Fast Facts

Fast Facts features women who have been leaders and “firsts” in government positions or government service including all of the women from the A Few Good Women (AFGW) oral history project at Penn State:  http://www.afgw.libraries.psu.edu/bios.html (Wikipedia Links to biographies of some of the women are included as a starting point for further research.)

 

 

 

 Madeleine Albright—(1937)—She was the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, from 1997-2001. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright

 

Virginia Allan—(?-1999)—As President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, she initiated the idea of a national network of state commissions on the status of women in 1963. In 1969, she was named chair of President Nixon's Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities. From that group came the report "A Matter of Simple Justice" and from its recommendations grew the Women's Equality Act of 1971. In 1972, she was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.  (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Anne Legendre Armstrong—(1927-2008)—She was elected Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1971. She was the first woman to deliver a keynote address at the Republican National Convention in 1972. She served on the president's Domestic Council, the Council on Wage and Price Stability, and the Commission on the Organization of Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy. In 1976 President Ford appointed her U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Armstrong

 

Elizabeth (Betty) Athanasakos—(?)—She was appointed by President Nixon to the Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in 1969, and chaired the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on the Rights and Responsibilities of Women for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1972 to 1976. In 1978 she served on the U. S. Delegation to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Romana Banuelos—(1925)—In 1971 she was confirmed as Treasurer of the United States. She was the first Mexican-American woman to hold the position of Treasurer of the United States. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romana_Acosta_Ba%C3%B1uelos

 

Catherine May Bedell—(1914-2004)—She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving six terms (1959-1971). She was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the United States International Trade Commission, serving from 1971-1981. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Dean_May

 

Helen Delich Bentley—(1923)—She served in the Nixon administration as Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985-1995. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Delich_Bentley

 

Carol Moseley-Braun—(1947)—She was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Moseley_Braun

 

Hattie Wyatt Caraway—(1878-1950)—She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932. She was the first woman to chair a Senate Committee and the first to serve as the Senate's presiding officer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_Caraway

Shirley Chisholm—(1924-2005)—She was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She served in Congress from 1969-1982. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Chisholm

 

Georgia Neese Clark—(1898-1995)—She was the first woman treasurer of the United States, serving from 1949-1953. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Neese_Clark

 

Hilary Rodham Clinton—(1947)—She is the 67th U. S. Secretary of State. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. She has the distinction of being the first woman who was a First Lady to be elected to Congress. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton

 

Judy Cole—(?)—In 1974, she became staff assistant to the President in the Office of Personnel, where she identified and recruited qualified women for presidential appointments. That same year she accepted the position of staff assistant to the Director of the Arms Control Disarmament Agency. Later in 1974, she moved to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs. Eventually she was back at the White House as a writer in the Office of Presidential Communications. She served the remainder of her government career in the Mergers II section at the Federal Trade Commission. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Evelyn Cunningham—(1916-2010)—She worked with the Pittsburgh Courier, then one of America's leading newspapers serving the African-American community across the nation. She produced and hosted for five years a popular radio program on WLIB in New York called "At Home with Evelyn Cunningham.” She was invited to become a member of the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities in 1969 and later served in several other positions in the White House. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Cunningham

 

Ruth M. Davis—(?)—She held many scientific positions in the federal government, rising to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Advanced Technology and later, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Resource Applications. She also served as Director of the Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, as the first Director of the National Center for Biomedical Communications at the National Institute of Health, and as Staff Assistant for Intelligence and Reconnaissance in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Elizabeth Dole—(1936)—She served as Deputy Assistant for Consumer Affairs from 1969-1973. After spending six years as a member of the Federal Trade Commission (from 1973-1979) she served as Assistant to President Reagan for Public Liaison from 1981 to 1983. She served as U. S. Secretary of Transportation from 1983 to 1987 and as Secretary of Labor from 1989 to 1990.  From 1990 to 2000 she was President of the American Red Cross. After her unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, she was elected to the U. S. Senate in 2002. She was the first woman to serve as departmental head of a branch of the military, the U. S. Coast Guard, during her years as Secretary of Transportation. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Dole

 

Catherine East—(1916-1996)—She served on the senior staff of every Presidential advisory commission on women from 1962 to 1977, where she researched and prepared position papers, publications, and reports on a variety of women’s issues including the Equal Rights Act, abortion, employment, education, family law, child-bearing, and child-rearing leave. She served as executive secretary on the first advisory commission on the status of women in 1963. One of the outcomes of the first commission was the formation of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

Julie Nixon Eisenhower—(1948)—The daughter of Richard M. Nixon, she was active in both of her father's presidential campaigns and during the Nixon administration, she traveled across the country, representing the White House on behalf of children's issues, the environment, and the elderly. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Nixon_Eisenhower

 

Geraldine Ferraro—(1935)—She was the first woman nominated by a major political party to run for Vice-President of the United States with presidential candidate, Walter Mondale. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldine_Ferraro

 

Barbara Hackman Franklin—(1940)—In 1971, she accepted a position as Staff Assistant to President Richard M. Nixon with the mission to recruit talented women into leadership positions in the federal government. After great success she was nominated and confirmed as Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the newly established Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1973. In 1992-93, she served as the 29th Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Franklin

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg—(1933)—She is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg took the oath of office August 10, 1993. She is the second female Justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor), and the first Jewish female Justice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg

 

Vera Glaser—(?-2008)—A Washington correspondent and bureau chief since 1963, Vera Glaser reported for the North American Newspaper Alliance, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Maturity News Service, and The Washingtonian magazine. She was a commentator on radio and television. In 1970, she served as a member of President Nixon’s Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Joyce H. Green—(?)—Starting in 1968, she served for 11 years on the District of Columbia bench. She became a federal judge on the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1979. She served as chairwoman of the Executive Women in Government in 1977. In 1988 Green was appointed to the U. S. Foreign Intelligence Court. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Cynthia Holcomb Hall—(1929)—In 1972 she was appointed to the United States Tax Court, upon which she sat until 1981, at which point she was appointed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Holcomb_Hall

 

Rita Hauser—(1934)—She was appointed by President Nixon as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Commission for Human Rights. In 1972, she co-chaired President Nixon’s national campaign. She was a consultant to the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Anna Mae McCabe Hays—(1920)—She became the first woman general in the U.S. Army in 1970.

 

Carla Anderson Hills—(1934)—She was appointed Assistant U. S. Attorney General in 1973 by Elliot L. Richardson. He resigned a short time later and the offer of the position was renewed in 1974 by his successor, William B. Saxbe. In 1975 President Gerald Ford appointed her Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She was the third woman in U. S. history to hold a cabinet-level position.  In 1989, she was appointed U. S. Trade Representative by President George H. W. Bush. She served as the primary U. S. negotiator of the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carla_Anderson_Hills

 

Vera Hirschberg—(?)—She served as President Nixon’s speechwriter and as director of women’s programs in the White House from 1972 to 1974. She then worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1974 to 1975 and in 1975 became the Deputy Special Assistant to the Secretary of Public Affairs in the Department of the Treasury, where she remained until becoming U. S. Senator William Roth (Jr)’s press secretary in 1977. She became the Public Affairs Director in the White House conference on Library and Information Services in 1978 and then worked as a speech writer for NASA beginning in 1980, where she remained until 1992. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Patricia Reilly Hitt—(1919-2006)—She was National Co-chair of the Nixon-Agnew Campaign in 1968, the first woman to hold such a post in either party. In January 1969, she was named Assistant Secretary for Community and Field Services, Department of Health, Education and Welfare. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Shirley Hufstedler—(1925)—She was a former federal judge who became the first U.S. Secretary of Education. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Hufstedler

 

Patricia Hutar—(1926-2010)—She was appointed to the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities. Later she was appointed to serve as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Commission of the Status of Women, and in that capacity was chair of the U.S. delegations to the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City. As a result of her interest in international women's affairs, she became the Founding President of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Darlene M. Iskra—(1952)—She was the first woman to take command of a U.S. Navy ship, the U.S.S. Opportune, in 1990.

 

Bobbie Kilberg—(1944)—In 1969, she was named a White House Fellow and served first on the staff of the Domestic Policy Council in the Nixon White House and then as a Staff Assistant to the President. She served as Associate Counsel to the President from 1975 to 1976 under President Gerald Ford. From 1989 to 1992, she served President George H. W. Bush as Deputy Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, directing all communications and policy relations between the White House and American interest groups. In late 1992 she became Director of the President’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and in 1998 was appointed to serve on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Legislative Compensation. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Virginia Knauer— (1915)—She was a special advisor on consumer affairs in the Nixon White House. She held similar positions under Presidents Ford and Reagan. Because of her expertise, she also served on the Cost of Living Council and a number of other White House domestic policy committees. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Knauer

 

Ann M. Korologos—(1941)—In 1971 she was hired as the communications director of the Nixon Reelection Campaign. She served as the 19th Secretary of Labor from 1987 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan. She was appointed Chairman of the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism in 1989 and from 1990 to 1995 she served as President of the Federal City Council in Washington, D. C. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_McLaughlin_Korologos

 

Esther Christian Lawton—(1910-1998)—In 1936 she began working in the Treasury Department, first in public relations, and then coordinating foreign intelligence reporting before the creation of the Office of Strategic Services. In 1942, she began work as a position classifier, the field where she would make extraordinary contributions over the next 38 years. She became Assistant Director in 1961 and Deputy Director of Personnel for the Treasury Department in 1972, then the highest ranking woman in the department. In 1961, she was the first woman elected president of the American Society for Public Administration. During the 1970s, Lawton was instrumental in developing lists of women qualified for supergrade positions and she worked closely with Barbara Franklin. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Carol Mayer Marshall—(1935)—In 1960, she went to work for the Republican National Committee as a researcher during the Nixon presidential campaign. She was recruited to the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) as a Legislative Assistant. She remained with OEO in various roles until 1973. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush nominated Carol Mayer Marshall to be Superintendent of the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, Department of the Treasury. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Betty Southard Murphy—(?)—In 1974 she was appointed Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, a position she held until 1975. She was appointed chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). She has tried cases and appeared in Federal and State Courts in more than 20 states, in 9 U. S. Courts of Appeals, and in the U. S. Supreme Court. She has had five Presidential appointments to special commissions, including the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U. S. Constitution and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Constance Berry Newman—(1935)—From 1969 to 1971 she served as Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In 1971 she was appointed Director of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), in which capacity she served until 1973. She served as Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1973 to 1976, serving in 1976 as Vice Chairman. She became the Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1976. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Berry_Newman

 

Antonia Novello—(1944)—She is the first Hispanic woman to be appointed U.S. Surgeon General from 1990-1993. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonia_Novello

 

Sandra Day O’Connor—(1930)—She was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Day_O'Connor

 

Ruth Bryan Owen—(1885-1994)—She is the first woman to represent the U.S. as a foreign minister. She was appointed by President Roosevelt as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark in 1933. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Bryan_Owen

 

Sarah Palin—(1964)—She is the youngest person and the first woman ever elected Governor of Alaska. She served as governor from 2006 until she resigned in 2009. Chosen by Republican Party presidential candidate John McCain in August 2008 to be his running mate in that year's presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party, as well as the first female vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin

 

Sallyanne Payton—(?)—In 1971 she began work on the White House Domestic Council staff. In 1973 she became Chief Counsel of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the Department of Transportation. She served on the President’s Commission on National Health Care Reform during the Clinton Administration, and sat on the national steering committee of Lawyers for Bush-Quayle in the 1992 Presidential Election. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Nancy Pelosi—(1940)—She was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives, elected in 2007, reelected Speaker in 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Pelosi

 

Frances Perkins—(1880-1965)—She was the first woman ever appointed to a cabinet position. She served as Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945 in the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Perkins

 

Susan Porter—(?)—From 1971 to 1972 she served as Assistant Director of Correspondence and from 1972 to 1974 was Director of Scheduling for First Lady Pat Nixon. She was Director of Scheduling for First Lady Betty Ford from 1974 to 1977. From 1977 to 1979 she served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, and from 1978 to 1981 she was Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Management Division of the U. S. Department of Justice. From 1981 to 1993 she served as chief of staff to First Lady Barbara Bush. She served as Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States and then served as commissioner of the U. S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1993 to 1998. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Jeanette Rankin—(1880-1973)—She was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives from Montana, becoming the first female member of Congress in 1916. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeannette_Rankin

 

Condoleezza Rice—(1954)—She was the first woman appointed to the key foreign policy post of National Security Advisor. She served as Secretary of State from 2005-2009 in the administration of President George W. Bush. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condoleezza_Rice

 

Alice Robertson—(1854-1931)—She was the first woman to chair the House of Representatives on July 20, 1921. She was the second woman ever elected to congress after Jeanette Rankin. She was also the first woman to defeat an incumbent congressman from the state of Oklahoma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Mary_Robertson

 

Eleanor Roosevelt—(1884-1962)—She was the first chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women. Her husband was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and she was First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Roosevelt

 

Nellie Tayloe Ross—(1876-1977)—She was inaugurated as the first woman governor in U.S. history as Governor of Wyoming from 1925-1927. She was the first female Director of the National Mint from 1933-1953. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Tayloe_Ross

   

Georgiana Sheldon Sharp—(?)—She served as Director of the Agency for International Development. She was Acting Chairman and Commissioner of the U. S. Civil Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She served on the President’s Commission on Executive Exchange, co-chaired the International Women’s Year Committee of the Department of Defense, and served on the Foreign Service Board of the Employee Management Relations Commission. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Margaret Chase Smith—(1897-1995)—She was the first woman to be elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate. She was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency in 1964 at the Republican convention. When she left office, Smith had the record as the longest-serving female senator in United States history, ranking 11th in seniority among the members of the Senate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Chase_Smith

 

Sonia Sotomayer—(1954)—She is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice.

 

Constance Cornell Stuart—(?)—She served in four administrations: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. She began her service in the federal government in 1969 when she was appointed Staff Director and Press Secretary to First Lady Pat Nixon. From 1973-1977, she became Director of the International Visitor’s Program at the U. S. Department of State. In 1981 she was appointed Press Secretary at the U. S. Department of Energy, and in 1985 she became Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Energy. She left the federal government in 1989. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Brereton Sturtevant—(?)—In 1971, she was appointed by President Nixon as Examiner-in-Chief for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Appeals, the first woman to hold such a position. She remained in office through the presidencies of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, retiring in 1988. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Paula Adams Tennant—(?)—In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Tennant to the U.S. Board of Parole, where she played a significant role over a number of years in reforming the federal parole process. In 1983, President Reagan appointed her to the U.S. Parole Commission. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

Gloria Toote—(1931)—From 1973 to 1975 she served as Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She was vice chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Private Sector Initiatives from 1983 to 1985. She served as vice chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women, and was a member of the Republican National Committee’s Council of Economic Affairs, from 1984 to 1992. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

Ethel Walsh—(1924-2004)—She became director of the Office of Advisory Councils in the Small Business Association in 1969. She served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 1971 to 1981. She chaired the Commission twice, the first woman to do so. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Margita E. White—(1938-2002)—In1973, she was named Assistant Director for Public Information at the U.S. Information Agency. In 1975, she returned to the White House as, first, Assistant Press Secretary and, then, Director of the restored Office of Communications for President Ford. In 1976, she was appointed to a two-year term on the Federal Communications Commission. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website)

 

Marina Whitman—(1935)—In 1972, she served as a member of the Price Commission and as the first female member of the Council of Economic Advisors until 1973. From 1979 to 1992, she was an executive and chief economist for General Motors Corporation. Since 1992, she has been Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. (Featured on the AFGW special collections website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_von_Neumann_Whitman

 

Victoria Woodhull—(1838-1927)—She was the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Woodhull