About the National Archives

Women’s History Month: The Glass Ceiling, Broken or Cracked?

Archivist’s welcome for
Women’s History Month: The Glass Ceiling, Broken or Cracked?
Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m.
McGowan Theater, Archives I

Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s discussion about women in public service—whether you are sitting here in the theater or joining us through YouTube.

Our partner for tonight’s program is the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, and we thank them for their support.

Before we being tonight’s program, I’d like to tell you about two programs that will take place here later this month.

On Wednesday, March 8, at noon, author Scott Miller will recount the work of Allen Dulles as described in his new book, Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in World War II.

The next week, on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m., we will host the U.S. launch of Damian Shiels’s new book, The Forgotten Irish: Irish Emigrant Experiences in America, for which he researched Civil War pension records here at the National Archives to tell the stories of 35 Irish families.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events in print or online at Archives.gov. There are copies in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet so you can receive it by regular mail or email. You’ll also find brochures about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

* * *

Upstairs, in a side gallery near the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, is a special display of the credentials of Jeannette Rankin, in honor of the 100th anniversary of her swearing-in as the first Congresswoman.

Rankin was part of a long line of women—like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, and Belva Lockwood—who pushed for a greater say in the governance of our country.

Elected four years before women had the right to vote nationally, Rankin was sworn in on April 2, 1917. That same evening, President Woodrow Wilson appeared before Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. Congresswoman Rankin joined 49 Congressmen in voting against entering World War I. Nearly 25 years later, Rankin made history again when, in her second term in Congress, she voted against U.S. entry into World War II just after the Pearl Harbor attack. Upholding her pacifist beliefs, she was the only Member of Congress to vote against declarations of war for both world wars.

After Jeannette Rankin, more women entered Congress, and each wave showed the way for the next. Tonight we’ll hear from several women who pursued careers in public service and met and overcame challenges along the way.

* * *

Now it is my pleasure to welcome our panelists to the stage.

Our moderator is Rebecca Berg, who is national political reporter for Real Clear Politics, and our panelists are:

Ann Marie Buerkle, a former member of Congress who represented New York and is now the acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission;

Barbara Kennelly, is a former member of Congress who represented Connecticut and is president of her own advocacy organization, Barbara Kennelly Associates;

Margaux Matter, chief of staff to Congresswoman Claudia Tenney; and

Lynn Schenk, a former member of Congress who represented California and who serves on the Board of Directors of Biogen and Sempra Energy.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our panel to the stage.


Rankin: http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/RANKIN,-Jeannette-(R000055)/