100 Years After Marie Curie Set Nobel Record, Why So Few Women in Science?


Marie Skłodowska-Curie, two-time Nobel Laureate, challenged scientific theories and generally accepted beliefs about women’s abilities, blazing a trail for generations of women scientists and professionals to come. But for women in science today, there is still much more trail that needs blazing. One hundred years ago, on December 10, 1911, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences […]

10 Reasons for Feminists To Be Grateful This Thanksgiving


I spend a lot of time on this blog pointing out the totally outrageous attempts of the anti-choice movement to take away women’s constitutionally guaranteed right to make their own medical decisions in private. As part of that, I admit that I often deliberately try to rile y’all up, because sometimes you’ve gotta get mad […]

Remembering Dr. Wangari Maathai: “We Must Persist”

wangari maathai

Fearless human rights and anti-poverty crusader. Visionary environmental leader. Global women’s rights activist. Advocate for democracy. More than one phrase is required to begin to sum up the contributions the late Dr. Wangari Maathai made to the global community through her tireless work for a more just and sustainable world. Born in Nyeri, Kenya in […]

Chicago Loses a Latina Lesbian Leader

Christina Santiago photo

Christina Santiago, a lauded leader in Chicago’s lesbian community, was one of seven people tragically killed after a stage collapsed on August 13 at a concert at the Indiana State Fair. She was only 29 years old. Santiago’s fiancée, Alisha Brennon, was severely injured in the accident (along with more than 40 others).  The two […]

Remembering Dr. Bernadine Healy


Dr. Bernadine Healy, the first woman to head the National Institutes of Health, passed away due to brain cancer on August 6th at age 67. Healy broke medical ground by creating the Women’s Health Initiative, then the largest government clinical trial of women’s health ever in the U.S. She later served as the president of […]

A Loss for Dolores Huerta, And the World

doloreshuerta richardchavez

I was distraught to learn last night of the unexpected death of Richard Estrada Chavez, the life partner of my dear friend Dolores Huerta, who serves on the Feminist Majority Foundation board of directors. Richard was the younger brother of Cesar Chavez, who cofounded the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Dolores. Richard was a tireless […]

She “Desexed” Our Language: Remembering Kate Swift, 1923-2011


Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky … My great-aunt Kate Swift and I memorized T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” during one of many childhood visits to Maine. We traded lines back and forth, lying in the mossy beds of woods near […]

Missing Betty Ford


I saw Betty Ford in person for my first and only time in November 1977. She was seated next to Rosalynn Carter, and they shared the stage with Maya Angelou and New York’s Bella Abzug, the former congresswoman who had written the legislation governing the National Women’s Conference in Houston. The current and former first […]

Betty Ford’s Death Illustrates What Has Been Lost in Our Political Culture


How much I appreciated your gracious letter telling of plans for the Western Regional Conference on Abortion and inviting me to attend. Although my upcoming personal and official commitments will not permit me to be with you,  I am grateful for this opportunity to convey my warmest greetings to all attending and my hopes for […]

Betty Ford, Champion of Women’s Rights

Photo: Eleanor Smeal and former first lady Betty Ford appear at a 1981 countdown rally for the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington.

I will never forget the day in 1981 that I asked Betty Ford to be an honorary co-chair with Alan Alda of the Equal Rights Amendment Countdown Campaign. I thought it would be a long, involved process. But she said almost immediately that she would be honored to do so. At the time Betty Ford, […]