University of Rochester

Airing throughout March on WXXI Radio

Noteworthy Moments in Women’s History

About this project:
The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies was interested in spreading the word about women's history during Women's History Month.  The institute approached Jeanne Fisher and Mike Black at WXXI, who gave their enthusiastic support.  Working together, they came up with a list of ten good topics (several with local connections) for the month.  What followed was the kind of "campus to public" collaboration that is one of the goals of university education.  Students in the institute’s WST 200 class (Colloquium in Women's Studies) did research on the topics; Honey Meconi, director of the Susan B. Anthony Institute, then wrote vignettes that were lightly edited by WXXI; and noted public figure Kitty Van Bortel then made the recordings. 

suffragette

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day
In 1987, Congress declared the month of March as Women’s History Month, an outgrowth of Women's History Week begun by California citizens in 1978 and recognized by Jimmy Carter in a 1980 Presidential Proclamation. Initially intended to focus attention on the need for women’s suffrage, International Women’s Day (March 8) began in 1911 and is regarded as a national holiday in many countries around the world.

Virginia Apgar

Dr. Virginia Apgar

Dr. Virginia Apgar
Dr. Virginia Apgar was one of the first anesthesiologists in America, and specialized in obstetrical anesthesiology. Dr. Apgar devised the Apgar (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) Test, which is used to evaluate newborns just 1, then 5 minutes, after birth.

Matilda Harper

Martha Matilda Harper

Martha Matilda Harper
Martha Matilda Harper was a Rochester businesswoman who revolutionized the beauty industry over a century ago by developing the modern beauty salon. She was a pioneer in creating franchises, owing her success to flexible hours, childcare for clients, employee benefits, and an invention of her own–the reclining chair.

Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins
The first woman to hold a presidential Cabinet position was Frances Perkins, appointed by FDR as Secretary of Labor. Perkins helped put numerous labor regulations into law, including unemployment benefits, Social Security, welfare, the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, and overtime pay.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock
Despite being discouraged from attending college, McClintock went on to earn her PhD and completed a lifetime of laboratory research. McClintock discovered that genetic elements can shift positions on chromosomes –“jumping genes” – and after much perseverance she was finally acknowledged for her discovery and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1983.

Antoinette Brown

Antoinette Brown

Antoinette Brown
Born in Henrietta, NY, Antoinette Brown was the first woman to be ordained in America, and spoke publicly about the 14th Amendment, abolition, and women’s rights. Brown believed that men should share in household chores, and that men’s occupations should be open to women–a belief she lived by.

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange followed her childhood dream of becoming a photographer and, as an adult during the Great Depression, captured the plight of downtrodden Americans, most notably in her iconic shot, “Migrant Mother.” During World War II Lange photographed Japanese-Americans in U.S. internment camps, images of truth repressed by the government until after the war.

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Though her 1972 run for the U.S. Presidency was unsuccessful, Chisholm was a lifelong advocate for children, women, and the poor, as well as an inspiration for future politicians–including President Barack Obama.

JoAnn Falletta

JoAnn Falletta

JoAnn Falletta
As a music student, JoAnn Falletta was discouraged from studying conducting as it led to almost no opportunities for women. Falletta ignored the advice and not only turned an amateur orchestra into the Queens Philharmonic, but also became the music director of the Women’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and today is director of two professional orchestras.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony (Failure is Impossible)
Susan B. Anthony spent almost her entire life fighting for women’s right to vote, and even voted once, though she was arrested since it was still illegal for women to do so. At a 1906 celebration in Washington, D.C. for her 86th birthday, Anthony closed the evening thanking her supporters and finished her speech on the cause by declaring “failure is impossible,” the last words she spoke in public before her death a few weeks later.

Susan B. Anthony

Honey Meconi, professor of gender and women's studies and director of the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies, shares an oral history of Anthony's impact on educational opportunities for Rochester's women.