Contemporary Women Leaders of Opening the Way


Marlene Sanders, who passed away in July 2015, was a three-time Emmy Award winning correspondent, producer, author, and former news executive. She was one of the first female journalists to cover the Vietnam War, as a field correspondent for ABC News, and was also the first woman to regularly anchor a prime time network nightly newscast. She worked for ABC from 1964 through 1978, when she joined CBS News as a correspondent and documentary producer. She also co-authored a book titled Waiting for Prime Time: The Women of Television News with Marcia Rock in 1994. She has narrated documentaries for HBO, public television, and other outlets, and has taught journalism courses at both New York University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She narrates the introductions, biographical material on each historical figure, and transitions of the tour.
Gloria Steinem came to national eminence as an activist and organizer during the second wave of the women’s rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s. She has also contributed to a number of other social justice movements and causes, and to this day speaks in America and around the world on issues of equality. She is the author of several books, including Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions and Revolution from Within. She co-founded Ms. Magazine in 1972, and remained its editor for 15 years. She co-founded the Women’s Media Center in 2004 and also helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus and Choice USA. She has been featured in or contributed to an extensive number of magazines, newspapers, textbooks, television shows, and documentaries. She is especially interested in the intersection of patriarchy and racism. Ms. Steinem speaks as Margaret Sanger, who was indicted in 1914 for intending to distribute information on birth control through the mail.
Gloria Jacobs became the executive director of the Feminist Press after spending many years as the executive editor of Ms. Magazine. She is the co-author of Re-making Love: The Feminization of Sex, and her articles have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Guardian, Mother Jones, Working Mother and New York Woman. As a consultant for the United Nations, Jacobs edited and wrote several major reports on women around the world, particularly during times of war, conflict, and peace negotiations, as well as the impact of HIV/AIDS on women in developing countries. She has also been a board member and chair of several organizations, most recently including Women’s eNews. She graduated from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Ms. Jacobs records an excerpt from a speech by Ernestine Rose on the property rights of married women, given at the New York State Women’s Rights Convention in 1853.
Patricia Galloway is a civil engineer who became chief executive officer of Pegasus Global Holdings in 2008. Before holding this position, she worked at Nielsen-Wurster as its executive vice president and chief financial officer. In 2004, Dr. Galloway was elected president of the American Society of Civil Engineers – the first woman to hold the position in the organization’s history. She was also appointed to the National Science Board in 2006 and has used this position to mentor girls interested in the sciences. Dr. Galloway earned her bachelor’s degree at Purdue University in 1978, received her MBA from the New York Institute of Technology in 1984, and obtained her doctorate from Kochi University of Technology in 2005. She contributes a quote from a one-woman play she created about Emily Warren Roebling, who finished construction on the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband became ill from working on the bridge’s supports below sea level.
Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner is the executive director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, N.Y. She was one of the first women in the nation to receive a doctorate in women’s studies—at the University ofCalifornia at Santa Cruz—and has taught in the field for 40 years. She is a nationally acclaimed author, lecturer, and performer, and founded one of the country’s first university programs in women’s studies atCalifornia State University, Sacramento. She has also been featured in several documentaries on women’s history. Her essays have been printed in numerous anthologies and journals such as the National Women’s Studies Association Journal, Northeast Indian Quarterly, and Women’s History Network News. She has written and contributed to a number of books, including a biography of revolutionary feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage. She currently teaches in the Honors Program at Syracuse University. For this project, Dr.Wagner reads a quote from Elizabeth Cady Stanton regarding women’s suffrage.
Lynn Sherr is an author and former broadcast journalist, best known for the 20 years she spent as an award-winning correspondent for ABC’s 20/20, specializing in women’s issues and social change. She was also a freelance host at WNET-TV in New York. She worked for the Associated Press, WCBS-TV, and has hosted many specials on PBS. She won the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award twice for her strong coverage of reproductive rights and health care. She is a cancer survivor and wrote a memoir called “Outside the Box” in 2006. She has written several other books as well, including Failure is Impossible, a biography of Susan B. Anthony. For this project, Ms. Sherr reads an excerpt from her book in which Anthony talks about the importance of women’s writing and owning their own newspaper.
Betsy Wade was the first female copy editor hired by the New York Times, the first female chief copy editor on the foreign desk, and the writer of the Practical Traveler column for 14 years of her 45-year career with the company. She began her career as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, later working for the Newspaper Enterprise Association. She was a named plaintiff and the highest woman in terms of rank in the lawsuit against the Times for sexual discrimination in the 1970s. She was also the first woman elected President of the Local 3, Newspaper Guild in New York—the largest in the nation—and served from 1979 to 1983. Finally, she is the author of the entire Opening the Way walk, along with her husband Jim Boylan. She attended Carleton College and Barnard College, and received her graduate degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. She reads the Times’ obituary of Maria “Midy” Morgan, a pioneer female reporter covering stockyards and horse auctions for the newspaper.
Anita Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. She served as an aide to Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She became a prominent national figure in 1991 during the Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, when she spoke out about sexual harassment he had committed against her, sparking a national discussion about gender discrimination in the workplace. She has worked also for the Oral Roberts University Law School, and briefly at the law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross in Washington. She attended Oklahoma State University and Yale Law School, graduating with honors in 1980. She has been part of the Brandeis faculty since 1997. Ms. Hill reads as the voice of Elizabeth Jennings, the first African American to win a lawsuit against race discrimination on New York City public transit.
The Rev. Katie Lee Crane is the minister at the Unitarian Universalist First Parish of Sudbury in Massachusetts and has served in this role since August 1998. She received her bachelor’s degree from Marietta College, her master’s in liberal arts from Dartmouth College and her master of divinity from the Harvard Divinity School. She has been both an intern and interim minister at congregations in Reading and Winchester, Mass., and Laconia, N.Y. She was also the winner of the Margaret Fuller Sermon Award in 2010—given by the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Celebration Committee, which seeks to raise awareness of Fuller’s story and legacy—and presented her sermon at the Sudbury church on Mother’s Day. The Rev. Crane reads an excerpt from an essay by Fuller on the conditions of the city’s penitentiary and other public institutions.
Anna Quindlen was a columnist for the New York Times from 1981 to 1994, becoming only the third woman in the paper’s history to write a regular column for its powerful Op-Ed page. In 1992, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. She left newspapers in 1995 to become a full-time novelist and was the first writer ever to have books appear in the fiction, non-fiction, and self-help New York Times Bestseller lists. To date, she has written five bestselling novels and seven non-fiction books. She also wrote the prestigious “Last Word” column for Newsweek from 2000 through 2009. In her recording, Quindlen reads an excerpt from Emma Bugbee, who worked for the New York Herald Tribune for over 50 years and, like Quindlen, is an alumna of Barnard College.
Toni Reinhold is an editor-in-charge of the New York desk at Thomson Reuters, the largest news organization in the world. She has been the president of the Newswomen’s Club of New York since 2009 and is the author of six books published for mass market audiences. She is also a member of the board of the Overseas Press Club. She teaches for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, leading courses in general, political, and financial news reporting for journalists in Vietnam, China, the Czech Republic, India, andRussia, among others. She began her career as a freelancer for the New York Daily News and radio stations WNBC and WHN while taking college classes at night. She remains an active pioneer for other female journalists. Ms. Reinhold reads a chilling report from journalist Nellie Bly’s “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” where she exposes the harsh conditions in the asylum for women on Blackwell’s Island.
Rita Henley Jensen is the founder and editor-in-chief of Women’s eNews, a daily, independent, and nonprofit news service for issues of particular concern to women. Women’s eNews has won over 37 journalism awards, and Jensen herself has also won an armful of awards, including the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Alumni award, the Alicia Patterson fellowship, and the Lloyd P. Burns Public Service prize. Jensen formerly worked for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was also a senior writer for the National Law Journal and a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate. She is currently a board member of the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She has testified before New York City Council on crisis pregnancy centers, and in front of Congress on immigration. Jensen is a survivor of domestic violence and a former welfare mother who earned degrees from Ohio State University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She reads a quote from Jenny June, a pioneer female journalist who worked as an editor at the New York World, as well as at multiple other newspapers.
Barbara Goldsmith is an author, historian, and philanthropist, and wrote a comprehensive biography of Victoria Woodhull titled Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull. Her account has been acclaimed by critics at the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. For this tour, she records a powerful quote from her book that emphasizes Woodhull’s charisma, passion, and controversial ideas. Goldsmith has also written a bestseller about Gloria Vanderbilt. Her most recent book focuses on Marie Curie. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is passionate about human rights and established the “Barbara Goldsmith/PEN Freedom to Write Awards” almost 20 years ago, which draws media spotlight to writers who are imprisoned or tortured for expressing their views. Goldsmith continues towrite for the New York Times and The New Yorker. She speaks in the voice of Woodhull for the tour, in a powerful quote from her book that emphasizes Woodhull’s charisma, passion, and controversial ideas.
Kathleen Turner’s first breakthrough role as an actress was in the 1981 film “Body Heat,” after she had starred for years in a number of off-Broadway productions. Since then, she has starred in a variety of movies, including “Romancing the Stone,” “The Virgin Suicides,” and as the voice of Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” She gave an Oscar-nominated performance in 1986’s “Peggy Sue Got Married.” She is the chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates, and has appeared in many of their TV and radio political campaigns. She has testified before Congress on several issues pertaining to women’s rights, including Title X, America’s family planning program, and the Equity of Prescription Insurance Contraception Coverage Act (EPICC). Her national prestige has made her an immensely influential voice in the fight for women’s reproductive freedoms. She is committed to advancing women’s rights, and speaks in the voice of Augusta Lewis, a union organizer who was once fired by Elizabeth Cady Stanton for trying to organize in her printing shop.
The Rev. Violet Dease Lee is the assistant pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. She is the only woman to serve in this role and the first woman to preside over the ordinances in the church’s history of over 200 years. She graduated from Winthrop University in South Carolina, received a master’s in social work from Howard University and another, in divinity, from Union Theological Seminary. She has been with the Abyssinian Baptist Church since 1998. Prior to joining the church, she served in many social work capacities, contributing especially to the lives of men and women living with HIV/AIDS. She is currently also working toward her doctorate in religious education at Fordham University. The Rev. Lee speaks in the voice of Sojourner Truth, in an excerpt of her autobiography discussing her name change.
Grace Glueck is a former art news editor of the New York Times and the author of New York: The Painted City and Brooklyn: People and Places, Past and Present, with Paul Gardner. Both books are amply illustrated and examine scenes and people from the two boroughs. Glueck has also sat on the Board of Trustees at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts. She lives in Manhattan. She reads a quote from Louise Nevelson, a sculptor whose works are now featured in Louise Nevelson Plaza.
Carol Jenkins is a writer, producer, and Emmy award-winning former television anchor and correspondent. She spent 30 years with news departments throughout New York City, hosted her own daily talk show, and was also president of the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to make women visible in the media. She is especially well-known for the 23 years she spent with WNBC-TV in New York, where she co-anchored the 6:00 newscast. Her talk show was called Carol Jenkins Live and was shown on WNYW-TV. Jenkins is the author, with her daughter Elizabeth Gardner Hines, of Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire, which was chosen by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as one of the best books of 2004 in non-fiction. She is currently working on another book, and her articles have appeared in various journals and anthologies. She has served on the boards of the Feminist Press and the Ms. Foundation for Women. Ms. Jenkins speaks in the voice of Ida B. Wells, a former slave who fled to New York City after her newspaper “Free Speech” — which exposed lynchings in her hometown of Memphis — was destroyed by a mob.
Ruth S. Holmberg was the publisher of the Chattanooga Times in Tennessee for 28 years, and has also acted as director of the Associated Press and the New York Times Company. She is known for being a philanthropist in the arts and was a founding member of the Tennessee Arts Commission, as well as having sat on the boards of numerous other organizations. In 2007, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga awarded Holmberg an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters—the first in more than 20 years. Finally, she has the distinction of being the first woman to head a major Chattanooga business, to serve as president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and to be president of the Chattanooga Symphony Association. She is also the first woman to chair the University of Chattanooga Foundation Board of Trustees. Ms. Holmberg reads as the voice of Anna Zenger, who took over operation of her husband’s newspaper in 1734, while he was in jail on charges of seditious libel.
Charlotte Cooper joined Women’s eNews as director of marketing in October 2010 after first working as a volunteer for the organization. She was a co-founder and designer of the British feminist magazine Subtext and has designed and produced online and print materials for a range of other commercial and third sector clients.She has written for Women’s eNews, the F Word, the Feminist Press’s Under the Microscope, and a number of other publications. She is originally from England. Ms. Cooper reads in the voice of the only fictional character on our tour, based on Susanna Haswell Rowson’s English novel Charlotte Temple, a Tale of Truth.
Kirstin Downey is an award-winning journalist and the author of a biography of Frances Perkins, The Woman Behind the New Deal. She studied journalism at Pennsylvania State University, and wrote for newspapers in Colorado and Florida before covering business for the San Jose Mercury. Downey then wrote for the Washington Post from 1988-1998, covering business and the economy. Her column “On the Job” was featured in several newspapers and reached a weekly readership of more than 3 million. In 1990, she was named a finalist for the Livingston Award for Outstanding Young Journalist in America. Downey’s book was released in 2009, shortly after she left the Post, and after she completed eight years of research. Downey reads a quote from Perkins — who was the Secretary of Labor during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet — in which she views the
infamous 1911 Triangle Fire in New York City.
Brenda Berkman spent 25 years as a firefighter and fire officer for the New York City Fire Department. She was one of the first women to be accepted into the FDNY, after suing the city with several other women in the 1970s for its unfairly difficult physical fitness test. She became a firefighter in 1980, was promoted to captain in 2002, and retired in 2006 to pursue a lifelong wish to make art. Captain Berkman was one of the first on the scene of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. She reads an excerpt from a speech she gave shortly afterward in November, at the National Women’s Law Center’s 2001 Awards Dinner. She is the only woman on the Opening the Way tour to represent herself and read her own quote.

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