Woman to Woman

(photo source: dailymail.co.uk, ©EPA)

In 1984, a gal I knew from Queens, New York, where I grew up, became the first woman to be nominated and run for Vice President of the United States of America. What an honor it was knowing Gerry Ferraro. Thirty-two years later, I watched TV as a neighbor of mine in Chappaqua was nominated for President. It was a remarkable moment for women and girls as Hillary turned to a room full of girls and asked “Who’s next?” My mind rushed to recall some of the women I admired who broke barriers in their fields… Madeleine Albright, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billy Jean King, Althea Gibson, Lena Horne, Golda Meir, Serena Williams, and here in Westchester, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. I thought also about authors who dazzled me as a girl such as Pearl S. Buck, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and Edith Wharton, the first to win a Pulitzer Prize.

And what about the ladies who broke glass ceilings in the arts?  Some who came to mind are Kitty Carlisle Hart, who for two decades chaired the New York State Council on the Arts, soprano Beverly Sills, the first chairwoman of Lincoln Center, Doris Freedman, first director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, paving the way for folks like me to serve in the arts in New York City. Ellen V. Futter became the first woman director of the American Museum of Natural History and later, Emily K. Rafferty served as the first woman President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Halfway into it, I began to wonder: Where am I going with this long list of accomplished women?  True, I looked up to them, but not because they were “firsts,” but because in a small way, their success was empowering to me and other young ladies from ordinary backgrounds who dared to dream. I shudder when I hear people say that women don’t help other women. First of all, it’s not true. Second, we’re getting better at it all the time. Third, we need to turn around that myth by telling each other the stories of women who have helped us. If you have a story, please tell it here.

(photo source: dailymail.co.uk, ©EPA)

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One Response to “Woman to Woman”

  1. July 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Thank you Janet. Put yourself in one of the great women who have made a possitive difference in people’s lives. You have brought wonderful art to Westchester and shared your well written ideas, feelings and events with us. You make our lives interactive challenge us in the best way.

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