The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement

IRENE STUBER (1928-2010)
author of Women of Achievement

Irene Stuber at the Clinton House
    Don't let anyone tell you there weren't notable and effective women throughout history.  They were always there, but historians failed to note them in their HIStories, so that the women of each generation have had to reinvent themselves
    left, Irene Stuber, 1995, at the Clinton boyhood home house in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. The photo is from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
        Irene Stuber at the Women's Hall of Fameright, Irene Stuber at the Women's Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, New York, September, 1997.
        Photo by Paula Levine

Author, activist, mother, grandmother, and career investigative reporter, Irene Stuber was the driving force behind "Women of Achievement" (originally archived at Irene's domain, Catts Claws and the "Women's Internet Information Network" (1995-2006). Not content to settle into retirement, Irene decided to let the women of the world know that their accomplishments and contributions shall not be left out of the chronicles of humankind.

      Irene Stuber at NOW conferenceIrene Stuber was the nominating chair of the 1993 National Organization for Women conference. She is shown, right, at the podium presenting the two approved slates for the first contested NOW election in a dozen years. Patricia Ireland, who was elected president for her first full term, stands behind Ms. Stuber and Kim Gandy, vice-president, is seated at the laptop. At the time, Ms. Stuber was president of Arkansas NOW.

Irene Stuber: Raising Hell on the Web

By Mary Ann Costello
"The Hellraiser" article originally published in Mother Jones Magazine August 9, 1996

"I was born a woman with an IQ more than 50.
Of course I'm a feminist."
            -- Irene Stuber, Web publisher & hellraiser

Last year (1995) Irene Stuber took a good look at the World Wide Web and found a man's world. Amidst the clamor of gun control activists, religious conservatives, progressive political parties -- just about any group with a point of view -- she found that the women's side of the story was in danger of going untold. So Stuber, a 67-year-old retired Florida newspaper journalist, launched her own women's Web nexus, Catt's Claws, and women's voices got a little bit louder.

"The same thing was missing on the Internet as was missing in our daily newspapers and news magazines: information about what is happening to women in the U.S. and the world," says Stuber."For example, monthly I have been posting information about an abortion pills method that is legal and available today. I post information about condom use, birth control, etc. Each month women write amazed. This may be 'old' information, but women don't have access to it in today's society."

In Stuber's eyes, the new media provided a unique opportunity for women to discuss their local problems and put them into a global perspective. Catt's Claws set out to do just that.

"While reading our newspapers, we may think 'Oh my, how awful' about one murder after a lengthy stalking in our hometown and see it as an isolated miscarriage of justice," she says. "Catt's Claws, by showing the same thing is happening in Wyoming, New York, California, Alabama, and Iowa, reveals that there is a pattern of discrimination and abuse of women and children's rights and safety -- an institutionalized abuse that is not being addressed by our government and law enforcement agencies."

Indeed, Catt's Claws has been the chronicle of 'herstory' on the Web, and has been a source of inspiration to a younger generation of women Web publishers.

Laurie Mann, a 30-something feminist who coordinates the Women Leaders Online Web site, says Stuber is "my role model as I age -- an interesting/take-no-prisoners woman who won't kowtow to anyone and who will grow and change with the times."

Stuber says that she chose her role model for the same reasons. "That's why I named my column after Carrie Chapman Catt, who was so single-minded in her drive towards women's enfranchisement that we got it. She marched into Congress and into the state legislatures and into the White House and confronted men face to face."

Catt's Claws is put together by a "cast of thousands," says Stuber, since much of the content comes from the more than 150 email messages she receives every day. With an invisible budget, (in fact, much of the cost has come out of Stuber's pocket), the site has a voluntary workforce, comprised of a proofreader, a mailing list administrator, and a Web designer. "My work is limited to gathering the information, writing it, and then sending it to a few people who then do the major distribution," she says.

Catt's Claws began as a "protest" against the National Organization for Women's absence from the Internet, Stuber says. An active member of NOW, she began petitioning them to build a Website in July of 1994. Nothing happened.

"In January of 1995 I said 'to hell with them' and launched Catt's Claws." Six weeks later, NOW launched their site.

Stuber says that sometimes her family has told her that she "should be sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair instead of in front of a computer screen raising hell with the status quo."

Let's take up a collection for a laptop.

This article, by Susan Moll, was featured online in the

Vol. XXXII: Sense

"Women's rights are young and tender and we must protect them from the plagues of holy hypocrisy and newts."

The above passage, written by Irene Stuber, marked the scratch heard 'round the world: the debut of Catt's Claws.

Named for Carrie Chapman Catt, the second (and later the fourth) president of the National Women's Suffrage Association, which strove for the ratification of the19th Amendment (that's the one that gave women the right to vote, for those of you who napped through your American history classes), Catt's Claws is a newsletter for all things feminist.

Stuber, formerly the president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, began editing Catt's Claws in 1995.

"I desperately wanted information to be disseminated among women about what is happening to women throughout the nation - the world - information that women aren't getting in their daily newspapers or on radio or TV," said Stuber in a recent interview.

"Women have absolutely no idea of what methods are working in California - if they live in Maine or Texas, or vice versa.They read about a rape or two a year, perhaps in their daily newspapers and don't realize that thousands of women are raped every day throughout this country and that it is not a rare thing, but a national disgrace - and that something has to be done about it. It is a GROWING sickness, or as I write often, there is something very wrong in the way we are raising our sons.

"Then Catt's Claws just sort of grew - and I found myself putting out information that the daily papers/TV or magazines ignore such as birth control information, or a medical breakthrough on abortions - information that is usually kept very, very quiet," she said.

"And if it's something that has been known to some and not passed around, then I go into one of my rants. Catt's Claws was originally sent out to less than 100 people whom I'd corresponded with on Internet. Each day would bring in more and more subscription requests. It literally took off like wildfire. I have never promoted it in any way. I simply say what I think should be said. If you want to read it, fine, I'll send it to you. If you don't, take care of yourself and goodbye."

The newsletter's subscribers hail from every corner of the globe, including many regions of Africa, Asia, and Europe. "But as you know, the subscription list is only the tip of the claw - almost everyone appears to be forwarding the column to many other readers ... it seems to have a life of its own," said Stuber.

Regardless of their geographical locale, readers are "mostly women who have a great deal of self-pride and confidence in themselves as women and are not shrinking violets. Of course, there are also those who are 'tracking' me for the right-wing righteous bigots."

Catt's Claws has garnered its editor accolades and praise from feminist organizations far and wide, but it has attracted some decidedly-unwanted attention as well: Stuber has received death threats from several different men over the years.

"There is an aching need for straight talk about good old fashioned feminism," she said. "Not theory, but action. And I have a tendency to be very blunt and not get caught up in 'political correctness,' which I think is an asinine way to handcuff timid women's thinking and actions even more.

"I cover women as red blooded human beings, not consumers of beauty products. Women work hard every day of their lives, most with full time jobs outside the home, then work as volunteers, and between exhaustion and total wipe-out they maintain homes and families in 90 to 100 hour weeks while the men in their lives stumble into couch potato modes after a 40-hour week.

"Women are individuals with their own dreams and right to live to make themselves happy. They deserve equal pay for equal work. They deserve FULL HUMAN RIGHTS !!! I don't know that I write a zine, but I do know that my 'in your face' feminist attitude is not often seen or read."

Stuber also encourages the submission of information pertinent to the struggle for women's rights. Matters of politics, legislation, and international and consumer affairs are continually welcomed. And if that isn't enough for you to sink your claws into, Stuber has a literary endeavor in the works: a book on "Women of Achievement and Herstory," due out this Christmas on Bluestocking Books.

"Women have to get out and vote, have to organize to back women candidates and those few men candidates who favor women's equality, and have to run for political offices themselves," said Stuber.

"They also have to start standing up and say loud and clear to the social structures backed by the ultra-conservative right that their rules regarding women have no logic - are not clothed in good sense. Society needs new guidelines and a new center - and that center has to be decency and equality.

"In California it is a felony to beat an animal and only a misdemeanor to beat your wife ... This is wrong and until my last breath, I will keep fighting - there is no conceivable reason why a woman should not have the same equal human rights as a man - and it is about time that some women stopped thinking that they are not worthy to claim their spot in the sun."

Citizen Magazine can be found at: Sacramento.
This article was originally published at

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