May 8, 2021
12 noon (EDT)/11 AM (CDT)/10 AM (MDT)/9 AM (PDT)
6 PM (CET)
THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM
Meg Conkey and Judy Burger-Gossart
Frances Perkins is well-known to most of us not only because she was a student at Mount Holyoke (Class of 1902) but because she was the first woman in a Presidential Cabinet. Many of us read The Woman Behind the New Deal by Kristen Downey, for our 50th reunion. This fascinating account of her life details how she came to her convictions and how she felt “summoned” to serve the U.S. government in her crusade for Social Security and related labor laws.
Her path was not easy. In facing sex/gender discrimination Frances had to develop strategies that would help her meet her goals. The question is, did they work for other women or only for Frances? If they were successful, can we use her techniques to advance social justice today? Is it possible that Frances’ work against discrimination is as important as her achievements in labor law?
Meg and Judy who have lectured and taught about Frances Perkins’ life and career, will present their points of view. Following which there will be a Q&A session and social time (always!)
Looking for a good early summer read? Check out Noelle (Parsons) Granger’s, The Last Pilgrim. This work of historical fiction focuses on the life of Mary Allerton Cushman who was the youngest passenger on the “Mayflower,” and the longest lived of the “early Comers.” Noelle makes the case for the critical role the Pilgrim women played in the survival of the Plymouth Colony. She will be discussing her book on August 14th, our third mini.
As to ideas for future minis, here are a few: a class read, poetry writing, how to tell our stories, how to take power naps, sharing hobbies and art, hot issues forums, Zumba and cooking classes – keep giving us suggestions!
A key takeaway for the Reunion Co-Chairs is that interactive activities are a wonderful way to keep us engaged, and we look forward to offering many minis on the way to our 60th in 2025.
Sallie Wright Abbas
Sunny Eaton Steadman
Look for an email announcement and Zoom invite to a May 8 program on
“The Only Woman in the Room”, the Skills, Strategies and Successes of Frances Perkins’02. As FDR’s Secretary of Labor (1933-1945), she often faced fierce gender discrimination.