Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MWPC Honors a Trailblazer: Geraldine Ferraro

Teacher, congresswoman, advocate, vice-presidential candidate, assistant district attorney, ambassador - regardless of the job she was doing, Geraldine Ferraro will be forever remembered for her greatest role: trailblazer for women everywhere.

Long before her historic run for the vice presidency, Geraldine Ferraro was breaking down barriers as a role model for women everywhere on many different levels. While working as a school teacher and raising three children, she simultaneously earned a law degree and entered into a field at that time overwhelmingly dominated by men. She then worked her way from lawyer to assistant district attorney and head of the Special Victims Unit, where she became a powerful advocate for abused children.

As a three-term U.S. Representative, Ambassador Ferraro quickly assumed a leadership role and earned the respect of her male peers. As a Representative, she worked to break down the barriers to equality for women, for example, by co-sponsoring the 1981 Economic Equity Act.

In 1984, she made history as the first woman to run for the vice presidency on a major party ticket. As the first woman to run for this high office, Ambassador Ferraro faced many obstacles and challenges. She responded with dignity, class, and intelligence.

As a new generation of women rise to meet the challenges of this century, the significance of her life’s work and what she stood for will forever be a beacon of strength as we carry forth the work yet to be done. In her words, “campaigns, even if you lose them, do serve a purpose… my candidacy has said the days of discrimination are numbered. American women will never be second-class citizens again.”

Ferraro’s breakthrough opened the doors for women to achieve success for the next two decades. Condoleeza Rice, Madeline Albright, Hilary Clinton, and many other outstanding women can all thank this trailblazer for clearing the path to their achievement.

The Massachusetts Women’s  Political Caucus mourns the loss of this great pioneer for women and celebrates the progress she made possible for so many women to succeed. Her spirit will forever inspire countless future successes to come.