“Makers: Women Who Make America” is a groundbreaking documentary that tells the story of women’s advancement in America over the past 50 years. It is built on an extraordinary archive of interviews with women who challenged the status quo in fields from coal-mining to medicine. Watch “Makers: Women Who Make America” online.

THIRTEEN asked New York City “Makers” what woman has inspired them. Visit www.thirteen.org/makers for more programs on women who have made an impact.


Gale A. Brewer

New York City Council Member
Inspired by Hon. Ruth W. Messinger

My hero is Ruth W. Messinger, who is the former New York City Council Member, Manhattan Borough President, and now president of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS). In my own thirty-plus years of public service, no one has been more intelligent, dedicated, compassionate and effective, shown such unwavering integrity, or believed so deeply in our capacity to heal the world. On the challenges of the eighties and the nineties—HIV/AIDS, homelessness, illegal evictions, waterfront access, neighborhood preservation, maintaining mom and pop businesses, and property tax reform—Ruth’s ideas led the way. Today, her passion and ideas have made the AJWS a force for First-world food reform, Third-world micro-economics, and child sustenance. Her incomparable stamina, compassion, and spirit continue to touch millions of lives, and she is a living inspiration to us all.

More stories on the women who inspire artists, leaders, advocates, journalists and others
  • Maria Hinojosa
  • NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan CREDIT: David Michalek
  • christine_quinn_150x150
  • mariane_pearl_150x150
  • pam_mackinnon_150x150
  • Ray Suarez wtih Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon
  • ann_ temkin_150x150
  • brewer_150x150
  • sarah_schulman_150x150
  • Dr. Joyce Brown
  • AppleMark
  • janet_mock_150x150
  • elizabeth_streb_150x150
  • yelky_perez_150x150
  • judith_shea_150x150
  • valerie_steele_150x150
  • virginia_johnson_photo_by_rachel_neville
  • yajaira_gonzalez_150x150
  • richard_buery_150x150
  • Linda Villarosa, author and journalist
  • Rafael Pi Roman
  • Anne Pasternak of Creative Time. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders