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

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Episode #WHM-06 for Day 6
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Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
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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.

© 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.