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1941. She composed a widely read textbook on parliamentary law, Mr. Chairman, in 1937. She also rose through the ranks to become manager of the Houston Post, one of the nation's major newspapers. She was a director of a radio and television station, and served as a director of a national bank. In 1941, Hobby accepted a $1-a-year position as Director of the Women's Interest Section of the War Department. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall instructed her to organize a military unit for women. In 1942 Congress authorized the Women's Auxiliary Army Corp (WAACs), later shortened to the Women's Army Corps, (WACs). On the next day, Hobby was sworn in as the first director of the WAACs, a position equivalent in rank to an Army colonel. (6:61) Her leadership and organizational skills were challenged by recruiting, organizing, and training women in a military environment often as hostile as helpful. For months to come, newspapers and magazines carried sarcastic stories about America's new petticoat Army. Despite the myriad detractors and catcalls, Hobby persevered. She set the tone when she addressed the WAAC officer candidate students in July 1942. “You have taken off silk and put on khaki. And all for essentially the same reasons -- you have a debt and a date. A debt to democracy, a date with destiny.” (1:20) (11:29) She and the WAACs met every test. In 1943, she prompted Army leadership to address internal slander and derogatory treatment of the WACs.
Marshall was moved to write a letter to all Army commanders regarding their responsibilities for the attitudes of the men in their commands and telling them they, “... are charged with seeing that the dignity and importance of the work which women are performing are recognized and the policy of the War Department is supported by strong affirmative action.” (11:52-53) When she retired in 1945, she had commanded 100,000 women at more that 200 posts and in every theater of wartime operations. She became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Medal. (24) After the war, Hobby returned to the Post, serving as co-editor. From 1952-1955 she fulfilled further pioneering roles in government. In 1953, she was appointed by President Eisenhower to be the director of the Federal Security Administration. Later that year, she became the first person to hold the cabinet position of Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in a U.S. presidential administration, and was the only woman to serve in the Cabinet of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was only the second woman to hold a cabinet position by that time in history. (24) Under her leadership the Clinical Center for Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 6 National Institutes of Health was founded. Farmers, domestic workers, and the self-employed became eligible for social security; veterans' benefits were extended; and the new polio vaccine was widely produced and distributed. (6:63) In 1955, Hobby returned to the Houston Post as president and editor and shortly became chairperson of the board. She was named Director of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting in 1976. Two years later the Association of the U.S.
Army honored her with its highest award -- the George Catlett Marshall Medal for public service. (6:64) Grace Hopper, 1906-1992 “Different is by no means wrong” Mathematics genius, computer pioneer, inventor, teacherGrace Hopper's accomplishments encompass a range of achievements that have helped transform society. The woman who became known as “Amazing Grace” and “The Grandmother of the Computer Age” was born before Henry Ford launched his first Model T automobile and before women had the right to vote. (24) Hopper credits her father and family as her inspiration. As she grew as a child in the dawn of the 1900's, her father was very supportive of her and her sister and told them not to be restricted by societal roles for women. He felt strongly that women should be given the same educational opportunities as men. (6:64) She graduated from Vassar College in 1928 as Phi Beta Kappa, and received a fellowship to Yale. There she earned a master's degree in math and physics in 1930 and a Ph.D. in math in 1934, the first woman to receive such a degree from prestigious Yale. In 1943, despite being discouraged by others, at age 34, Hopper joined the Navy Women's Reserve (WAVES) during World War II. (6:65) Her formidable skills in mathematics helped propel her into the brand new world of computing machines, and she loved the opportunities to innovate. Her immediate impact was while she was a WAVE in World War II when she became the first programmer of the only large-scale digital computer in the world, the Navy's Mark I. She worked on all the earliest government computers, and soon began to create computer languagesmathematical equations computers could understand. In 1955, recognizing the need for more user-friendly language to enable more people to work with computers, she pioneered COBOL, a computer compiler language that promoted easier access and could be used in business. A leader and pioneer in the technology that has transformed automated information flow forever, Hopper was also the first woman to attain the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. (24) Her vision was that people should not fear what is new, nor should they be afraid to take chances. She abhorred the concept that status quo must remain, simply because things have always been done a certain way. She pointed out that resistance to change is the biggest obstacle to progress. In fact, she had a clock on her wall that ran counterclockwise, which told time perfectlyan example of how different is by no means wrong. (6:67) Dr. Antonia Novello Conquering pain to reach the pinnacle of health leadership The first woman and the first Hispanic to become the Surgeon General of the United States (1990-1993), Antonia Novello brought to her work a strong empathy for people without power in society and used her position to alleviate suffering, especially for women and children. (24) Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 7 Born in Farjardo, Puerto Rico, Novello was afflicted with a chronic colon illness that caused her to spend much of her childhood in bed and hospitals. Corrective surgery finally relieved her of pain and also set her on a course to the pinnacle of leadership in the interests of national health. Upon recovering from her chronic childhood illness, Novello became determined to have a career in medicine where she could help other ailing children. (40) Trained as a pediatric nephrologist and in public health, in 1986 she became a clinical professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital (after working in private practice and later in the U.S. Public Health Service). In 1987, she was named coordinator for AIDS research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and then Deputy Director. (24) In the fall of 1989, President George Bush nominated Novello to be the nation's Surgeon General, a position in which she would be not only the first woman, but also the first Hispanic. (40) As Surgeon General, Dr. Novello was among the first to recognize the need to focus on women with AIDS and on neonatal transmission of HIV. She found new opportunities for Hispanic/Latino Americans to participate in health issues by convening national and regional meetings to discuss community health needs. She raised national awareness in the medical profession about the domestic violence epidemic in America. In her current position as the United Nation's Children Fund's (UNICEF) special representative for health and nutrition, she works to elevate public consciousness about underage drinking and alcohol abuse. (24) (40) Colonel Mary Hallaren “Women will be the framework of any expansion” In war and peace, Colonel Mary Hallaren, U.S. Army (Ret.), proved herself a leader who remained a generation ahead of her time on matters pertaining to the military. Described as one of the giants among military women, Hallaren enlisted in 1942 in the newly organized WAACs.
One year later, she commanded the first battalion of women (WACs) to serve in the European Theater of Operations, the largest contingent of women serving overseas throughout World War II. She was in charge of 9,000 WACs serving in England, France, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. (24) (42) (11:106) By war's end, Hallaren stood in the highest ranks of WAC leadership, serving as Director from 1947-1953. Many of her military colleagues, male and female, favored the peacetime demobilization of women. However, Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower believed women were necessary to meet post-war personnel needs. Hallaren became the primary
proponent and dynamic advocate for permanent status for military women:
It would be tragic if, in another emergency, a new generation had to start from scratch; had to duplicate effort; make the same mistakes twice.... It would be foolhardy to wait for another war to find out how and where women could best be used in the national defense. To write, “finis” to women's contributions...
would be turning back time. (24) (11:113) Despite strong opposition, the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 was adopted, insuring for women of future generations new opportunities to serve and command on land, at sea, and in the air. (24) At the first meeting of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), September 1951, Colonel Hallaren explained the Services' needs for more
women, and once again was a generation ahead of her time in her position:
Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 8... every woman volunteer means one less [male] draftee... There's just one objective to keep in mind above all others... the services cannot sacrifice quality to fill a quota, for these women will be the framework of any future expansion. (11:151) In 1965, Hallaren assumed direction of Women in Community Service, a new organization sponsored by a coalition of diverse women's organizations. Through its program, at-risk women were able to secure job training and economic opportunity. Because of Hallaren's vision and inspiration, women who might have failed economically and socially succeeded. (24) In 1998, the Women's International Center presented Colonel Hallaren with the Living Legacy Patriot Award. (42) Dr. Faye Glenn Abdellah Nursing visionary Dr. Faye Abdellah is a world-renowned nurse researcher and a national pioneer in issues of nursing research and long-term care policy, mental retardation, the developmentally disabled, home health services, aging, hospice, and AIDS. She was the nation’s Chief Nurse Officer, and is the first nurse to hold the rank of two star rear admiral, and the title of Deputy Surgeon General, U. S. Public Health Service. She retired with the rank of rear admiral. She forever altered modern nursing theory and practice. She developed the first tested coronary care unit, which saved thousands of lives. (24) (43) As Deputy Surgeon General, Dr. Abdullah was actively involved in the formation of national health policies related to AIDS, drug addiction, violence, smoking, and alcoholism. She developed the first federal training program for health services researchers, health services administrators and geriatric nurse practitioners. (43) Dr. Abdullah has authored or co-authored more than 147 publications, some of which have been translated into six languages. One of her last publications, which she co-authored at age 75, Preparing Nursing Research for the 21st Century: Evolution, Methodologies, Challenges (1994), is an example of her forward thinking leadership. (43) Dr. Abdullah is the recipient of eleven honorary degrees from universities that have recognized her pioneering work in nursing research: development of the first nurse scientist; as an international expert in health policies and international health outreach; and for invaluable contributions to the health of our nation. She is the recipient of 74 professional and academic honors. In 1994, the American Academy of Nursing honored Dr. Abdullah by presenting her with “The Living Legend Award.” (43) Rear Admiral Abdullah’s military awards include: Surgeon General's Medallion and Medal;
two Distinguished Service Medals; Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Distinguished Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; the Secretary of Department of Health Education and Welfare Distinguished Service Award; and two Founders Medals from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. (43) Colonel Eileen M. Collins “Because Dreams Do Come True” A veteran of three space shuttle flights, Collins has logged over 537 hours in space, and was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. (45) (3) (7) Collins overcame extreme adversity on her journey to space. As a child, she was inspired by the exploits of early aviators Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 9 such as Amelia Earhart and the women of the World War II Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). Her family struggled to make ends meet in upstate New York, and she put herself through community college and paid for flying lessons by working fulltime in a variety of jobs.
Collins learned to fly when she was only nineteen. “I didn't spend money on clothes...I'd grown up watching gliders fly off Harris Hill (in Elmira) and I'd always dreamed of flying.” (24) (47) She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in mathematics and economics and pursued a masters in Operations Research from Stanford University in 1986. She also holds a Masters in Space Systems Management from Webster University. While at Syracuse she scraped together enough money to take flying lessons. Armed with her degrees, pilot's license, and glowing recommendations, Collins gained entrance into the Air Force's pilot training program (the first woman to go straight from college into Air Force pilot training). She became a flight instructor and then moved on to pilot the four-engine C-141. In 1986, she was assigned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor in mathematics and flight training. She was also a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, California, flying 26 different aircraft in a single year. She was selected by the National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA) in 1990 and became an astronaut in July 1991.