The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement - Women's History Month

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Episode #WHM-03 for Day 3
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Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
 who is solely responsible for its content.

Contents of this article may be freely reprinted for educational and nonprofit use.
We would appreciate credit and request that the philosophy of the material not be changed.

Jerrie Cobb (b. 03-05-1931) pilot, was the first woman to qualify as an American astronaut and was the first astronaut rejected because she was a woman.
      At 21 JC had become the only female international ferry pilot in the United States. As chief pilot, she flew over wild terrain and mountains, once being arrested as a spy after a forced landing in South America.
      JC passed the same 87 physical and psychological tests administered by NASA in the selection of the original seven male astronauts. Several women, including Cobb, surpassed the test results of the men who were chosen (including John Glenn).
      NASA officials admitted later in a Congressional investigation that they had no intentions of allowing women to pilot space craft.
      JC is one of the four Americans to hold the Golden Wings of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and was chosen 1959 pilot of the year by the National Pilot's association.
      She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her piloting of medical supplies into dangerous South American locations. Two of the other noted women pilots tested by NASA (and passed the tests) were Wally Funk and Bernice Steadman.
      When John Glenn was selected as a senior citizen to return to space, many of Jerrie Cobb's friends and admirerers campaigned to get her into space.
      The efforts to honor Jerrie Cobb faied and Glenn went up and endangered the mission, a fact that was kept secret for a long time. NASA attempted to cover up Glenn's physical breakdown in space that almost caused an abort, amongst other things.

Janet Guthrie (b. 03-07-1938) an aerospace engineer, was one of the first four women to qualify for the scientist- astronaut program of NASA and then disqualified when a Ph.D. was made a requirement.
      Guthrie was the first woman to drive in the Indianapolis 500, finishing ninth in 1978. Her other races had engine trouble.
      The race officials did not even allow women in the repair and refueling pits at the Indy until a lawsuit in 1972.
      Guthrie could fly more than 20 types of aircraft. She was named to the Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 - but never an astronaut although dozens of men were part of the program who did not have advanced degrees.

Event 02-05-1777, Georgia's constitution abrogated the European male prerogative of entail and primogeniture, those two bulwarks of ancient patriarchal thievery.
      Under primogeniture, the eldest male received all the inheritance and women - even the wife - got nothing. When there were no male children (even though there might be girl children), the estate went to the oldest male distant relative.
      Hand-in-hand with primogeniture were the laws which gave ALL property (including clothes) owned by a woman, or her income from her own work to her husband or father.
      Thomas Jefferson abolished primogeniture for Virginia in 1776 and the other colonies followed suit.
      The Napoleonic Code abolished it in France after their own revolution but it wasn't until 1925 that the Administration of Estates Act abolished it in England. However, some estates are still bound to primageniture.
      Modern laws attempt to protect wives and equalize the distribution of inheritance between sons and daughters but trusts and personal prejudices continually tip inheritances towards the male of the line.

© 1990-2006 Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71902. Originally web-published at We are indebted to Irene Stuber for compiling this collection and for granting us permission to make it available again. The text of the documents may be freely copied for nonprofit educational use. Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are © 1998-2009 the liz library.  All rights reserved. This site is hosted and maintained by the liz library.