Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis

Photo credit: Eric Gay/AP

Wendy Davis is a Democratic State Senator from Ft. Worth, Texas who famously and courageously filibustered an anti-abortion bill last night.

Wendy celebrated her 50th birthday last month, has two children, Amber and Dru. A single-mother at 19, she went from a paralegal program to graduating first in her class at Texas Christian University and then attended Harvard Law School.  She talked for 13 hours last night which ended in roaring applause in the gallery, and from social media around the world.

Coverage is here.

“The actions intended by our state’s leaders hurt Texas; they hurt Texas women and their families.  Their actions undermine the hard work and commitment of fair-minded, mainstream Texas families who want nothing more than to work hard, raise their children, stay healthy and be a productive part of the greatest state in our country.  These mainstream families embrace the challenge to create the greatest possible Texas, yet are pushed back and held down by the narrow and divisive interests driving our state’s leaders. ” From the Office of Senator Wendy Davis, June 25th, 2013


Mae Jemison


I have a soft spot in my heart for dancers who become scientists, let alone Astronauts. Her mother told her in college “You can always be a dancer if you’re a doctor, but you can’t doctor if you’re a dancer” Sound advice – advice I didn’t follow when I was in college when I dumped Pre-Med for Modern Dance. All and all – she has NINE (9) honorary doctorates. That seems like 8 more than most. But, my sisters will tell you that I’m ridiculously uneducated with my one degree.

She went to Stanford at 16! And then Cornell for medical school. A professor at Cornell and Dartmouth, a leader of bio-tech and a friend of Michelle Obama. She was the first African-American women to go into space.  She is probably also the only astronaut that was in People Magazine as the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World (1993). She also appeared on Star Trek because she loved the show and Lavar Burton asked her to join the cast.  In 2001, she wrote her autobiography titled, “Find Where the Wind Goes” which is a beautiful title. She is involved with helping developing countries learn about science. The Earth We Share is a camp she started for teens to improve problem-solving skills.

Louise Slaughter

Louise Slaughter

Louise voted against the 20-Week Abortion ban that was passed by the House today. Her vote was in the minority and the bill outlaws most abortions after 20 weeks. However, it’s unlikely to become law, it is a sounding board for Women’s Rights in 2013.  Louise is a Democratic Representative from New York and has been serving this country since 1987 as a Representative of the House of Congress. She won her 14th term election last November.

She achieved her degree in Microbiology despite coming from a rural coal mining town in Kentucky. She went on to achieve her Master’s Degree in Public Health. With her background in science she has written and supported many health related bills, but her self-proclaimed “greatest” is protecting an individuals rights (especially with healthcare) with The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008.

“Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that women in America have the constitutional right to make their own health care decisions without the government getting involved,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Tuesday. “Today, instead of focusing on creating jobs and improving our economy, the House majority is once again playing doctor and trying to tell American women what they can and can’t do, despite what the Constitution tells them they can do. House Republicans need to abandon their war on women and start working on the issues Americans care about.” Louise Slaughter

Again, this mother of three daughters, Megan, Amy and Robin and grandmother of 7 stands up and says “Republicans need to abandon their war on women and start working on the issues Americans care about.”

She’s liberal. She’s progressive. And ok, she thinks women should be able to choose their own health decisions. This is a much larger issue that just a 20-week versus 27- week, versus ANTI- abortion policy. Most people (liberal and conservative) struggle with this issue. And some politicians take heed on the emotional turmoil of abortion and plead to constituents with their own ethical beliefs. Most of us believe that it’s a personal decision and it’s a persons right to choose. I just want women and doctors to be safe to make the decision that is safest for themselves. If we could educate people about adoption and fund other public services offered to people who can’t afford to care for their children then maybe we can have a logical debate. Until then, breeding happens.


Gender Inequality on Miss Usa

I feel badly for the beautiful woman from my home state, Marissa. She’s 21. She sadly chose a question about gender equality in the final rounds of the Miss USA pageant last night. They still air this production every year, as well as Miss America on broadcast television.  Millions of Americans flock to watch the peacocks. The question was about the gender gap in wages for 40% of Americans whose income is primarily from the mother. She was correct that education has  a lot to do with it, however, I believe and hope that the question is asked, during this viral hate speech, about why we still encourage our young women to parade in their gowns and bathing suits for “merit”.  The winner is showered with praise, flowers and diamonds and then lives the rest of her life.

Caroline Kennedy


“I feel that my father’s greatest legacy was the people he inspired to get  involved in public service and their communities, to join the Peace Corps, to go  into space. And really that generation transformed this country in civil rights,  social justice, the economy and everything.” Caroline Kennedy

Because it’s Father’s Day I wanted to highlight a woman with a prominent father and you can’t get any bigger that Caroline Kennedy. She is the only surviving child and grandchild of the immediate John F. Kennedy lineage. Neil Diamond wrote a song about her. She rode her pony, Macaroni while she lived in the White House.

Her father was assassinated when she was very young. She always worked hard to achieve. She received her degree from Harvard and then her Law Degree from Columbia University and she has lead a philanthropic life emphasizing the arts, particularly poetry and spoken word.

She met her husband while working with him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has three children, Rose, Tatiana and John. Her love of art and poetry has driven her through the difficulties of losing her entire family: two brothers, a father and her mother. A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children is a wonderful book and she has all told edited 10 New York Times Best Selling books.

She began campaigning for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat but withdrew due to personal reasons. This year she may be nominated by Obama to be the Ambassador of Japan which would make her the first woman to serve in that position.

Sandra Day O’Connor


Ms. O’Connor retired from the bench in 2006 to care for her ailing husband who was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. He died three years later and that same year she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.  Sandra was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 she served the country dutifully for 24 years taking care to weigh the issues carefully and independently making her the swing vote in many cases. Two notable cases were the upholding of Roe v. Wade and the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 which upheld Florida’s electoral votes allowing Bush to become President. She was also a breast cancer survivor and the mother of three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay.

Sandra achieved her degree in economics from Stanford in 1950 and after graduating she was the kind of girl that worked for free at a law firm “to get her foot in the door” because opportunities for female lawyers were absent. (She was turned down by several law firms). During her tenure at Stanford she met and dated, William Rehnquist, who later became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and they served together often voting the same although there are statistics folks that will tell you the percentages of Right vs. Left votes since the beginning of the Judicial Branch.  Those people need to calm down.

She began her own law firm with one partner and then eventually took leave from her post to be a mom. During the five years she took to be with her young sons, she also volunteered with local schools, hospitals and her local Republican party.

She has written several books including Lazy B: Growing Up a Cattle Rancher in the American Southwest, published in 2003.  This year she published her judicial memoir The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice (2013).

Watch Sandra Day O’Connor on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

Janis Ian

Maybe 20 years ago I went to a Janis Ian concert with my mom. We saw her sing in a small venue in Salt Lake City. I knew my mom loved her music and I knew the song “At Seventeen” but now that I’m older I understand much more clearly her lyrics of a struggling female musician in the early 70’s. My favorite song she wrote is called
Watercolors” which quite simply could be the most lyrically accurate love/hate song ever written.

Janis grew up in New York City and her parents were music teachers and she is an award winning singer-songwriter and she also enjoys writing science fiction. She has performed with and written songs for some of the most famous musicians. Nina Simone sang her song “Stars” at the Montreux music festival in 1976.  She divorced an abusive husband early on and is now married to her partner Patricia Snyder. They have one child and two grandchildren.

Bright Nights and Promises, Insansity Comes Quietly to the Structured Mind, so many others…In 2013 she received another Grammy for her Spoken Word Album, Society’s Child. 

She is also really relevant and funny: