Kathryn Clarenbach, an invisible woman in history, was one of the founders of the National Organization for Women and the founding chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was on the front line of the second-wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s. Thank you to the University of Wisconsin for documenting her accomplishments (and to my brother-in-law for sending me the article he read in his alumni publication!). In recognition of this discovery, I profile some of the other women on those front lines with Clarenbach in this article. Match the woman with her accomplishment:
____ 1. A civil rights activist, she was arrested and imprisoned in her efforts to end segregation on public busses.
____ 2. The first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, her autobiography is titled Unbought and Unbossed.
____ 3. A strong advocate for women’s rights and civil rights in general, she introduced the first gay rights bill into the U.S. Congress.
____ 4. Her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, is credited with sparking the second wave of feminism.
____ 5. She launched Ms. Magazine in January 1972.
A. Betty Friedan
B. Pauli Murray
C. Gloria Steinem
D. Shirley Chisholm
E. Bella Abzug
On the front lines and co-founder of the National Organization for Women and the National Women’s Political Caucus, Betty Friedan’s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of feminism. The book, based on her survey of other Smith College alums like herself, found a desire among women for more than the traditional role of housewife and mother. A force for change, Friedan had a hand in almost every advance for women in the 1960s and 1970s. Friedan was the recipient of many honors including induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
A co-founder of the National Organization for Women, Pauli Murray was active in the civil rights movement. In 1938, she began her efforts to matriculate at the then all-white University of North Carolina. Her attempts led to success for others beginning in 1951. She was also active in efforts to end segregation on public busses for which she was arrested and imprisoned. Murray eventually became a lawyer, working for civil rights, although she became disenchanted with the way women were treated by the male civil rights leaders. Murray was the first African-American woman to become an Episcopal priest in 1977.
A co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus Gloria Steinem is well-known for her journalism career that included founding both New York and Ms. magazines. Like Friedan, Steinem was a graduate of Smith College. However, since she had taken care of her mother as a small child, she was not interested in marrying and experiencing the traditional homemaker role. In 1971, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus which works on behalf of women’s issues. Ms. Magazine was launched as an independent magazine with its January 1972 issue. Still actively working on social justice and women’s issues worldwide in her 80s, Steinem has received many awards including induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
A co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress. A representative from New York City, Chisholm served for seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1969, she was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1972, she campaigned for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President (the first African American), receiving 151 delegate votes. Her autobiography is titled Unbought and Unbossed. Chisholm has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
A co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Bella Abzug is remembered as a fierce fighter for women’s rights. Serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971-1977, Abzug advocated for the rights of women and civil rights in general, introducing the first gay rights bill in Congress. She wore her trademark hats everywhere as she said that they symbolized working women. She also wore purple, her favorite color, the color of the suffragettes and in honor of the poem “When I am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple.” Abzug has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These women on the front lines of the second wave of feminism are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I am proud to tell their stories and help write them back into history.
(Answers 1-B, 2-D, 3-E, 4-A, 5-C)