Women’s History Month – March 2022

1    Georgia Bullock (1874 or’78-1957) was the first female superior court judge.  Widowed, with 2 children, she entered school to get her degree in 1914. She helped form Phii Delta Delta, a legal society for women, in 1912. As Los Angeles deputy District Attorney, she became the first female member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. In 1924 she was appointed judge in a women’s court, and in 1931 she was appointed LA Superior Court judge.  Although she received death threats, she continued to serve, including 25 years in the Los Angeles Supreme Court.

2   Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005) was an American jurist and politician. A key strategist of the civil rights movement, she was state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan in New York City before becoming a United States federal judge.[1][2] She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund as a staff attorney in 1946 after receiving her law degree, and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years.[3] She was the first Black woman to argue at the Supreme Court[4] and argued 10 landmark civil rights cases, winning nine. She was a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall, aiding him in the case Brown v. Board of Education.[5] Motley was also the first African-Americanwoman appointed to the federal judiciary, serving as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[2] She died on September 28, 2005 in New York City of congestive heart failure.[6]

3    The March edition of Smithsonian Magazine featured Pearl Kendrick (1890-1980) and Grace Eldering (1900-1988), who were responsible for developing the vaccine controlling pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough.  Interestingly enough, the rate of occurrence of this ugly deadly disease has increased recently, because of the growing anti-vaccination trend.  Highly recommend article!

The two women were working under limited conditions, but were successful in running viable trials and tests of the vaccine in 1932. At that time, opportunities for women in research were limited, and public health was one of the few areas available.  The two women initially set out to diagnose the disease faster so that victims could be isolated. Just seven months after isolating the pathogen, they developed the first successful vaccine. They devised new and successful clinical trials. Much of the success of current vaccination practices have come because of the efforts of Kendrick and Eldering.

4    Ellen Mosley-Thompson is a glaciologist and climatologist. She is a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) and Director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at OSU. She is known as a pioneer in the use of ice cores from the Polar Regions for paleoclimatic research and is an influential figure in climate science.  She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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6    Jacqueline Cochran (May 11, 1906 – August 9, 1980) was an American pilot and business executive. She pioneered women’s aviation as one of the most prominent racing pilots of her generation. She set numerous records and was the first woman to break the sound barrier on 18 May 1953. Cochran was the wartime head of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) (1943–1944) (along with Nancy Love) which employed about 1000 civilian American women in a non-combat role to ferry planes.

7     President Zelensky of Ukraine told lawmakers, “I do not want my picture in your offices; the President is not an icon or a portrait.  Hang your kids’ photos instead, and look at them each time you are making a decision.”

9   Pandita Ramabai  Born as Rama Dongre in 1858 in Gangamoola, India, to Brahmin parents, Pandita Ramabai was a champion of women’s rights and a social reformer. Despite the many prohibitions against women, Ramabai’s father, a Sanskrit scholar, taught his daughter the Hindu sacred texts. After his death, she continued his research and teaching at Calcutta University and was the first woman to be awarded the title Pandita for her scholarship.

She married a Bengali man outside her caste, which was socially frowned upon in her time. Her enlightened husband shared her passion for women’s issues, and they hoped to start a school for widowed child-brides, but he died less than two years after their marriage. They had one daughter, who worked closely with her mother, though she died suddenly a year before Ramabai’s death in 1922.

Ramabai continued her work on women’s issues, promoting education and an end to child marriage. To Lord Ripon’s Education Commission, she suggested that because men are not supportive of women’s education, women themselves should be trained as teachers and school inspectors in India. Additionally, she argued that if according to custom only a woman could provide medical care for gynecological issues, then women should be allowed to study medicine in order to do so. This sensational advice was carried all the way to Queen Victoria. The next year, Ramabai went to Britain to study medicine. There she converted to Christianity after spending time with the Wantage Sisters, an Anglican religious community. She also joined a mission that ministered to former prostitutes.

Ramabai returned to India and started the Mukti Mission, a home for widows and orphans. As a supporter of the movement for Indian freedom from colonial rule, Ramabai was one of ten female delegates of the Indian Congress of 1889. She translated the Bible into Marathi, the language of her birth, spoken in Western India. To this day, her Mukti Mission in Mumbai still provides the same much-needed services that Ramabai first offered more than a century ago.

10    In the late 1800s, Mary Langdon built a business that covered hundreds of miles along the Pacific Coast in a male-dominated industry. The story of Mary Langdon’s chosen career caused a stir in newsrooms across the nation in the 1890s. Some women had been known to drive a stagecoach from time to time, sure, but the management side of the business remained heavily dominated by men. Langdon was more than just an occasional stagecoach driver. She was also a stagecoach owner and a Wells Fargo contractor. And at the age of 19, she defied the odds and created a stagecoach empire.  By Alyssa Bentz, Wells Fargo Corporate Historian

11   Marie Maynard Daly (April 16, 1921- October 28, 2003) was an American biochemist. She was the first African-American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Overcoming the dual hurdles of racial and gender bias, Marie Maynard Daly (1921–2003) conducted important studies on cholesterol, sugars, and proteins. In addition to her research, she was committed to developing programs to increase the enrollment of minority students in medical school and graduate science programs. The title of her dissertation was “A Study of the Products Formed by the Action of Pancreatic Amylase on Corn Starch.” She was awarded her doctoral degree in 1947, only three years after enrolling in the program, and was the first African American woman to obtain a PhD in chemistry in the United States.  Daly’s early research included studies of the effects of cholesterol on the mechanics of the heart, the effects of sugars and other nutrients on the health of arteries, and the breakdown of the circulatory system as a result of advanced age or hypertension. Later she studied how proteins are produced and organized in the cell.

12    Bertha Cain Baugh was a pioneer in the Vancouver/Portland area for members of the African-American community. She was a teacher, an activist, and a fighter for equal rights up until the day she died. Baugh passed away in 2017 but her legacy lives on.

“She has been a soldier for the NAACP from the beginning. She and her husband David were founding members of the Vancouver branch.”

Her family has spent their lives fighting for others and helping others to have a better life. The new homeless shelter in Vancouver set to open in early 2022 will be called Bertha’s Place.  Dale Baugh says this is a great tribute to his aunt Bertha.

13    Chiang-Shung Wu (1912-1997) was a Chinese American physicist. During the Manhattan Project, she worked at Columbia University, helping develop the process for separating uranium metal into U-235 and U-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion. This process was replicated at a grand scale at the K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge. She also developed improved Geiger counters for measuring nuclear radiation levels. She is believed to have been the only Chinese person to have worked on the Manhattan Project. Unable to find a research position at a university, Wu became a physics instructor at Princeton University and at Smith College. In 1944, she joined the Manhattan Project at the Substitute Alloy Materials (SAM) Lab at Columbia University, focusing on radiation detectors. When the B Reactor at Hanford mysteriously shut down soon after it began operating, Wu helped identify poisoning by xenon-135 as the culprit. Wu continued making significant contributions throughout her life and won several awards and honors. In 1958, her research helped answer important biological questions about blood and sickle cell anemia. She was also the first woman to serve as president of the American Physical Society. Her awards include the National Medal of Science, the Comstock Prize, and the first honorary doctorate awarded to a woman at Princeton University. She also won the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her book Beta Decay, published in 1965, is still a standard reference for nuclear physicists.

14    Bonnie Gay Leake (1945 – 2021)  Early in her career she was hired on with Union Pacific railroad as a clerk and after 9 years Bonnie became the first woman locomotive engineer at Union Pacific. She had a long and very successful career with them, retiring in 2007. Being the first woman locomotive engineer presented a variety of challenges in those days, but Bonnie rose to the occasion and had a very successful career.  As always she rose to the occasion and succeeded and had a lot of fun along the way.   The job required Leake to operate trains from Las Vegas to Milford, Utah, and to California’s Mojave Desert.  She often made 30 10-to-12 hour trips per month.

15    Equal Pay Day:  Today, March 15, marks how far into the new year the average American woman has to work to make the same amount as her male counterpart made the previous year. That means right now, women are working 14 and a half months to make the same as men make in 12 months.

16   US Department of Transportation has a “Timeline of Women in Transportation History” which is full of fascinating information…here are some transportation firsts:

January 1, 1900:  Anne Rainsford French Bush, apparently the first woman to receive a license to drive a car, obtained a “steam engineer’s license,” which entitled her to operate a “four-wheeled vehicle powered by steam or gas.”

Mary Wallace, Chicago; Jill Vinei, London; and Mary Eatman, Detroit, all became commercial bus drivers for their cities in the 1970’s.

17     In honor of the first female astronomer, the observatory in Nantucket was named the Maria Mitchell Observatory. Additionally, the Maria Mitchell Association, also in Nantucket; a World War II ship, the SS Maria Mitchell; and a crater on the moon (“Mitchell’s Crater”) were named after her.  Maria Mitchell was also the first American scientist to discover a comet, which brought her international acclaim. Additionally, she was an early advocate for science and math education for girls and the first female astronomy professor.  Over the years, she became involved in the anti-slavery movement and suffrage movements. After the Civil War, Vassar College founder Matthew Vassar recruited Mitchell to join the faculty, where she had access to a twelve-inch telescope, the third largest in the United States, and began to specialize in the surfaces of Jupiter and Saturn. She defied social conventions by having her female students come out at night for class work and celestial observations, and she brought noted feminists to her observatory to speak on political issues, among them Julia Ward Howe. Mitchell also was a leader in the formation of the American Association for the Advancement of Women (AAW), which later became the American Association of University Women.

18   Helen Eugenie Moore Anderson, née Eugenie Moore, (born May 26, 1909, Adair, Iowa, U.S.—died March 31, 1997, Red Wing, Minn.), American diplomat, the first woman to serve in the post of U.S. ambassador. In 1949, Truman appointed her ambassador to Denmark. In that capacity, Anderson helped negotiate the Greenland Pact that allowed the United States to use air bases in Greenland, and she became the first American woman to sign a treaty — the Treaty of Commerce, Friendship and Navigation with Denmark, which she drafted.

“She was proud, obviously, to be the first woman appointed as an ambassador, but she didn’t want to be remembered or thought of always as the first woman,” said Mary Dupont, author or the book, “Mrs. Ambassador: The Life and Politics of Eugenie Anderson”  and Anderson’s granddaughter. “She wanted to be a good ambassador.”

19   Elizabeth Ann Wendlandt, known to many as Ann,  was more than just a contributing member-of Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center;  she exemplified what it means to be a good steward, to care deeply about a place and a community. Ann met her husband, Jim Wendlandt, at the Mt. Hood lodge of the Mazamas’ mountaineering club, and for 65 years they visited every nook and cranny of Oregon. If you named a small creek in Oregon, she had been there and knew exactly where it was. 

She was an early recycler, saving scrap metal to help the war effort, and remained vigilant and outspoken about reducing, reusing and recycling throughout her life. She was especially passionate about reducing single-use plastic and minimizing its impact on the environment. 

Because of her devotion to Oregon’s environment and her passion for reducing single-use plastics, we are naming our zero waste summer internship program after her to help inspire future environmental leaders in our state, especially on issues related to plastic pollution. 

The Elizabeth Ann Wendlandt internship is designed to help train the next generation of environmental leaders by instilling the skills, ethics, and drive it takes to win campaigns. 

20     A recent ‘Time’ magazine highlighted women of the year.  One is Amal Clooney, George Clooney’s wife.  She is a human rights lawyer particularly for women.  She calls what she does as waging justice for victims of human-rights abuses.  She has helped women in Malawi, Darfur, Egypt, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, and Tanzania helping to liberate victims and prosecute perpetrators. Right now she is working as a special advisor to the International Criminal Court.  She has been working on Yezidi cases in an attempt to respond to the worst system of sexual abuse and slavery of women.

Her foundation’s flagship program for women is called Waging Justice for Women  They work hand in hand with local women’s groups using a data-driven approach, fighting injustice against women through strategic litigation to reform discriminatory laws and increase accountability for gender-based abuse.

21    Frances Oldham Kelsey (July 24, 1914 – August 7, 2015) was a Canadian-American[1] pharmacologist and physician. As a reviewer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she refused to authorize thalidomide for market because she had concerns about the lack of evidence regarding the drug’s safety.[2] Her concerns proved to be justified when it was shown that thalidomide caused serious birth defects. Kelsey’s career intersected with the passage of laws strengthening FDA oversight of pharmaceuticals. Kelsey was the second woman to receive the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, awarded to her by John F. Kennedy in 1962.

23     Madeline Albright was born Marie Jean “Madlenka” Korbel on May 15, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  Albright Americanized her name to Madeleine, became a U.S. citizen in 1957, and earned a B.A. in political science with honors from Wellesley College in 1959.  She earned the Ph.D. in Public Law and Government at Columbia University in 1976.  Albright served as chief legislative assistant to Senator Edmund Muskie (D-Me) from 1976 to 1978.  From 1978 to 1981, she served as a staff member in the White House under President Jimmy Carter and on the National  Security Council under National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In 1982 she was appointed Research Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Director of its Women in Foreign Service Program.  In 1993 she was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations by President Clinton and served in the position until her appointment as Secretary of State in 1996.  As Secretary of State, Albright promoted the expansion of NATO eastward into the former Soviet bloc nations and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics to rogue nations, successfully pressed for military intervention under NATO auspices during the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo in 1999, supported the expansion of free-market democratization and the creation of civil societies in the developing world, favored the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change, and furthered the normalization of relations with Vietnam.

Albright served as chief legislative assistant to Senator Edmund Muskie (D-Me) from 1976 to 1978. From 1978 to 1981, she served as a staff member in the White House under President Jimmy Carter and on the National Security Council under National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.In 1982 she was appointed Research Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Director of its Women in Foreign Service Program. In 1993 she was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations by President Clinton and served in the position until her appointment as Secretary of State in 1996. As Secretary of State, Albright promoted the expansion of NATO eastward into the former Soviet bloc nations and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics to rogue nations, successfully pressed for military intervention under NATO auspices during the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo in 1999, supported the expansion of free-market democratization and the creation of civil societies in the developing world, favored the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change, and furthered the normalization of relations with Vietnam.

24     Tu Youyou  is the first mainland Chinese scientist to receive a Nobel Prize in a scientific category.  She was born in 1930.  She is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and malariologist.  Tu’s first triumph over an infectious disease was her recovery from tuberculosis as a teenager, an experience that inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. History will remember her for her role in discovering artemisinin, a drug that has prevented millions of deaths from malaria. Artemisinin is derived from sweet wormwood, a plant used in traditional Chinese remedies. Tu has described her team’s findings, published in English in 1979, as “a gift from traditional Chinese medicine to the world.” The discovery earned her a Nobel Prize  and won humanity important ground in the battle against one of history’s deadliest diseases. 

25    Ketanjio Brown Jackson…..we’re watching history unfold! The first black woman nominated to be a  Supreme Court Justice.  THE SENATE HEARINGS WERE SOMETHING ELSE TO WATCH,  even several times embarrassing.  I certainly hope she gets appointed.