Elizabeth Dole

The saying ‘behind every good man is a great woman’ is very appropriate for Elizabeth Dole. Her husband ran for President a number of times but she herself had a very long and successful career in politics.

She studied political science at¬†Duke University, where she served as student body president. She went on to study at Harvard where she earned a Master’s degree in education before moving onto Harvard law school. In her graduating class of 500 she was one of only 25 women to leave with degree. Following her graduation she moved to Washington D.C. She worked in a private law firm before working in a number of government agencies, including the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs and the Presidential Committee for Consumer Interests.

In 1975 she was nominated to be a part of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). One of her biggest achievements was the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1975. This gave everyone an equal chance to apply for loans and credit. She left the FTC in 1979 in order to work on her husband’s presidential campaign. In 1983 Ronald Reagan named her the Secretary of Transportation. This was an historic appointment as she was the first woman to hold this position. One of her duties was as Director of the U.S. Coast Guard, making her the first woman to take command of a branch of the armed services in the United States. She resigned in 1987 to work on her husband’s second presidential campaign.

In 1989 President George Bush named her the Secretary of Labor. One of her biggest achievements was increasing the minimum wage. She left this post the following year to become President of the American Red Cross. As president she aimed to increase the number of charitable contributions by the American public. She also wanted to improve the safety of blood donations in light of the AIDS epidemic. She resigned from this position in 1999.

In 2003 she was elected a Senator for North Carolina. Over the next five years she worked to introduce regulation to the housing finance department. Despite being a Republican she worked with Democrats to bring about energy reform. During her time as Senator she was a part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Sevices. Here she helped to prevent the closure of military bases in her state.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Pin It on Pinterest