Every year, the National Women‚Äôs History Project¬†honors a diverse range of women in order to¬†”draw strength and inspiration from those who came before us.” These women have contributed to American society in a variety of ways, and the NWHP strives to include these women in our collective history. This year’s theme is¬†‚ÄúWorking to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.‚Äù

NOW co-founder, first woman attorney  in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes (1928-present) was born in Germany to Polish parents, arriving in the US to escape the Holocaust. As an author, a lawyer and public speaker, Sonia became one of the founders of the second move of the women’s movement. Frustrated by the slow moving Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965, Sonia became increasingly involved in issues of sex discrimination. The first female attorney in the Office of the General Counsel, she was the co-founder of the National Organization of Women and Federally Employed Women.


Dr. Nancy Roman with a model of the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO).

Nancy Grace Roman (1925-present), known to many as the “Mother of Hubble,” was one of the first female executives at NASA. While Nancy was evidently a gifted student throughout her school and university career, she eventually left her job at the University of Chicago due to the lack of research support for female scientists. In 1959 she accepted a job at NASA, quickly becoming chief of astronomy and solar physics in 1961 and later played an influential role in the development of the Hubble Telescope. Now retired, Nancy still serves as a consulting astronomer for NASA and continues to be an active advocator for women in the sciences.


Bernice Sandler.

Bernice Sandler (1928-present) has been a pioneer of gender equality in education for over fifty years. Denied a position at the University of Maryland following achieving her doctorate, Dr. Sandler has fought for the rights of women in the field of education. Using an obscure Executive Order, Dr. Sandler filed federal sex discrimination lawsuits against every college with federal contracts, numbering around 250. This lawsuit piqued the interest of Congresswoman Edith Green, who employed Bernice as an expert, eventually materializing as Title IX, a law that prohibited sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, signed into law in 1972.

Nadine Smith

Nadine Smith, honoured as the 2014 ‘Florida Woman of Distinction.’

Nadine Smith (1965-present) is an LGBT activist and the executive director of Equality Florida since its foundation in 1997, she also serves as a legislative lobbyist, working tirelessly for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Nadine began her activism at college, serving on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization. Through her work as the executive director of Equality Florida, laws protecting America’s LGBT population against hate crimes and bullying has been passed in Florida. Her recent work has focused on anti-gay adoption laws, bringing this to the attention of President Obama and leading to the fall of these laws in Florida in 2010.


A portrait of Bettie Mae Tiger Jumper from the State Archives of Florida.

Bettie Mae Tiger Jumper (1923-2001), also known as Potackee was the first and only female chief of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. She was also the first Florida Seminole to learn to read and write in English and the first to graduate from high school and later a nursing program. She served as both the editor of the tribe’s first newspaper, the Seminole News, and the Communications Director for the tribe, in addition to working as a nurse and diligently striving to improve health care in the Seminole community. First inspired to learn to read and write in order to record the tribe’s ancestor stories, Bettie Mae wrote many articles and books about tribal traditions, culture and stories. In 1970, she was one of two women appointed by President Nixon to the National Congress on Indian Opportunity, serving on the council for 16 years.

For more inspirational women, have a look at our past Heroine Quilts (2016’s is coming in March!). Also, check out Podbean or iTunes for all our Girl Museum podcasts. ¬†And if you like what you hear, consider becoming a patron to help support future productions of GirlSpeak.

-Sarah Raine
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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