Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History, Volume XI

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Meet Jeannette Rankin. She was the first woman to be nominated to the United States House of Representatives, and she's still the only woman elected by the state of Montana. During her first term in Congress, the 19th Amendment had not yet passed, so even though women were permitted to vote in Montana, they could not in much of the U.S.

She was an educated woman and an early suffragette. As a pacifist, she voted against the United States entering World War I and World War II.

She was also a founding vice-president of the ACLU, an organization I've come to respect and support, and a founding member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

I'm not a pacifist, and I believe her decision to vote against our entry into World War II was a mistake. But she was a woman who knew her own mind, and acted on it with decisiveness and courage. Dedicated to those who could not protect themselves, she was active in efforts to reduce infant mortality, and provide health care to women and children. Her legacy, the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, has provided scholarships to low income women across the United States since 1978.

Breaking barriers. Living a life of public service. Acting in accordance with her conscience. Courageous. Ill-behaved.

3 comments:

Eric said...

I love Congresswoman Rankin. I even love that she voted against World War II: it was the right wrong choice, i.e. we had to go to war, but she still stuck to her principles in the face of outright hostility, and I respect it. And I think she understood the quixotic nature of the vote--my understanding is that she stepped down at the end of the term she was serving when she cast the vote.

An awesome woman.

Janiece Murphy said...

Eric, I knew you were a fan of hers.

And yes, I admire the fact that she had the courage of her convictions, in spite of the unpopularity of her position.

I just don't agree with her convictions in this case.

Anne C. said...

What a neat lady!