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Unsung Heroines on thirteen.org

Sunday, March 1st, 2009
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from: Robin Edgerton, editor, thirteen.org

When approaching a project for March, a.k.a. Women’s History Month, I was reminded/inspired by a project started by Gail O’Hara, the editor/publisher of a little-known feminist music magazine called Chickfactor. That project, not extant (sadly!), was to be called “Dead Ladies”, and was to be all about women who were no longer with us, yet still had an impact on our collective and individual lives, still: both tribute and education.

Similarly, I wanted to know what women the figures we all know on PBS/Thirteen shows look up to – or have been inspired and motivated by. Because these journalists and producers move amongst and report on amazing people all the time, I’m always curious who sticks with them, whose words or deeds they return to. Hence “Unsung Heroines“.

I also wanted to know the same of my co-workers—a diverse bunch who introduced me to women I’d never heard of but I’m glad I did, like the amazing Beate Sirota, who helped write women’s rights into the Japanese Constitution at age 22, or Grace Hopper, the woman who first used the term ‘computer bug’ (see Hopper, and our other heroines).


Frances ‘Sissy’ Farenthold, on WNET’s
Assignment America in 1975
(watch now), and more recently

My own inspirations I didn’t include so much—they’re kind of odd, and pretty out there (Dori Seda, Caroline Coon, Nagi Noda), and they change from minute-to-minute. Though I will concur with Bill Moyers about the remarkable Grace Lee Boggs—a force of nature and persistent vision.

And, having now been introduced to Sissy Farenthold, a former VP Candidate who still, at 82, is still almost ridiculously active in holding a bright light up to the activities of our own government, I’d add her to my list too.

So who is YOUR unsung heroine? Let us know in the comments here.

Thanks! — couldn’t have made this mini-site without the contributions/nominations/articles by: David Chiu, Wayne Taylor, Jennifer Panicali, Indrani Datta, Dan Greenberg, Chie Witt, Jonathan Marmor, and the rest of the Thirteen Internet department.

Props! To KQED, and their yearly online/outreach project Women’s Local Heroes.