Sunday. Friedan is best known as a feminist writer and activist who pioneered the “second wave” of the women’s movement in the United States, but she was also a mother of three and a close friend to many.

Since Friedan’s passing in 2006, her children, Emily, Daniel and Jonathan, delayed in selecting a headstone to mark their mother’s grave at the Jewish Cemetery in Sag Harbor. Emily explained that the family searched for a balanced design that would resonate with both her family and friends, as well as those who followed her work.

“We wanted to include her identity as a writer,” added Emily. “We were interested in something special and unique.”

In the last few years, New York City-based sculptor Mashiko worked with Jonathan on a concept for the headstone.

“This was definitely a collaboration between myself, Mashiko and Betty’s ghost,” remarked Jonathan at the ceremony.

For Mashiko, the challenge was crafting a design to capture who Friedan was. At the onset of the project, Mashiko bought several copies of Friedan’s writings and read her work as a way to understand Friedan’s personality.

“I wanted to know how her ideas came to her,” said Mashiko of her research.

A view of the headstone from the back.

The end product is a perfect meld of Friedan’s private and professional lives. The front of the headstone is smoothed over and has a slightly rounded left side, giving it the appearance of a closed book. However, the headstone’s side and back are marked with a series of chiseled curved lines that overlap. This part of the stone looks at both times like a collection of waves or a head of long flowing hair.

“She had an endless wave of ideas,” noted Mashiko, pointing to this portion of the headstone after the close of the ceremony.

At this point, an onlooker turned to Mashiko and complemented her work, saying, “It is most appropriate for someone who made waves in the world.”

Before the ceremony, the gray skies threatened rain, but the weather cooperated long enough for Rabbi Urbach to speak of the Jewish tradition of marking a grave. Rabbi Urbach said after the mourning and intensive pain of the loss subsides a physical marker is placed on the grave to continue the deceased’s legacy. She added that the ceremony was meant to “consecrate the monument as an expression of love” and encouraged people to place stones on top of the grave.

Mashiko speaks of the concept behind the headstone’s design.

“[The stones] symbolize the eternity of the soul . . . and that which we can rely on unfailingly,” explained Rabbi Urbach.
Although Friedan has passed, her work as an author and activist lives on. The publication of her book “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963, helped inspire a second wave of feminism in the United States, a movement that increased female social and economic equality with their male counterparts.

“All of us women owe her a debt,” noted Rabbi Urbach, who referenced a time when female Rabbis didn’t exist.

Friedan’s long list of accomplishments illustrates the tenacity with which she lived her life. An engraving on her headstone displays the sentence “And if not now, when?” which is the last line of a famous saying by Hillel, an ancient Jewish religious leader.

Rabbi Urbach recited the saying in its entirety during the ceremony, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

Jonathan said his mother had always loved that phrase.

“She always had a sense of immediacy and the moment,” remembered Jonathan. “She was great at seizing the moment.”

Comments: Jacqui Ceballos: jcvfa@aol.com

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By Catherine Gourley

Reviewed by VFA Member, Joan Michel

Popular culture is one window through which we can learn about the world around us. Thus the conflicting stereotypes of women—and the ways these images both influenced and mirrored the changes in women’s lives over the decades—form a fascinating social history of the twentieth century.

In this exceptional work by author Catherine Gourley you’ll find the images and issues framing perceptions about women through the years. A beautiful telling with charm and erudition, humor and insight, the series (Volume 1: “Gibson Girls and Suffragists”; Volume 2: “Flappers and the New American Woman”; 3: “Rosie and Mrs. America”; 4: “Gidgets and Women Warriors”; 5: “MS. And the Material Girls”) carries us from the end of World War I to the 90s while reminding us how it was in the fight for all the equals we marched and picketed for, wrote about and voted for.

Gourley is an award-winning author and editor of books for young adults, but “IMAGES and ISSUES” more than qualifies for the rest of us. A former editor of Read magazine and a very fine writer, she has written more than 20 books, including several Best Book for Young Adults and an International Honor Book.

The Flappers of the 1920’s cropped their hair, made up their faces and overturned society’s conventions, while other women of the era embraced marriage and motherhood with scientific fervor. "Rosie and Mrs. America" journeys back to examine popular culture during the Great Depression, when the media sent women a clear message: You belong in the home, not in the workplace. “It’s up to the Women” was the title of an article in a 1932 issue of Ladies Home Journal on how women could help restore the country’s prosperity, but more often than not her contribution was finding creative ways to turn tasteless leftovers into an appetizing meal. Ahead to World War II, when it was women sweeping away (well, a few of) the stereotypes and changed (okay, somewhat) the way the world perceived them. With a wonderful use of primary-source information and documentation, with striking pictures, these books are a delight for just plain browsing, great for research and sure to pique readers’ interest in the history of gender in this country.

This marvelous, vivid series would make a terrific gift for the young of all ages from grammar-school grads to 85.

(published by Twenty-First Century Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Groups; www.lernerbooks.com)

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The Things We Do To Make It Home
Beverly Gologorsky

This extraordinary first novel, reminiscent of Steinbeck for its clear, unadorned prose and sheer visceral impact, follows the fate of six couples in the wake of the Vietnam war. It is the story of the men who fought and returned home profoundly altered and the women who strove to create for them a safe haven, yet who could do little more in the end than bear silent witness to their pain. It is a story of deep hungers, the brevity of solace, and the limits of devotion to help those we love.

In 1973, stateside and seemingly whole, Rooster, Frankie, Rod and the others begin getting on with their lives. They buy houses, get married, find jobs. But beneath the surface activity, there's a dangerous fault line that constantly threatens to crack open and shatter everything built upon it.

Twenty years later, Vietnam still permeates every facet of their lives and has spread like an invisible gas to envelop everyone around them.

Brilliantly constructed, told in a voice so original and starkly powerful it sears itself into the reader's consciousness,
The Things We Do To Make It Home is destined to be among the most important novels ever written about the legacy of Vietnam.

Beverly Gologorsky has been an activist in the women's and peace movements. She lives in New York and works in legal-medical publishing.Her partner, Charles Wiggins, lives in New England, where Gologorsky spends a good deal of time. She has a daughter, Georgina.

Contact Beverly Gologorsky:

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Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide
By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

An ancient Chinese proverb goes that women hold up half the sky. Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn want that to be appreciated — on the ground. In the opening pages of this gripping call to conscience, the husband-and-wife team come out swinging: “Gendercide,” the daily slaughter of girls in the developing world, steals more lives in any given decade “than all the genocides of the 20th century.” No wonder Kristof and WuDunn, whose coverage of China for The New York Times won them a Pulitzer Prize, declare the global struggle for women’s equality “the paramount moral challenge” of our era.

Their stories in “Half the Sky” bear witness to that bold claim. Kristof and WuDunn describe Dalit women, Indian untouchables, who swarmed, stabbed and emasculated a serial torturer and murderer — in a courtroom. Further north, Mukhtar Mai, the victim of a Pakistani gang-rape, did the unthinkable for a Muslim village woman. Not only did she expose her assailants, but she incurred the wrath of her country’s president, Pervez Musharraf, endured abduction by his henchmen, started a school and even made an ally of her resentful older brother.

“Half the Sky” tackles atrocities and indignities from sex trafficking to maternal mortality, from obstetric fistulas to acid attacks, and absorbing the fusillade of horrors can feel like an assault of its own. But the poignant portraits of survivors humanize the issues, divulging facts that moral outrage might otherwise eclipse.

Men, for example, aren’t always the culprits. “In Meena’s brothel,” Kristof and WuDunn report of an Indian girl forced into prostitution, “the tyrant was the family matriarch, Ainul Bibi. Sometimes Ainul would beat the girls herself, and sometimes she would delegate the task to her daughter-in-law or to her sons.” The narratives respect nuance, revealing both the range of barriers and the possibility for solutions.

Throughout, Kristof and WuDunn show faith in the capacity of ordinary citizens, including Americans, to initiate change — gutsy at a time when many Westerners who voice concern are ritually accused of interfering. Mingling tales of woe with testimonials to people power, the authors explain how tragedy can spawn opportunity. Their hope: “To recruit you to join an incipient movement to emancipate women.”

Little-known Westerners — doctors, teachers and students — serve as role models. Harper McConnell is a University of Minnesota graduate. Fresh out of college, she broke up with her boyfriend and entered the dating desert of Congo to oversee her church’s relationship with a hospital for women. “At the age of 23, Harper became the principal of her own school,” Kristof and WuDunn write about this young American who “jabbers away in Swahili.”

But “Half the Sky” prescribes some tough medicine: To be effective on behalf of invisible women overseas, Americans must “bridge the God Gulf.” That is, secular humanists will have to forge common cause with religious believers, emulating an era “when liberal deists and conservative evangelicals joined forces to overthrow slavery.”

Kristof and WuDunn repeatedly invoke the abolitionist project. Besides stirring emotions, the antislavery lens permits Americans to see an urgent obligation. When the West cares as much about sex slavery as it does about pirated DVDs, India “will dispatch people to the borders to stop traffickers,” they predict. “We single out the West because, even though we’re peripheral to the slavery, our action is necessary to overcome a horrific evil.” As proof, they detail how American diplomats and Congress spurred the Cambodian police to crack down on brothel owners. “Simply asking questions put the issue on the agenda.”

So it comes as a disappointment when Kristof and WuDunn seem to cut short their own questions. They entitle one of their chapters “Is Islam Misogynistic?” Their answer: Because ultraconservative Saudi Arabia has outlawed slaves, the Koran must be open to progressive interpretations on other human rights issues, like women’s equality.

The trouble is, laws ring hollow if they’re not enforced, something Kristof and WuDunn robustly recognize about female genital mutilation in Africa. Why not acknowledge the same about Saudi Arabia’s often appalling treatment of female domestic workers, whose condition Human Rights Watch has deemed ­“slavery-like”? Could their silence be traced to the “scolding” that Kristof received from a group of Muslim women in Riyadh?

Kristof and WuDunn

One of them insists to him that Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers, and the related effects of a profoundly patriarchal culture, “are our problems, not yours.” Kristof doesn’t appear to question her. Yet later, he and WuDunn link “the boom in Muslim terrorists” to “the broader marginalization of women,” recalling that the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers cited a teaching about well-endowed virgins awaiting male martyrs in heaven.

Clearly, a connection can be drawn between global security and certain cultural customs in the Middle East. In that case, Muslim women’s problems are everyone’s problems. Despite all their reminders of our interdependence as humans, Kristof and WuDunn miss an excellent chance to help fellow progressives build backbone.

Perhaps a different encounter should be arranged for the two authors — with a Muslim woman in Sweden who hides immigrant Arab girls threatened by honor killings. She told me that many Western feminists condemn her because, she believes, they care more about looking tolerant than about saving lives. In confronting the failings of multiculturalism, secularists could move forward with evangelicals, as abolitionists did almost 200 years ago. Imagine the potential for progress.

Irshad Manji, a scholar with the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, is the author of “The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith

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The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience
By Kirstin Downey

480 pp. Nan A. Talese $35.00

Reviewed by Jane Woodward Elioseff

Frances Perkins (1880 –1965), suffragist and labor advocate, destroyed many of her letters and papers before she died, with the result that only archivists and historians and a few former students still remember her. Even so, Kirstin Downey, a former Washington Post reporter, has written an entirely credible biography of Perkins based on the public record, on Downey’s productive searches in various neglected archives and private collections of Frances’s letters, and on interviews with her daughter and those of her colleagues and friends who are still living. The Woman Behind the New Deal describes not only Frances’s political career, but also her marriage and her close friendships with reform-minded, socially prominent women, as well as her relationships with suffragists, settlement house reformers, socialists, unionists, combative labor leaders, Tammany Hall toughs, and such major figures as Winston Churchill, Al Smith, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.

In February 1933, at the start of FDR’s first term as US president, Eleanor Roosevelt, among others, strongly recommended to her husband that his secretary of labor should be Frances Perkins, whom Franklin had known for twenty years, the past four working side by side with her while he was governor of New York. He appreciated Perkins’s intelligence, energy, and political savvy. Most importantly, he trusted her. When Frances met with Franklin in New York City to discuss the appointment, she arrived with a paper in her hand listing what she wanted to accomplish if she accepted his offer:

The scope of her list was breathtaking. She was proposing a fundamental and radical restructuring of American society, with enactment of historic social welfare and labor laws. To succeed, she would have to overcome opposition from the courts, business, labor unions, conservatives.

Perkins asked FDR to approve her legislative agenda: a forty-hour work week, a minimum wage, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, a federal law banning child labor, direct federal aid for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized public employment service, and national health insurance. Perkins and her determined political allies achieved it all--except for health insurance. Opposition by the American Medical Association was too strong.

Few people rise to high office in Washington, D.C. without thick skins and hard work in the political trenches. It is difficult to imagine the heartless animosity and unjust criticism Perkins experienced as a woman in public life. Her views were so progressive that conservative members of the House of Representatives tried to impeach her in 1939 for failing to enforce US immigration laws, a move by the House that the Supreme Court disallowed. The unhappy congressmen wanted Frances out for refusing to deport suspected Communists and for doing her best to help the thousands in Europe fleeing the Nazis. She was single-handedly responsible for saving the Geneva staff of the International Labor Organization by persuading Canada to admit them when the state department denied them entry to the US. The ILO became the only League of Nations entity to survive the war.

Perkins served twelve years as our fourth secretary of labor (1933-1945). She did not engage in self promotion, did not hold press conferences, but was loved and admired by those who knew her well. She never forgot or neglected a friend, high or low, and her dedication to the common good was unflagging. When the political tide was against her, she accepted what progress could be made and tried again the next year. In 1946, she published The Roosevelt I Knew, a biography of FDR. Her close friendship with Franklin was not romantic--it was a meeting of minds and spirits. She was the first person he wanted to see when he started his Washington workday and often the last person he talked with in the evening.

Fannie Coralie Perkins had studied physics and chemistry at Mount Holyoke College, and in 1904, after two years back home with her family, she answered an advertisement for a science teacher at a small women’s college in wealthy Lake Forest, near Chicago. Downey writes that immediately upon arriving Fannie reinvented herself. “She changed her birth name, her faith, and her political persuasion.” She left the Congregationalist Church and became a high-church Episcopalian. Joining the Episcopal Church, “placed Frances in the most upscale milieu in tiny Lake Forest . . . gave her a ready social stepladder.”

While she was teaching in Lake Forest, she also volunteered at Hull House, which gave her the social work training she had been lacking and introduced her to a large national circle of social activists, including the writer Upton Sinclair. After three years, she heard about a job in Philadelphia Talking with factory girls earning $6 a week who lived in basements and survived on bread and bananas, Frances learned, Downey says, that women were barred by their gender from union participation. Frances decided that she needed to go back to school to be able to debate economic and labor issues more effectively. “Studying alongside men for the first time [at The Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania], she realized the depth of her own intelligence.”

One of Frances’s professors at Wharton, impressed by her aptitude, helped her arrange a fellowship at Columbia University. In 1910, she earned a master’s degree in political science and then took a job heading the New York office of the National Consumer’s League. She moved to Greenwich Village, “a center of intellectual ferment.” Sinclair Lewis fell in love with her and regularly proposed marriage until she wed government reformer Paul Caldwell Wilson in 1913.

Frances attended church every morning of the week while she was working in Washington. Three or four times a year, she made a silent retreat at a Maryland convent where the mother superior was her spiritual advisor. Frances could see auras, and this was an aid in assessing character and recognizing talent. Downey writes that Perkins worried about the growing secularization of America. It was incomprehensible to Frances to think of excluding religion from public life altogether, for it was her religious motivation--to do what Jesus would want one to do--that drove her and fueled all that she had done.

This book is beautifully organized, with helpful chapter titles, footnotes divided and renumbered by chapter, a strong bibliography, a good index, and many interesting black and white photographs, though I would wish for more photos of union leaders and suffragists.

Jane Woodward Elioseff is a writer and editor living in Houston.


Contact Jane Elioseff: jelioseff@comcast.net

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Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future
Barbara J. Berg

The news in 2008 was that women had taken huge strides forward. Feminists’ decades-long struggle finally seemed to be paying off, not only in boardrooms, classrooms, and kitchens but also at the very top—in presidential politics. But what is the truth behind the headlines?

Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future, renowned feminist author Barbara J. Berg debunks the many myths about how far women have come and the pervasive belief that ours is a postfeminist society. Combining authoritative research and compelling storytelling, Berg traces the assault on women’s status from the 1950s—when Newsweek declared “for the American girl, books and babies don’t mix”—to the present, exploring the deception about women’s progress and contextualizing our current situation. All women are hurt by a society lauding their attributes in speeches while scorning them in public policy and popular culture, and the legacy of the women’s movement is being short-circuited in every aspect of their lives.

Passionate, extensively documented, humorous, and persuasive,
Sexism in America is simultaneously enlightening, frightening, and revitalizing. Berg, an ardent optimist, helps women understand where they are and why and how they can move beyond the marginalizing strategies. It is exactly the right book at exactly the right time.

"Sexism in America is a powerful and passionate analysis of the systematic degradation of feminist accomplishments-in education, employment, athletics, and elsewhere-and the virulent resurgence of sexism. In this convincingly argued and poignantly written analysis, Berg assiduously documents the conservative politics, policies, and practices that have caused American women and girls unremitting harm since the Reagan era-and especially under George Bush. Berg's is an undaunted vision of an anti-feminist past and its disastrous influence: an insecure present and uncertain future for females. Reminding us that the "personal is political," this book will provide women with an unambiguous understanding of a broader pattern of gender inequality. The daily incidents, insults, assaults, and setbacks that feel unfair to women and girls, turn out to be, deliberately unjust." -Miriam Forman-Brunell, Professor of History at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

About Barbara

Research and writing have always been essential aspects of Barbara's career. Her books are widely respected and quoted. She has also written for THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE BALTIMORE SUN. Her feature articles have appeared in both scholarly and popular magazines, PARENTS, MS., WORKING WOMAN and LADIES' HOME JOURNAL among them.

Barbara has repeatedly been engaged in nationwide speaking tours, discussing such topics as women's health, parenting, balancing family and work, childbirth and adoption. Her extensive television appearances throughout the United States and Canada have included the morning talk shows in most major cities, CBS MORNING SHOW, THE DONAHUE SHOW, CNN and OPRAH.

She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Yale Medical School, Columbia University's Physicians and Surgeons, The Academy of Medicine, Marymount College and The Horace Mann School where she started a women's history program. As a consultant to PBS, the National Endowment for Humanities, The Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women, and The Rockefeller Foundation, Barbara has worked to get women's issues the attention they deserve.

The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, her biography is included in the recent book,
FEMINISTS WHO CHANGED AMERICA (University of Illinois Press, 2006).

Visit Barbara Berg's Website: www.barbarajberg.com

Contact Barbara Berg
: barbara_berg@msn.com

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a time of our own

In Celebration of Women over Sixty
Elinor Miller Greenberg and Fay Wadsworth Whitney

A guide for women in the “third third” of life

A Time of our Own is a must-read for today’s generation of
energetic and active women over sixty.

Denver, CO (8/1/2008)——Never before have people lived so long with such an bundance of resources at their disposal. There has never been a time in which women, in every phase of life, have had the opportunities that women have today. In
A Time of Our Own, coauthors Elinor Miller Greenberg and Fay Wadsworth Whitney explore and celebrate the lives of contemporary women who are redefining and reinventing the third and final chapter of their lives.

This book speaks to a generation of women who were the pacesetters in creating new ways to balance family, work, and community activities as they encounter another era in their lives. It is also an essential guide for the baby boomers now turning sixty. Acknowledging that at age sixty a fresh set of life issues begins to appear, Greenberg and Whitney, through extensive interviews, research, and professional and personal experiences, address such subjects as:

  • The concept of the third third of life
  • Redefining and reinventing life after sixty
  • New roles, responsibilities, and relationships after sixty, including the roles of religion and spirituality
  • Work and volunteerism
  • Money matters
  • Health issues
  • Losses, regrets, and pains at this stage of life
  • New attitudes and advice to baby boomers
  • The future

“A pioneering work that helps all of us understand the dramatic changes in our world
that make growing older for women a new beginning …What a thorough, well-organized, well-written book. much-needed and significant exploration and celebration. ”
—Barbara Love, editor,
Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975

Elinor Miller Greenberg is designer and administrator of innovative higher education programs for adults. She has authored, coauthored, or edited nine books and numerous articles and pamphlets.

Fay Wadsworth Whitney is a career nurse practitioner and nursing faculty member.She is professor emeritas of nursing at the Fay W.Whitney School of nursing at the University of Wyoming. Both she and Elinor Greenberg are wives, mothers, and grandmothers.

For more information on A Time of Our Own, please visit www.fulcrumbooks.com.

Contact Elinor: Ellie.Greenberg@UCHSC.edu

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Sterling Publishing
is proud to announce the publication of

Super Granny Great Stuff to do with Your Grandkids
by Sally Wendkos Olds

A Note from Sally

I’m really excited about Super Granny. I’ve written about my earlier life stages like breastfeeding and being a working parent, and it was fun to explore this newest phase of my life—especially since grandmothering is so different now in so many ways from what it used to be. Talking with other grandmas around the U.S. and abroad and then writing about what they love to do with their grandkids was wonderful; I even included a few of my own favorite activities. I learned a lot and think you will too!

I hope that all these true stories about real people will inspire, inform, amuse, and fuel you with lots of good ideas for making memorable every moment spent with your grandkids. (Well, nearly every moment—let's be realistic here!)

For more stories about grannies
check out my blog.

About the Book

Super Granny offers an up-to-the-minute 21st-century treasure trove of activities that help grandmothers enjoy, communicate, and really connect with their grandchildren. Sally Olds, a grandmother of five, talked to other grandmothers about what they love to do with their grandkids, and came up with 75 lively, fun-to-read narratives bursting with creative ideas and clear how-to directions. Most are free or dirt-cheap, simple to do, and even work for grannies who don’t live near the kids. With something for the most computer-savvy to the most traditional, and for infants to adolescents, Super Granny has the perfect activity for every grand-pair.

Praise for Super Granny

“Sally Wendkos Olds’s excellent book is a must read for all grandparents, especially those that ever wondered what to do with their grandchildren on a rainy day.—Arthur Kornhaber, M.D., president of the Foundation for Grandparenting

“A great book for granny's (and grandfathers) who don't want to depend on the amount of money spent to enjoy grandkids, but instead depend on imagination, and ingenuity…a treasure of tips for giving every grandkid lasting experiences and valued memories."—Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (Dr. Toy)

“If you've ever needed grandparenting inspiration, meet Super Granny! This book…lives up to its title.”—GRANDPARENTS.about.com.

“I'm halfway through Super Granny already. I love it!”—Sally's granddaughter, Lisa.

Contact Sally: wendkos07@yahoo.com

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Mary Orovan has a new chapbook of poetry, Green Rain, (Poets Wear Prada, December, 2008).

While she wrote a few "polemic" poems in the Women's Movement in early 70's, the poems in Green Rain were all written recently. She began writing poetry seriously about eight years ago.

For Orovan, aspects of nature, and even the cosmos, can be metaphors for the human condition. In this stunning debut chapbook, she evokes the sheer joy of living and the poignancy of time with her lyrical language, quirky imagination, power, and humor. These poems are originals you'll want to reread for their wise hope and delicious élan.

Here are some reviews of Green Rain:
Orovan's poems are bright and polished; they dazzle the reader. She uses language that is idiosyncratic and fresh as April. "Green Rain" bears returning to again and again. Peter Leverich, Editor, "Avocet, A Journal of Nature Poems".

"Green Rain" expresses a love of nature and life with exquisite passion, sensuality and imagery. The book came out as perfection; I'm blown away.
Karen Ethelsdattar, Poet

Orovan's poems are stunning in their depth, humor and mystery, which makes me want to read them over and over. Joyce Hope Suskind, Composer and Lyricist

You can order Green Rain directly from Orovan at a special VFA price of $5.00, plus $1.00 postage. Inquire at

About Mary Orovan
Orovan was an early member of the second wave, and participated in many actions: the Fifth Avenue March, conference planning with New York Radical Feminists, starting CR groups.

Her master's thesis at NYU, 1970, was Humanizing English, which she reprinted as a booklet: a ground-breaking work raising consciousness about the overuse of "Man" instead of "Human". She also suggested that a gender-free pronoun for "he" was necessary when making general statements. One of her recommendations was the use of "they" in these contexts. (This has now evolved into fairly standard English.)

She taught one of the first courses in Language and Sexism (SUNY, New Paltz) which examined the double standard in the way men and women are described in the media (oh, so much more needs to be done).

Most of her actions centered around media and image issues: Changing (with Jacqui Ceballos and Pat Lawrence)
a photography exhibit titled "Woman" at the Huntington Hartford Museum to include more diverse images, and to include women photographers. She also raised consciousness about how few statues of women there are in NYC. Some other actions: sit-in at the Ladies Home Journal, protests of the sex segregated want-ads at the New York Times.

She was Features Editor of US Camera Magazine, and taught at various universities, including Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY.

Currently, she has poems forthcoming in Poetry East, and Mobius, and has work in Avocet, Amoskeag, The Fourth River, and other poetry publications.

She wants to share her book with her sisters and is offering it at $5.00, plus $1.00 shipping.

TO ORDER: Please e-mail
freoro2@yahoo.com with request for book, and leave contact information.

Contact Mary:

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Grace Paley: Collected Shorts
A Film by Lilly Rivlin

Pioneer feminist Lilly Rivlin sends news about the film she is working on about another pioneer feminist, the poet and short-story writer Grace Paley who died in 2007. Lilly says...

"Grace Paley: Collected Shorts" is a feature documentary, which brings to life the momentous times in which this author and activist lived and worked as she reads from her short stories, poems and essays. Her work has been translated into 92 languages. She was a firebrand on the front line of protest. She opposed war and nuclear proliferation, and fought for the rights of women, which often landed her in jail. As a teacher she influenced generations of writers. Grace Paley was a New York icon whose life attests to the possibility that one person can combine public responsibility with individual creativity. Read more about Paley and Lilly's project:


Contact Lilly: lilith2@verizon.net

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August 2009

In the years before the founding of NOW, no matter how brilliant, educated and ambitious they were, women were expected to be wives and mothers only. But not Alice Rossi (activist, left). She was out in the world working, studying and active in political causes. Yet she wasn't really aware of feminism until she was in her 40's, she says, when she became an enthusiastic proselytizer for women's rights.

Always politically active for the socialist cause, Alice finally awoke to sexist discrimination: she and other women were doing all the work and the men were getting all the credit. "That's when I began to write and talk about women's rights."

In 1964 her groundbreaking article "Equality Between the Sexes: An Immodest Proposal" appeared in Daedalus and was reprinted the following year in Women in America. Not content to simply define sex equality, she proposed implementing a program to achieve it: First was the provision of a network of childcare centers. Second --- and remember, it was two years before the founding of NOW --- was equality between the sexes, not yet a widespread societal goal. Her third, anticipating the day when feminists would force the declassifying of "work," was to understand how and why girls and women prepare for and choose careers.

"My theme was simple enough," she says. "I wrote that motherhood had become a full-time occupation for adult women, and motherhood was not enough. For the psychological and physical health of mother and child, and for the progress of society, equality between men and women was essential and inevitable.

"My argument for equality was mild indeed, but the reaction of traditionalists in 1964 was not. I was considered by some a monster, an unnatural woman, and an unfit mother. My husband, also a sociologist, received an anonymous condolence card lamenting the death of his wife."

By now Alice was highly respected for her writings and speeches in that small world of aware women. In 1966, Katherine Clarenbach, head of the Status of Women Commission, urged her to attend their national conference that June in Washington DC.

There she met Betty Friedan who --- after the resounding success of The Feminine Mystique, was being pressured and was pressuring others to start an NAACP for women --- was at the conference urging attendees to leave the Status of Women Commission to start an activist feminist organization.

Pictured: NOW Organizing Conference, Oct. 30, 1966 - Alice Rossi is seated front row, fourth from left, Betty Friedan first at right. www.now.org/history

Katherine, still hopeful that the Commission would include her women's rights agenda, at first refused to go along with Betty. But it became clear that the Commission had no plans to go beyond its limited docket, so at the closing luncheon on the final day of the conference she, with Alice, Gene Boyer, Mary Eastwood, Catherine Conroy and a few others joined Betty at her table and while the luncheon speaker droned on, planned the organizing of NOW. Alice recalls that there were hours of discussion later as to whether it should be the National Organization OF Women, or FOR Women, and she was adamant that it should be FOR Women. "If men aren't included," she reasoned, "we'll not be paid attention to." She helped write the Statement of Purpose, and was not only in that historic founding group, but also served on the national board for four years.

Editor of the acclaimed
Feminist Papers featuring works from Adams to de Beauvoir, Alice also wrote The Family with Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan and in 1973 Academic Women on the Move. She founded and was first president of Sociologists for Women in Society and in 1969 an organizer of the Women's Caucus, ASA, and chair of Women in Academe AAUP. In 1977 she was appointed a Commissioner of IWY by President Carter.

Born Alice Schaerr in New York City in 1922, she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. Her mother was the traditional housewife and her father, a German/Lutheran, was a stern man and an alcoholic, whom she was a little afraid of. However, she knew he was very proud of her and instilled in her the idea she could be anything (though to him a woman's anything was being a secretary or a teacher.)

Alice attended Brooklyn College and during World War II worked in the War Manpower Commission, the Lend-Lease program and as an Air Force base special-order clerk. Alice's first husband was Jewish and she converted; however they chose to have no children. That marriage lasted nine years. In 1951 she married Peter Henry Rossi and they had three children, Peter, Kristin, and Nina.

Alice earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1957 and was a research associate at Cornell and Harvard Universities while pursuing her doctorate. She was a lecturer at the University of Chicago and a research associate in the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology. In 1964 she was on the university's National Opinion Research Center and Committee on Human Development. Later she was a research associate in the Department of Social Relations at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Her next post was as Associate Professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, becoming in 1971 professor and chairperson in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In 1974 she became a member of the Social and Demographic Research Institute and the Harriet Martineau Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a position she held until 1991 when she retired and was named Professor Emerita.

Throughout her career, Alice has insisted vehemently that women have the right to control their bodies and has made many referrals for those seeking abortion. She has received countless awards and honors, too many to include here, but you can read about her extensive career on the Web.

Alice Rossi is one of the greatest of our early heroes, paving the way for the feminist movement. VFA has awarded her a special medal of honor and she's in our Hall of Fame. Peter died in 2006 and today, suffering from emphysema, she lives in Boston near her daughter Nina, with whom she has been recording a video memoir about family work and politics. ---
Jacqui Ceballos and Joan Michel

To reach Alice:

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ALICE ROSSI - Scholar, Teacher, Mentor

Excerpts from a Invited Lecturer Honoring Alice Rossi given
by Sheila Tobias, in September, 2008 at the Univ. of Mass.-Amherst
with Alice Rossi in the Audience.

I The Daedelus Article: An Immodest Proposal

Alice Rossi

With her stunning 1964 article," Equality between the Sexes: An Immodest Proposal" published in the prestigious Daedelus Magazine, Alice Rossi put the "E" word -- "Equality" -- into the conversation about women.

It may be hard to believe - given that it was already 1964, just two years before the founding of NOW, -- but "equality", no less "equality between the sexes" was neither a presumption nor yet a goal for a lot of well-meaning scholars and politicians, even as late as 1964.

Rossi didn't use the term "sexism". But she might have, because her article was intended to shift the focus from a "woman's problem" to a problem of a male-dominated society, unable and unwilling to accept women as equal to men. That's what made her article so radical and why it has never in the 45 years since it was published ceased to inspire and astound all who return to it.

More ground was broken when Rossi, defined "androgyny" in that same article and insisted that "women participate on an equal basis with men in politics, occupations, and the family." She went on to write: "Just as tenderness needs to be cultivated in men and boys, achievement needs, workmanship and constructive aggression should be cultivated in girls and approved in women"

Her sense of urgency appeared to be in response to the then dominance of psychoanalytic thinking which was making women more than before, as she put it, "prisoners of their sex and sexuality." Also by her observation that - and this was extremely radical for its time -- "continuous mothering, even in the first few years of life, does not seem to be necessary for the healthy emotional growth of a child." This Truth could be simply stated but it was hardly "simple" in its wide-ranging implications.

Rossi was not content simply to define "sex equality", she offers a three-pronged program to achieve it: First was the provision of a network of child care centers and not just for those in the working class (as was done during WW II on a modest basis by the Federal Government).

Her second "lever" was to alter the residential pattern of the American middle class, still in 1964 making their move to the suburbs. She wants to shrink the geographical distance between work and home.

And her third, anticipating much of the early work of second-wave feminists (most especially Lenore Weitzman's
Images of Males and Females in Elementary School Textbooks (1974), is to de-sex-link [her term] occupations and to focus on how girls and women make occupational choices.

This, she fully anticipates, will involve re-socializing children's views, eradicating stereotypes as to who belongs in which occupations, starting in the earliest grades.

And in her conclusion, she touches on what second-wave feminists would develop in full (though with only modest success in implementing) namely the role of the father in parenting:

She writes:

…unless the man can make room in his life for parenthood, he should not become a father. Amen.

II Rossi's Historical Studies

Rossi's Daedelus essay started with a quotation from John Stuart Mill about equality between the sexes, so it is not surprising that her work in the next decade should return to print a number of antecedents in the historical debate on sex roles with impassioned Introductions and Commentaries.

The Feminist Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir published in 1973 retrieved for many of us re-discovering our antecedents, a set of essential essays by 24 men and mostly women whose lives spanned the period 1744 to 1972- with long Rossi introductions to each!

It's interesting that she calls these writers "feminists" when the term actually came into common use in about 1911.

But what she really wanted to document was their diversity (except on the issues of women's value to society), perhaps reflecting her concern with a growing intolerance of diversity among "second wave" feminism which, by 1973, was beginning to show fissures (over abortion, over lesbianism) and with the arguments about essentialism just over the horizon.

III Rossi's Political Activism

Rossi was not just a scholar observer but an activist in her own right.

She was one of 66 women who co-founded the National Organization for Women in 1966.

In time, NOW would grow to 400,000 members but in 1966, it took insight, courage, and commitment for a woman of Professor Rossi's stature to sign on.

From 1969 to 1972, academic women were "on the move" (the title of another of Rossi's many books.) In professional societies ranging from Modern Languages to Philosophy, (and eventually physics, chemistry, microbiology, and computer science), women scholars interested both in their status within their professions and in the emerging field of women's studies, formed so-called "women's caucuses" in their disciplinary associations.

Rossi took the lead in sociology to form a women's caucus which, over the next decades, would significantly expand sociology's research focus as well as the proportion of women among the leadership.

Just as Rossi's scholarship fueled her activism, her active participation in the women's movement finally gave rise to a scholarly study: the participation and the change in attitudes of the thousands of women who participated in the 1977 International Women's Year Conference in Houston.

The analysis published as
Feminists in Politics would be of special interest to social psychologists who study attitude formation and to political sociologists concerned with the structure of beliefs associated with political movements.

IV The Essays on Sex Equality

There is no "typical" piece of work in Rossi's rich and varied scholarship. But there is one book that epitomizes what she did for feminism and what she cared most about.

That book is Rossi's 1970 re-issue of John Stuart and Harriet Taylor Mill's
Essays on Sex Equality, including, "The Subjection of Women," "The Enfranchisement of Women" and the Mills' jointly written early essays on marriage and divorce. [1]

Rossi had long revered the Mills' work on women originally published in 1861. She considered The Subjection of Women the first of only three landmark works on "the long history of the women's movement for political and economic rights, and of intellectual analyses of sex roles and relations between the sexes.

The others are Charlotte Perkins Gilman's
Women and Economics (1908) and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (1948). [2]

Thus, when asked by the University of Chicago Press in 1969 to supervise a reissue of the Mills' essays on sex equality, she enthusiastically dug in to the history surrounding the remarkable relationship between the co-authors and the origin and impact of their work on women.

Were it not for Rossi's new edition, my generation might not have had ready access to the essays; nor to the rich interpretation offered in her 63-page introduction to the book.

The reason: Mill's collected works since his death in 1873, though often reissued and reviewed, tended not to include, "The Subjection of Women". And so while it was oft cited and known in general to students of women's history, it was not readily at hand. And how impoverished we activists and women's studies teachers and scholars would have been without these gems:
This one:

"What is wanted for women is equal rights and equal admission to all social privilege, not a position apart, not a sentimental priesthood." [3]

Or this one:

"High mental powers in women will be but an exceptional accident until every career is open to them and until they, as well as men, are educated by themselves and for the world, not one sex for the other."

"Women are wives and mothers only because there is no other career open to them."

John Stuart Mill & Harriet Taylor

How to reconcile marriage with intellectual independence - with an intellectual life altogether - had been Harriet Taylor's personal challenge.

John Stuart Mill was more reconciled to women's need to be married than Harriet Taylor. So it was he, more than she, who tried both to define and to live an egalitarian marriage. Alice Rossi in an egalitarian and intellectually productive marriage of her own would certainly have resonated with this.

And with this:

"We have had the 'morality of submission' and 'the morality of chivalry' and the 'morality of generosity.' It's time now for the morality of justice."


Another reason for the especial appeal to Alice Rossi of the Mills' Essays on Sex Equality is that:
"They are not burdened by the dead weight [her words] of psychology and social science theories. They were written pre-Darwin, pre-Marx and pre-Freud and, for that reason, (she writes) are even more relevant today."

Let's give Alice Rossi the last word on Mill and on women's liberation:

"To the generation of the twentieth century who have seen tyranny and suppression of human liberty in all forms of government, John Stuart Mill's invocation of the rights of men and women to liberty and justice have a strong continuing appeal. And to the women of the twentieth century who have seen very little difference in the actual conditions, if not the formal rights of women under any existing form of government, The Subjection of Women continues to serve as a resounding affirmation of women's human right to full equality and a sophisticated analysis of the obstacles that bar their way to it."

Thank you, Alice Rossi, for your love and leadership.

Contact Sheila Tobias: SheilaT@SheilaTobias.com

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from Jacqui Ceballos, July 2009

Recently, snail mails to Linda Miller were returned, but luckily she had the same email address, so I emailed her to find out if she was still around.

Her answer was immediate.

Yes, I am still around, and my bio is in FWCA, on page 314. It mentions my greatest claim to fame -- the Golda Meir "But Can She Type" poster. I created it. It's in the Smithsonian Museum and in several major library collections.

ME.. WOW! We must write about that. Please tell us the story behind it. Were you with an ad agency?

LINDA - I was at one of those regular business meetings of Seattle NOW one evening in 1972. We needed money, and were discussing how to make it. Somebody suggested buttons and posters -- and they all looked at me, the journalism major. The outcome was, “ Linda, see what you can think up by the next meeting.”

At the time there were only two female national leaders on the planet -- and Elizabeth was queen only because she had no brothers.

But Golda Meir was a hero . Everyone, woman or man, knew who she was. It occurred to me to wonder if she was ever asked the classic question posed to any woman when seeking a job, a question asked even of those who had PhD’s. “But can you type?

I needed a photo, but where to get one? I called the Associated Press. They wanted $75. If we had $75, we wouldn't be making this poster.

So I wrote to Mrs. Meir. (This was before we began using Ms.) I told her what we needed and why. A couple of months later the photo arrived with a note,

With the compliments of the Prime Minister."

And voila…!

So I made the poster. At first we sold it in the back of the room at meetings, at street fairs. It was awhile before Susan Lane had the idea to advertise and sell it nationally. That's when it became a real money-maker. We advertised it in the classified section of Ms. Magazine, where it ran for several years. About 60,000 copies were sold, and Golda remained a major financial supporter of women's rights in Seattle.

I also wrote an audiovisual show on the appalling images of women used in advertising in the 1970s: "If I've Come Such a Long Way, Why Do you Call me Baby?"

I asked if she knew Elaine La Tourelle and Judith Lonquist, of Seattle, both national NOW board members.

Yes, I knew Elaine and Judy, and I've seen Elaine in recent years. Last I knew (we are all around retirement age now), she was on the faculty of the architectural school at University of Washington. Judy was a practicing attorney in Seattle, especially known for her connection with teachers' unions and issues.

Seattle NOW in the early 1970s was an amazing group of women. Helen Sommers is now the longest-serving member of the Washington Legislature and long-time head of the state's appropriations committee. Georgiana Schuder (who was trying to get into medical school while serving as president of the chapter--she was rejected because she was too old (28) and the single mother of two children) is now on the faculty of the UW medical school and a nationally famous doctor specializing in breast cancer.

Linda now lives in Ashburn, VA. She volunteers as an ESOL (English as a Second Language) teacher for Spanish speakers.

To reach her: 21145 Cardinal Pond Terrace Apt 110, Ashburn VA 20147 lmiller65@comcast.net.

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Questioning gender, confronting fear
Tribeca sculptor conceives armor as empowering corrective


Upon meeting Tribeca sculptor Linda Stein for the first time, one is struck by the contrast of her no-nonsense New York spunk and the genuine warmth of her personality. Stein was hosting a book party at her intimate Reade Street gallery. In a low-key, approachable style, she gave the guests a brief introduction of the original and compelling art work that hung on her walls—which consisted of life-size feminine torsos made of brass, copper, sheet metal and wood or paper. Some were minimalistic in both form and matter, made from organic materials like stone, bone and beech wood; others, richly bejeweled and mixed into a hodgepodge of objects drawn from the everyday matter of post-industrial life and spiritual, archetypal textual matter and imagery. She called the sculpture series female knights of protection.

Linda Stein, with (K)Night Figure 470
Photo courtesy of Stein Studios

Stein, who was born and raised in the Bronx and seems as comfortable wielding heavy machinery as she is handling delicate parchment paper, is hardly the image of stereotypical feminine vulnerability. Sacha Baron Cohen was quick to find this out the hard way by inviting her to participate in a bogus panel on third world women’s rights for his film and title role, “Borat.” When Stein caught on to the travesty, she let Baron Cohen have it and stormed off the panel.

And yet, it was her sense of dire vulnerability (experienced during the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center) that took her in a new and unexpected direction — from abstract to figurative sculptor.

Stein, whose studio-gallery is located at a stone’s throw away from Ground Zero, was already at work when the planes attacked the Twin Towers. Upon hearing the sounds of the crashes, she and a few of her assistants ran northward holding hands to escape from what Stein mistakenly thought was a bomb attack on the towers.

At the time, she also ran a premiere calligraphy business above her gallery and had been a Tribeca resident since the late seventies — but was forced to relocate to the Upper-East side for eight months. Even though the traumatic experience prevented her from sculpting for a full year, the artist was determined to return to Tribeca.

She explained that what initially attracted her to the neighborhood three decades ago was the fact that it had many artists, lofts and wasn’t yet commercialized. “Tribeca now has thousands of artists living in its lofts and apartment spaces,” Stein observes. “So many celebrities. There are more theaters and performance spaces, and even restaurants catering to artists.” As for the Tribeca art scene, Stein weighs in on the gender element: “With so many experimental artists here, I would guess/hope that, as a demographic group, we are more open to gender fluidity and less prone to stereotypes and sexism than in more conservative neighborhoods.”

Evaluating the relative merits of the Tribeca art scene shows how far the area has come since Stein first contemplated moving here — when a cop helped her overcome concerns about the gritty and still largely under-populated area. Stein recalls the policeman telling her, “Lady, there’s nobody here, it’s the safest place around.” Even though the neighborhood has significantly gentrified since then, Stein still loves it because of the large art scene and the liberal mindset.

When Stein returned to making art after 9/11, she soon discovered the need to confront fears with symbols of empowerment. Describing her creative process as being in the driver’s seat (but as the chauffeur, not always as the conscious and willful driver), she noted that while her previous subjects were abstract in character and mostly horizontal in form, her new sculptures began to take on vertical forms and to resemble human-like figures in armor.

A passionate feminist and a member of the respected Veterans of Feminists of America organization, Stein had strong reactions to what she terms as the post-9/11 masculinization of war by the Bush administration and expresses these in her art. She was appalled by the gender-stereotyping in portrayal of heroes and victims in the media and among those in political office.

The male images of 9/11 were predominately those of strong, sacrificing heroes, while the female faces of the attacks consisted almost exclusively of the 9/11 victims and widows. It was as though the service and valor of the hundreds of female first response workers who had risked their lives and rescued the lives of many received virtually no recognition, let alone the celebratory gratitude that was directed to their male counterparts, Stein explained.

Stein’s sculpted armor is conceived in part as a corrective to this. Though, it initially troubled her at first that her sculptures seemed to invoke militancy (Stein has been a life-long pacifist), she came to realize that the power expressed by her knights was not about violence or bravado, but about strength and empowerment. The knights did not contradict peace; rather, they create a relationship of compassion between the armored and those they seek to protect. As Stein expanded on this idea of armor bestowing the positive qualities of safety and valor, she began to bring powerful, female non-violent icons from her childhood, such as Wonder Woman. Eventually, the invocation of female power in Stein’s work extended beyond the popular super-heroine to include the Japanese anime character Princess Mononoke and the Japanese goddess of justice and compassion, Kannon.

But irrespective of whichever powerful, peaceful icons Stein summons into her sculptural pantheon, what seems to matter most to the artist and gender activist is introducing a new paradigm of protection: one that is peaceful, empowering and transcends gender.

In recent years, she has been exploring direct, interactive contact between her art and the public. Fascinated by the possibilities of tricking the body by optical and sensory illusions and the empowering psychological states that can be generated by them, Stein has been designing her sculptures to be both displayed and worn. She also hopes her armor will be worn and experienced as a possibility to escape the male-female binary and experience more the fluidity of gender.

Most recently, the sculptor has been inviting the public, men and women alike to don her armor, dance in it and experience it as a second skin. Stein aptly calls this experience “body-swapping.” She explains: “By wearing my sculptural knights, men and women can body swap genders and personas, feeling empowered and expansive.”

At a recent body-swapping event, dancer Josie M. Coyoc (of Pilobolus Dance Company) performed a graceful, ritual-like dance to hypnotic Oriental rhythms as she wore Stein’s sculptures and carried a scepter in both hands. Coyoc seemed at one with the armor and moved as though she deeply identified with the powers of the icons she was wearing.

Later, the women and men at the party began to try on the armor. Some moved around sheepishly at first, while others immediately abandoned themselves to the feelings and experience of standing taller, wider and harder. Others still were happy to simply enjoy the sensory experience of the armor and moved as though the armor liberated them to dance and move expressively.

Besides admiring the aesthetic beauty of Stein’s sculptures, Coyoc admitted to wanting to own one of Stein’s sculptures for practical reasons as well: “I want to own one so that I can put it on when I need to give a difficult speech or ask for a raise and have no problem asking for what I want. And I’d probably get it too.”

So, if you’re looking to experience what it’s like to have someone have your back, Stein’s got you covered.

Contact Linda Stein: linda@lindastein.com

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VFA initiates a new series which will focus on issues facing women in every country and show how the results of our accomplishments woke up the world.
This letter from Nepal inaugurates the series.

Women's rights activists march on the streets of Katmandu, Nepal Saturday, March 8, 2003, to mark International Women's Day. Activists demanded gender equality, better reproductive health care facilities and other rights. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi)

Since its inception in May 2008, the Constituent Assembly (CA) of Napal took a significant step toward ensuring women’s rights. On April 27, it passed the Domestic Violence Bill, which took 14 years of persistent lobbying. This is an achievement for the 51 percent of women in Napal and a start in the right direction.

But the time it took to be enforced speaks loud enough on the importance given to women’s issues in Napal. How long will it take, for example, to identify women who disappeared during the conflict, not to speak of compensation and justice to the victims of wartime?

As they prepare to write the new constitution, it is the 197 women CA members who are in the best position to create rights guaranteeing the much-needed political and socioeconomic rights. Besides a gamut of issues, focus must be on basic rights–food, health, education, employment, security among them. Most important, empowerment alone will bring women to leadership roles. No effort is being made to actually give women responsible positions.

This is aggravated by the 197 women CA members refusing to rise above party lines and fight for the cause of women. In a recent interaction, Lila Nyaichyai, a CA member from the Workers and Peasants Party, said that no political party member can actually rise above the ideology of their party. It is sad that lawmakers like her fail to realize that women’s issues cut ideological lines that separate parties, groups and organizations.

Second, there are very few NGOs who have reached the remote corners of the country with effective women-oriented programs. The recent diarrhea epidemic in mid and far west is a testimony to the failure of donor-driven initiatives in the health sector, which is the foremost priority of most projects.

Photo Credit: Women's human rights demonstration in Kathmandu, 29 November 2008 demanding a commission to look into violence against women. © Private

On the other hand, the only national-level body, the National Women’s Commission, is a toothless institution; it must be made a statutory body for it to effectively carry out its responsibility. Meanwhile, although the state has taken some important decisions, the implementation part has been extremely weak. For instance, the Interim Constitution brought in the provision for granting citizenship right to a child in his/her mother’s name also. But women are compelled to go from one government office to another to get a recommendation made.

Nepal became a signatory of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in 1991, but it is tragic that the state has not taken any initiatives to enforce many provisions of the Convention. Not only that, next year Nepal will participate in the Beijing Platform for Action. It was a participant in 1995 when it was first held. The government and all stakeholders must review the commitments made at national and international levels and evaluate the progress made so far.

Given the changing political context in the country, the government has to give special attention to the grievances of women from ethnic communities and backward groups. In the Tarai, more women’s groups are now actively speaking against the dowry system, abortion of female fetuses and child marriage. Similarly, Muslim women are fighting against divorce system ingrained in their religion. Thus, the state in general and parliament in particular are confronted with the serious challenge of guaranteeing women’s right in the new constitution. The CA must immediately formulate a mechanism to address and develop appropriate policies to derive a conclusion and action plan for addressing women´s issues.

Contact Joan Michel: womansvoice123@gmail.com

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 Your President Goes to Washington

The Congress of the United States requests the honor or your presence at a congressional tribute celebrating the unveiling of the bust of



Addressed to Jacqueline Michot Ceballos, the invitation from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived with no mention of Veteran Feminists of America.

I've sat on the steps of the capitol for the ERA, lobbied Senators and the Congress, taken part in demonstrations and marches over the years, but I'd never been invited to any government event, not even one honoring women. So why this one? But at this stage in my life I'd be foolish to wait for another such invitation. My daughter Michele insisted on treating me to the trip for Mother's Day, so I r.s.v.p.'d my delight and off I went.

Mary Jean Collins, a founder of Chicago NOW and an early head of the national office, who for the past few years has lived and worked in D.C., met me at Dulles airport. We'd not visited in years, so we talked until the wee hours. I learned Mary Jean had worked closely with my dear friend, the late Pat McQuillan, who among other things founded Catholics for Choice, which had grown from a small group to a national office in D.C. and which Mary Jean had directed for several years. Mary Jean spoke about the hundreds of feminist organizations started by NOW members or stemmed from NOW's influence, and we made an offhand list of about 25, including Catholics for Choice and Veteran Feminists of America.

The next morning Mary Jean drove me to the Capitol in plenty of time to get a seat, but a demonstration was in progress and police had cordoned off the street. So I trudged uphill on foot to Emancipation Hall and arrived to find the place packed and there was no seat for this woman with a special invitation! Tired and upset, I pulled the age card and explained I'd come all the way from Phoenix. But the best they could do was allow me to stand up front, where I stood through the whole event.

Seated on stage were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, all enjoying the magnificent program that included Cecily Tyson's rendition of *Sojourner's famous "Ain't I A Woman" speech, which she delivered at the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848.

Nancy opened the program followed by Lee, Senator Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, who had helped get the bust of Sojourner Truth moved from the basement to inaugurate this new Emancipation Hall. The majority of guests were prominent leaders of the African American women's community. It was an exciting day for them, as most had worked for years to make this happen. They were dressed elegantly, most were wearing today's super spiked high heeled shoes, reminding me (still standing in my flat heels) how high heels had ruined the feet of women of my generation.

Then Michelle Obama walked on stage…. in flats! She spoke with warmth and joy that Sojourner, not merely a hero who'd saved hundreds of slaves' lives, but a great feminist.

There was an explosion of jubilation from the audience when all four women pulled the string that unveiled the lovely bust of the great Sojourner. I gave my silent thanks to the Anti Slavery and Black Civil Rights movements, both which helped the feminist movement .. I'm sure Pauli Murray joined Sojourner, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B, Alice Paul, Betty and many others in celebrating this great day on the other side!

Kim Gandy, NOW's president, was the only person there I recognized, and I was happy to hear her being acknowledged by Pelosi. No, my name wasn't called, nor was VFA acknowledged. In fact, I wonder if anyone knew I was there, and am still wondering why was I invited. But concluded that somehow, having given 5 events in DC honoring DC feminists, someone in Pelosi's office was aware of VFA.

*In 1851 Sojourner Truth attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio where she delivered her famous speech Ain't I a Woman, a slogan she adopted from one of the most famous abolitionist images, that of a kneeling female slave with the caption "Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?"

Comments: Jacqui Ceballos

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Veteran Feminists of America and FEMINISTS WHO CHANGED AMERICA Celebration in...

Ireland to Florida Feminists: "Our work is far from done"

Yes, we did it! Again! What was to be a small event to honor pioneer and contemporary activists in Florida showed early signs that the café

Pat Ireland Wows Audience

reserved for 35 would not be adequate. It turned out that 170 showed up! We owe this sensational success to Eleanor Pam and to her friend and co-chair Barbara Love, editor of the fabulous Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975.

Eleanor, a snowbird from Long Island, emceed the event and from the first welcome established an air of celebration. And indeed, the guests acted as if they were at a joyous reunion--proving once more how important VFA events are to keep feminists together and actively involved in our great cause.

The room was decorated with great memories. Two slide shows flashed pictures of early feminist actions and heroes on the wall next to the podium in a continuous loop; the famed Women's quilt made of T-shirts from early demonstrations hung near the stage; memorabilia from the 1960s and 1970s was arrayed on tables. And special guest , Elizabeth Cady Stanton ( actor Elizabeth Perry) inspired us as she recited the Women's Bill of Rights she‘d given at the first women‘s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1948.

“Our work isn't over,” said Pat Ireland, the longest-term president of NOW who served from 1991 to 2001, inspiring all with her exciting talk. "Two out of nine is not half," she'd told President Bill Clinton at a White House reception in reference to the sorry makeup of the Supreme Court. “Clinton got it," she said.

VFA'S MEDAL OF HONOR FOR exceptional contributions to improving the lives of women and girls was given to 40 women and one man, Barry Silver, a lawyer and rabbi, who served in the Florida Legislature and successfully sued Jerry Falwell and his Operation Rescue to stop the blockading of health and abortion clinics.

Barry Silver with Barbara Love, Eleanor Pam

In an important departure from the past VFA honored contemporary feminists , an important departure from the past which was much appreciated by activist leaders of today.

THE JOYCE WARSHOW AWARD, presented by her partner, Dorothy Sander in memory of the late psychologist, author and filmmaker was given to Barbara Love for her work in feminism and feminist history, and especially for her chef d'oeuvre, Feminists Who Changed America.

It was a very emotional moment when Ryan Cox stepped forward to accept an award for her late mother, Linda Cox, founder of Broward County NOW and member of the Florida House of Representatives. Among guests were former state representatives, who'd remembered that

a quilt made of feminist tee shirts from former demonstrations

Ryan was the first baby born to a Florida legislator while in office..

CALLS TO ACTION-- A petition was circulated to save the Women's Studies program at Florida Atlantic University. Josephine Beoku-Betts, Interim Director, was one of the honorees.

A "PASS THE TORCH" CEREMONY was emotional as Eleanor called for the oldest and youngest woman in the room to speak on behalf of their respective generations. To great applause, 90-year-old transferred a blazing candle to her 26-year-old counterpart, along with the symbolic responsibility for carrying forward the feminist agenda.

WELL-KNOWN GUESTS included Rep. Elaine Bloom, former Speaker, Pro-tempore, Florida State Legislature; Janet Canterbury, three time president of Dade County NOW and Florida state NOW; Sally Heyman, County Commissioner, Miami-Dade; and Gwen Margolis, former Florida State Senator; Ann Fonfa, co-president, North Palm Beach County NOW; and Pam O'Brien, Executive Director of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Palm Beach County.

Closing Moments with Barbara Love and Eleanor Pam

This was VFA's second outstanding showing in Florida. In 2002 we co-sponsored a conference at Florida Atlantic University with Atlantic's Women's Studies Department and South Palm Beach NOW.

VFA's primary goal is to document the history of the Second Wave and to honor all who made it happen, which we've been doing for the past 19 years, mostly in major cities. This was one of the few celebrations given in “the interior.” Why? Because no one from a smaller town has ever came forward to handle the event. But this one may have been a good sign. Two more are being planned, one in Stockton, CA with Beverly McCarthy at the helm; and another in Dallas (certainly a major city) hosted by Bonnie Wheeler. See articles below for progress on these.

VFA made a nice little profit from this event, in spite of the low cost of the luncheon, thanks to Eleanor's planning. And again our thanks to her and Barbara Love and the inspirational “Feminists Who Changed America” for keeping VFA alive and lively!

For more information call Eleanor Pam, Master of Ceremonies and Co-Chair 561-278-1967; cell 516-526-2689

E-Mail Eleanor Pam:

THERE's MORE! Click Here for Honoree Bios and more

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 Younger Women by Younger Women

Well, the torch is being passed and VFA is starting a monthly feature devoted to Younger Women by Younger Women. We’ve received enthusiastic letters from younger women of all ages in fields of great interest--television, movies, books, theater, dance, music, art, medicine, law, academia, research, politics, gender issues, science, business--right down the line!--expressing their feelings on the world changes since we got here and what they see in and for the future.

We expect the response to this VFA outreach to be super-size so we’re looking to put together a committee to contact, solicit, vet the applicants. If you’d like to join the committee, please contact me at
womansvoice123@gmail.com and we’ll get started.

And if you have a daughter in the forties/fifties age group or a granddaughter in her twenties or thirties who’s been an active feminist and wants to share (for love, not money) her feelings and/or experiences, just tell her to get in touch with us for details at
womansvoice123@gmail.com. Their thoughts will be read by our members and the many visitors to our website--and P.S.: they’d get mileage for their projects as we'd include a link to their websites.

Warmest thanks! Joan Michel, VP PR, VFA


photo: David S. Holloway, Getty Images

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 Gender Challenges in Higher Education
 Unfinished Agendas
New and Continuing Gender Challenges in Higher Education

Edited by Judith Glazer-Raymo

This revealing volume examines the current role and status of women in higher education—and suggests a direction for the future. Judith Glazer-Raymo and other distinguished scholars and administrators assess the progress of women in academe using three lenses: the feminist agenda as a work in progress, growing internal and external challenges to women’s advancement, and the need for active engagement with the challenges at hand. Drawing on the latest research, the contributors explore issues faced by women as newly minted Ph.D.s, as faculty members, as administrators, and as academic leaders. They describe women's struggles with the multiple and often conflicting demands of productivity, accountability, family-work responsibility, and the subconscious “dance of identities” within a variety of cultural contexts. Shedding light on the past, present, and future of women in higher education, this authoritative book concludes with recommendations for meeting new and ongoing gender challenges in the next decade. Contributors: Ana M. Martínez Alemán, Boston College; Rita Bornstein, Rollins College; M. Kate Callahan, Temple University; Judith Glazer-Raymo, Teachers College, Columbia University; Steven Hubbard, New York University; Kimberley LeChasseur, Temple University; Amy Scott Metcalfe, University of British Columbia; Anna Neumann, Teachers College, Columbia University; Tamsyn Phifer, Teachers College, Columbia University; Becky Ropers-Huilman, University of Minnesota; Kathleen M. Shaw, Pennsylvania Department of Education; Sheila Slaughter, University of Georgia; Frances K. Stage, New York University; Aimee LaPointe Terosky, Teachers College, Columbia University; Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner, Arizona State University; Kelly Ward, Washington State University; Lisa Wolf-Wendel, University of Kansas

Author Information
Judith Glazer-Raymo is a lecturer and fellow of the Higher and Postsecondary Education Program, Teachers College, Columbia University; a professor of education emerita at Long Island University. She is the recipient of the 2007 Leadership Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the author of Shattering the Myths: Women in Academe, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Contact Judith: judithraymo@msn.com

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About 40 men marched in women's high-heeled shoes at a Memorial Day Parade in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Their efforts, and blistered heels, raised $5,000 for two organizations committed to ending violence against women. The Walk a Mile in her Shoes march is a men's movement geared to raising awareness, and money, for the issues of violence against women. Founded by Frank Baird in 2001, it organizes many walks, in many different cities, per year. In these events, the men are asked to literally walk a mile in women's high-heeled shoes.

So the men in the small south-central Pennsylvania town accepted the challenge of the march, even to the point of some men wearing fluffy red marabou slippers with two-inch heels. One of the marchers, Steve Crossley, told the local press that his “red light district red” satin heels “Hurt in 10 different ways. My heels, my soles, my calves, and even my back.”

The money that Crossley and the other high-heel wearing men raised will go to a Rape Crisis Center and a Domestic Violence Center in Pennsylvania. According to their website, the international Walk a Mile in Her Shoes organization has scheduled 134 walks for 2009. If you want to organize a march in your city, check their web site for details. Their motto is:

Put yourself in her shoes. First you walk the walk..Then you talk the talk

Not just a woman's issue.
Men often write to VFA requesting interviews about books or articles they're writing about the early movement, and they are interested in a positive way. Two years ago Adelin Gasana, a native of Rwanda and a junior at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, interviewed and filmed me for a documentary he was making about the feminist movement. Later that year another young man, a professional archivist, came over to assess VFA's files. Not yet born when the feminist movement was taking on the world, he was in shock at what he saw and pumped me for stories of the movement. “You have a gold mine here,” he said of VFA files. Just recently another young man, writing a book about David Susskind, wanted to know my memories of the 1969 Susskind interview of Kate Millett, Roz Baxandall, Anselma dell Olio and me in the episode called Four Angry Women. He was intrigued that men such as Susskind, liberal and progressive, were still mired in the past and looking at women as inferior human beings.

Some of our male members at Idaho State, for instance, actually take part with their students in college demonstrations. And now this article about men wearing heels and demonstrating to stop violence against women. Really blows your mind! So when we're reminded of how much there is to do to liberate women around the world, we can be happy that, at least in the USA, we're no longer doing it alone. More and more men are joining us.

Comments to: Jacqui Ceballos

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If the students aren't learning, the teacher must be doing something wrong. Right?

Wrong! And that assumption is what education writer/VFA VP Sheila Tobias and high-school science chair Anne Baffert, backed by data from hundreds of teacher interviews and website postings, address in the clear, concise, jargon-free
Science Teaching as a Profession: Why It Isn't How It Could Be.

High-quality science education is an essential component of America's long-term prosperity and security. No one knows this better than the men and women who teach high-school science. But until now no one has asked them to describe the challenges that diminish their professional status: their loss of autonomy in the classroom; having little say in school and school-district policies; inflexible government-mandated tests, which increasingly are being used to judge not just their pupils' but their own competence; lack of support staff, and too much time-wasting “administrivia.”

“I am constantly amazed when I talk to teachers from my old district and tell them I am working at Starbucks, their response is 'Good for you.'” relates one former high-school science teacher, adding that she feels much more valued by Starbucks than she ever felt as a high-school science teacher.

It is not simply whether teachers are well paid or how well schools are doing on state tests. This insightful book shows that there are ways for science teachers, in collaboration with scientists and willing school administrators, to reverse this distrust of the teachers' judgment by allowing them a voice in decisions critical to classroom effectiveness, by providing sufficient support and ignoring inequities in power, the district and its teachers working together. The more important thrust is whether teachers' working conditions support excellent teaching and teacher retention.

Science Teaching as a Profession is an important read for not only science education professionals, but for anyone who cares about where we're headed educationally and how we're going to get there. Joan Michel

Contact Sheila Tobias: SheilaT@SheilaTobias.com

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He has access to some small town papers on-line and some bigger ones at the library, but thinks there are probably a lot he doesn't don't have. He says , "I'll l be happy to send an index of what I've got already so that people can figure out if they have something I don't have. Photos of events are even more appreciated. (It's actually easier to get photos of suffragists than 60s feminists !) All I need to do is scan them and then I can return them. I just know that there are shoe boxes full of photos from rallies, protests, and conventions out there between 1966 and 1974 that everyone on the mailing list would like to see if they were shared, and that don't appear in any publication, so only the person who took them has seen them. Local newsletters with coverage of major events are also quite useful!


I've been working on the "Feminist History E-Mail Archive" for about nine years and have a huge collection of feminist history. To get all this information I spend a day orso at the Central Library once a week looking through newspapers and copying and transcribing the most interesting or significant articles. Twice a week I send out four items from each of three phases of feminism (1848-1920) (1921-1965) (1966-1974 ). On Tuesday nights I send out a photo from 1848-1974.

WANT TO BE ON MY LIST? If you'd like to experience the final days of the suffrage fight, see what our ideological ancestors were doing in late 1938 or refresh your memories of "recent" times, let me know. You'll be placed on my list. It is free, so a bargain at twice the price! Once in a very long while I send out a "Timeline," a brief overview of an issue from Colonial times to the present in a chronological format. As of now, I have abortion rights, spousal abuse, marriage, and ERA. Soon I'll have something on women in the military and the Abortion rights movement.

An index of every clipping, newsletter article, press release, and photo that's gone out over the past nine years (listed in chronological order by the date of the event) is also available.

  • PLEASE HELP WITH MY RESEARCH: If you have copies of local feminist newsletters, newspaper articles and photos of feminist events from 1966 to 1974,
  • PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME. Photos will be returned if you wish.
  • And again, let me know what you're interested in. If you want to receive articles on certain topics only, (like E.R.A. articles).

Thanks! David


The four "Timelines" are posted on one of my websites:

D.M. Dismore
516 South Alexandria #103
Los Angeles, CA 90020

David Dismore, one of our few active male feminists, is a member of Los Angeles NOW and works out of the Feminist Majority Building in L.A. He was honored by VFA in 2004, with the late Judith Meuli and Southern California pioneer feminists.

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 Our Mission

Veteran Feminists of America

is a nonprofit organization for veterans of the Second Wave of the feminist movement. The goals are to enjoy the camaraderie forged during those years of intense commitment, to honor ourselves and our heroes, to document our history, to rekindle the spark and spirit of the feminist revolution and act as keeper of the flame so that the ideals of feminism continue to reverberate and influence others.

Contact VFA:

Veteran Feminists of America
PO Box 44551,
Phoenix, AZ 85064

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