Vol. 3, No. 13
November 2016
A Call for our Readers:
In 2016 "Working Women" has featured a series of articles about the gender pay gap, and now we want to hear from YOU.

In the articles we've published, we have noted the size of the gender pay gap; the effect of sex-segregated jobs on pay; the role of legislation and the courts in reducing the size of the gender pay gap or reinforcing it; the difference in pay gap depending on one's race and ethnicity; and how legislation such as earned paid sick leave can affect the pay gap.

For our next issue of the newsletter, the combined December/January issue, we want to publish as many of our readers' experiences on this topic that we can. 

  • Write up any experience YOU have had that affects one's economic well-being.
    • It can be about unequal pay (or equal pay), sex segregation in jobs, access to credit, or any issue that bears on a person's economic well being.
    • It can be from as far back as 50 years ago or as recent as last week.
    • It can be about an equitable arrangement as well as one that is inequitable.
    • It can come from women or men.
  • Keep it pretty pithy - 150-word limit
  • Sign it or not. Send a pic if you want. (Space limitations apply.)
  • DEADLINE: Thursday, January 5, 2017.
We ask that you accept some editing of your stories, none of which will change your message. We also emphasize that the experience should be YOURS. If you know of somebody whose story you'd like told, please ask that person to tell it - not you. Remember, the experiences can be anonymous.

Send your experiences to jackie@wwhpchicago.org. Questions: call 773.896.3668.

Haven't Made It Yet!
Four (of seven*) Who Tried  
Victoria Woodhull (1838 - 1927)  
First Woman Candidate for President

48 years before women achieved the right to vote, Victoria Woodhull, age 34, ran for president in 1872, the first woman to do so. She ran on the Equal Rights Party ticket against incumbent president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, and a Democrat, Horace Greeley. Even had she won, she would not have been able to assume the presidency as Article 2 Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that no one under the age of 35 is eligible to be president.

Born in 1838 to a lower income family in Ohio, Victoria Claflin accompanied her father, an itinerant preacher, on his travels and became involved in the spiritualist movement as a medium. At 15, she married Canning Woodhull,whom she later divorced, but whose surname she kept throughout her two subsequent marriages. In 1868, she and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, moved to New York City where they met and befriended Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided financial backing for the sisters to become the first women Wall Street stockbrokers. Using money they made there, they set up a weekly newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, in which they published articles on subjects such as birth control, equal education, and women's suffrage.

Woodhull attended a female suffrage convention in January 1869, and sometime thereafter befriended a congressman who invited her to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. In 1870, she declared her candidacy for president, and on January 11, 1871, testified to the Judiciary Committee that women had already won the right to vote under the recently enacted 14th and 15th amendments. It would be another 49 years before women achieved voting rights nationally. The Equal Rights Party held its convention in May 1872, and nominated Victoria Woodhull for president. She would spend election day in jail, having been arrested on obscenity charges with her sister a few days earlier for publishing a story in their newspaper about an extramarital affair of a local preacher. Woodhull claimed she published the story not to highlight immorality, but rather hypocrisy. She and her sister were eventually acquitted of the charges.

Although Victoria Woodhull did not become President, she paved the way for other women to follow decades later. She died in London in 1927. Her legacy lives on in the Woodhull Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides leadership training for women.


Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1955) 
First Woman to Run on the Ticket of a Major Party

Nearly a century after Victoria Woodhull ran for president, Margaret Chase Smith was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican Party's nomination in 1964, losing to Barry Goldwater. Like Virginia Woodhull, she came from a modest background, with a father who was a barber and a mother who worked as a waitress, in a factory, and in a store. Born in Maine, she attended high school and began a series of jobs after graduating, jobs that included teaching and journalism. She also very quickly became involved with local women's organizations.

In 1930, Chase married Clyde Smith, a local politician who was 21 years her senior. She became active in Republican politics and was elected to the Maine Republican State Committee. In 1936, when Clyde was elected to Congress as a Republican from Maine's Second Congressional District, she moved with him to Washington, D.C. and helped him with his correspondence, research and speeches. She also continued her activism, serving as treasurer of the Congressional Club, a group composed of the wives of congressmen and Cabinet ministers. Four years after he entered Congress, Clyde suffered a serious heart attack and endorsed her for his seat. She ran unopposed for his seat after his death. Re-elected for three more terms, she became a member of the House Naval Affairs Committee, ensured the passage of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, and worked across the aisle.

In 1948 she ran for the U.S. Senate from Maine and became the first woman to represent Maine in the Senate, and the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. In the Senate she distinguished herself by denouncing McCarthyism in a famous "Declaration of Conscience" speech in which she did not name McCarthy but said, "I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horseman of calumny -- fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear." Six other Republican senators signed the Declaration with her.

In 1964 Chase became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency at a major political party. She lost, placing 5th in the initial balloting, but she continued to serve in the U.S. Senate until 1972. In her last five years she served as the first chair of the Senate Republican Conference. In 1972 she suffered her only Congressional defeat. Afterwards she taught at several colleges and built a library to hold her papers in her hometown of Skowhegan, Maine.

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (1924-2005)  
First Woman to Run on the Democratic Party Ticket
A century after Victoria Woodhull ran for president on the Equal Rights Party, Shirley Chisholm ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. When she ran in 1972, she not only  became the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination but was also the first African American to be a candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Shirley Anita St. Hill came from working class stock. Her parents were immigrants from the Caribbean. Because their work schedules made it nearly impossible to also raise their children, Shirley's parents sent her and her two sisters to live with their grandmother in Barbados for 5 years. She lived there between the ages of 5 and 10 and attributed her ease in speaking and writing as an adult to the British-style schooling she received while in Barbados. In 1949 she married Conrad Chisholm, an immigrant from Jamaica. They were divorced in 1977 and she remarried a former New York State Assemblyman.

Chisholm received a Bachelor's of Arts from Brooklyn College and a Master's from Teacher's College. Her interest in politics stemmed from her work in the field of day care. She served in the New York State Assembly from 1965 until 1968 and then in Congress from 1968 until 1982. When she was elected to the House of Representatives, she was the first African American woman to serve in Congress.

In the State Legislature she spearheaded legislation that extended unemployment benefits to domestic workers and gave support for students receiving remedial education in college.   In Congress she helped create the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and later worked to get domestic workers the right to minimum wage. She opposed the draft and American involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1971 she was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the National Women's Political Caucus. 

Her campaign for the presidency in 1972 was poorly funded and poorly organized. During the primary season she received 2.7% of the votes cast for Democratic contenders. She won 28 delegates in the primaries but ended with 152 delegates because of protest votes among some McGovern delegates.

After retiring from Congress, she taught at Mt. Holyoke and gave speeches at college campuses. In 1990 she formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom along with 15 other African American women and men.


Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947 -       ) 
First Woman to Win the Popular Vote in Race for U.S. President

[Editor's note: The Clinton biography is shorter because the press has carried much of this information during the recent election process.]

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman ever to win the popular vote in a U.S. presidential election. Born in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge, she became a lawyer and has a long history of advocacy for children and families, women's rights, and health care for all. She was first lady from 1993 - 2001 when Bill Clinton was president. Hillary Clinton served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. She was the U.S. Secretary of State under President Obama from 2009 to 2013. Although she won the popular vote by what currently appears to be over 2 million votes, she did not have enough electoral votes to become U.S. president in the November 8, 2016 election. 
*The other three women who ran for president:

Belva Lockwood in 1884 ran as the National Women's Equal Rights party candidate for president.

Ellen McCormack in1976 was the first woman to qualify for matching funds when she ran for the Democratic nomination.

Lenora Fulani in 1988 and 1992 was the presidential nominee for the New Alliance Party.

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