|B. 01-27-1934, Edith Cresson, France's first
woman prime minister, served from May 15, 1991, to April 2, 1992. A
longtime socialist, she had previously held the ministerial posts of agriculture,
tourism, foreign trade, and European affairs. She was major of two French
cities. EC was noted for her outspoken personality and as premier defended
France's economic interests and social equality. A European-wide recession
enabled President Mitterand to replace her with a man.
In 1971, ONLY 29 years ago, in Reed
v Reed the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a law that blatantly
stated that men should be preferred over women for appointments as administrators
of decedents' estates.
It was far-reaching because it marked the first time
the high court ever overturned a law in response to a woman's complaint
of unfair sex-based discrimination. The complaint was handled by Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, who briefed and argued SIX precedent-setting sex-based
discriminations cases before the Supreme Court.
RBG was appointed to the U. S. Supreme Court by President
Bill Clinton in 1993. Like Janet Reno whom Clinton appointed U.S. Attorney
General, Ginsburg ranked extremely high in law school. Neither Reno not
Ginsburg were offered one single job after graduation in law firms.
Tradition has it that Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross,
U. S. Revolutionary War activist sewed and displayed the first America
stars and stripes flag. Historians discount the legend but, of course,
they failed to mention that someone - almost certainly a woman - DID make
the first flag even if it wasn't BR. And Betsy Ross did make flags for
the Pennsylvania navy in 1777.
Born 08-01-1818, Maria Mitchell, American astronomer,
was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She was also elected to Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1905. MM established
the orbit of a new comet in 1847 using her home telescope while working
days as a librarian. It thrust her into international prominence but no
offers of work were forthcoming (like Ruth Ginsburg and Janet Reno above)
in the field. While male astronomers of lesser fame were being given lucrative
positions, she could not gain employment in the field.
In 1858 a group of feminists gave her a large telescope
so she could continue her work because. In 1865 MM became the much admired
professor of astronomy at Vassar Female College and director of its observatory.
She founded the Association for the Advancement of Women in 1873.
Born on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, she showed
a precocious interest in science and mathematics as a child. ("The
stars seem so close when looking at them from the sea...")
As a teenager MM worked at Nantucket's Athenaeum during the day and taught
herself astronomy by reading books. She was completely self-taught in the
sciences and astronomy.
As the honored Vassar professor, MM was a pioneer
in the daily photography of sunspots and was the first to discover that
they were not clouds but whirling vortices of gas on the sun's surface.
She also studied solar eclipses, double stars, nebulas, and the satellites
of Saturn and Jupiter. An observatory was erected in her honor on Nantucket.