The National Women’s History Month theme for 2016 honors women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their public service and government leadership. Although often overlooked and undervalued, these women have collectively and dramatically influenced our public policy and the building of viable institutions and organizations. From championing basic human rights to ensuring access and equal opportunity for all Americans. Each has led the way in establishing a stronger and more democratic country.

Each of the public leaders honored by the National Women’s History Project succeeded against great odds. Their diverse experiences demonstrates both the challenges and the opportunities women in public service have faced. Their ability to use the art of collaboration to create inclusive solutions and non-partisan policies, as well as their skill and determination, serve to inspire future generations. The tenacity of each Honoree underlines the fact that women from all cultural backgrounds in all levels of public service and government are essential in the continuing work of forming a more perfect union.

Source: http://www.nwhp.org/womens-history-month/2016-theme/

Women's Symposium - March 5,2016

WHMP honorees 2016

The Great Texas Gallery
University of Texas at Austin
Kinsolving Residence Hall

The Great Texas Women’s Gallery (Lounge) located on the first floor of the Kinsolving Residence Hall at the University of Texas at Austin celebrates significant Texas women and their accomplishments. The gallery is a collection of individual displays and stories of historic Texas women. The goal of the gallery is to honor the achievements of Texas women, to help expand a sense of what is possible and to inspire students, faculty, staff and visitors to strive for excellence. The Great Texas Women website brings together a wealth of web resources including biographies, quotes, articles and other information about Texas women, such as the women below.

Source: https://www.utexas.edu/gtw/index.php & http://www.utexas.edu/gtw/GTWContent.pdf

Suzanne Ahn
Neurologist and Activist, 1952-2003

I want my children to know what I stood for. I want everybody to remember me as a person who fought injustice.

dr ahnSuzanne Insook Ahn M.D. succumbed to lung cancer on June 22, 2003 in spite of never having smoked. Skilled neurologist, dedicated advocate for social justice, thoughtful philanthropist, and prolific inventor, she was born in 1952, attended Booneville Elementary School in Arkansas, then graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler Texas, The University of Texas-Austin and U.T. Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. The family emigrated from Korea when Suzanne was seven. As a practicing physician, she opened an after-hours clinic to serve working people. She took the helm of civic organizations devoted to rights of Asian Americans and of women physicians, and she started a Dallas chapter of the American Medical Women’s Organization, co-founded National Doctors for ERA, and campaigned for Governor Ann Richards. She was the youngest physician and second woman to be appointed to the Texas Board of Medical Examiners. She filed for 23 medical patents. When Dallas nightclubs tried to ban Asian Americans, Dr. Ahn organized a protest march. When the 1991 Civil Rights Act specifically excluded Filipino and Native American cannery workers in Alaska, she flew to Washington to confront legislators. According to family members, Suzanne’s whole life was one of giving back to the community.

Gloria Anzaldua
Author and Chicana Feminist Scholar, 1942-2004

By focusing on what we want to happen, we change the present. The healing images and narratives we imagine will eventually materialize.

anzalduaGloria Anzaldua was born in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to farm worker parents. She is author of two popular multicultural texts: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Anzaldua was a leading scholar of feminist, queer and Chicana theories. She was the first author to combine these subjects in poetry, narrative and autobiographical works. She helped build a multicultural feminist movement and called for people of different races to move forward together.

Olga Bernstein Kohlberg
Activist and Civic Leader, 1864-1935


Olga Bernstein Kohlberg was a Jewish Texan philanthropist and founder of the first public kindergarten in Texas. While still in her teens, Olga married Ernst Kohlberg, a young man who had emigrated from Prussia some years earlier and established a cigar factory in El Paso, Texas. Olga willingly followed her husband to this new home. In El Paso she set about learning English and Spanish. As her own children were born, Olga thought about the educational system in Germany and its focus on early childhood. She marshaled together a group of 17 women to form the Child Culture Club. In 1893 they won approval for a free kindergarten in El Paso, the first public kindergarten in Texas. Compelled by a strong sense of civic responsibility, Olga steered women’s organizations toward building community.  Olga was a founding member of the Library Association, which operated and funded the first El Paso public library. She served as president of this organization for 32 years. 

Lucy Parsons 
Labor Organizer, 1853?-1942

When woman is admitted into the Council of Nations, war will come to an end, for woman more than man knows the value of life.


Lucy Parsons rose to international fame as a labor organizer. She was born in Waco about 1853, quite likely a slave. In 1871 she married or allied with Albert Parsons, a white Confederate Civil War veteran turned Reconstruction journalist. Interracial marriage was illegal. When contemporary newspapers called her a “Negress,” Lucy insisted that her dark complexion resulted from Hispanic and Native American ancestry. Facing discrimination and threats in Texas, the couple moved to Chicago. They operated a dressmaking business to support their two young children. Lucy traveled and campaigned extensively to save her husband but was unable to prevent his execution by hanging. Undaunted, she continued to write, speak, and organize against inequities despite her husband being wrongly executed. Chicago police described her as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” Lucy Parsons was a founding member of Industrial Workers of the World, led hunger demonstrations, championed family and women’s rights, and defended nine African Americans in Scottsboro who were falsely accused of rape. When she died in a house fire, her library and personal papers were confiscated.

Ann Richards
Texas Governor, 1933-2006

"If you give us the chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."


U.S. politician and former governor of Texas Ann Richards was born Dorothy Ann Willis on September 1, 1933, in Lacy-Lakeview, Texas. Known for her sharp wit, strong personality and liberal political views, Richards fought for women's and minority rights and worked to bring more women and minorities into power. She showed political promise in high school, excelling in debates. Her strong debating skills earned her a college scholarship, graduating from Baylor University in 1954. She went on to get a teaching certificate at the University of Texas in Austin in 1955. She was elected county commissioner in 1976, then state treasurer in 1982. She made waves at the 1988 Democratic Convention as keynote speaker when she said that Republican nominee George H.W. Bush was "born with a silver foot in his mouth." She became the governor of Texas in 1990, and although she only spent one term in office—losing the 1994 election to George W. Bush—she was known for plans to build a "new Texas."

Emma Tenayuca
Labor Leader, 1916-1999

It’s the women who have led. I just have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that if ever this world is civilized, it would be more the work of women.


Emma Tenayuca was just 16 years old when she joined a strike of women cigar makers. Born in San Antonio in 1916, she grew up hearing fervent political debate at Plaza del Zacate. “If you went there, you could find a minister preaching. You could also find revolutionists from Mexico holding discussions. I was exposed to all of this.” By 1937 Emma was leading sit-down strikes at City Hall and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) headquarters. Her fiery speeches inspired crowds of workers. In January 1938, when pecan shellers in San Antonio walked out of their jobs, they turned to Emma for support. She immediately joined their cause, rallied thousands, and was arrested along with many others. The shellers won a favorable settlement to the strike, but many lost their jobs soon afterwards to mechanization. Today Emma Tenayuca is remembered as La Pasionaria for her fierce defense of the working poor.

Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
Professional Athlete, 1911-1956

Winning has always meant much to me, but winning friends has meant the most.

Babe Zaharias

Mildred Didrikson Zaharias was born June 26, 1911 in Port Arthur, Texas, and earned her nickname "Babe" by hitting five home runs in one childhood baseball game. At the 1932 Olympics, she won medals in the hurdles, javelin throw and high jump. By the 1940s, she was the greatest woman golfer of all time. The Associated Press declared Babe Zaharias to be the "Woman Athlete of the Half Century" in 1950.

The National Women's History Museum

On December 12, 2014 the National Women's History Museum announced Congressional approval of legislation calling for the creation of a privately funded, bipartisan congressional commission to study and produce a plan for a national women's history museum in the nation's capital. Congressional approval of legislation calling for the creation of a privately funded, bipartisan congressional commission to study and produce a plan for a national women's history museum in the nation's capital. There are plans to hire a female architect for the project. This female architect will become the first woman to design a museum on the National Mall. 

When construction is completed the Museum will research, collect and exhibit the contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history. The museum will use innovative and engaging means including permanent and online exhibits, educational programs, and outreach efforts to communicate the breadth of women's experiences and accomplishments to the widest possible audience. The sharing of this knowledge will illuminate and encourage women and men, people of all classes, races and cultures to move into the future with respect, equal confidence, greater partnership, and opportunity.

Please visit the National Women’s History Museum’s online exhibits at https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/

Source: https://www.nwhm.org/ & https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2013/12/11/house-committee-to-consider-national-womens-history-museum/