On this day in 1932, Hattie Caraway became the first elected woman senator, representing the state of Arkansas.
Caraway first took office in the then-traditional way—that is, she was appointed by the Arkansas governor to temporarily fill in when her husband died. In that way, she became a senator on December 9, 1931. The state of Arkansas held a special election to fill the vacant senatorial spot the remaining months of the term, and she easily won, thus becoming the first woman actually ELECTED to such a high office.
Caraway had pretty much avoided the political and social scene at the capital while her husband was alive, and she had not been part of the woman's suffrage movement. She said that "after equal suffrage I just added voting to cooking and sewing and other household duties."Because of these things, after her term as senator ended, everybody expected her to step aside. However, she surprised Arkansas politicians, especially all those already vying for the senatorial seat, by announcing that she was running for re-election. She didn't announce it in some private Democratic Party meeting, nor in a press conference—she announced it while she presided over the Senate (at the Vice President's invitation). Caraway said, "The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job."
She won the primary and general election, and six years later won another term as senator.
Although Caraway's success did a lot to promote a greater public role for women, Caraway joined other southern senators in prejudice in racial matters; one of the few of Franklin Roosevelt's bills that she did NOT support was an anti-lynching bill.
World Wide Women
The U.S. has not yet elected a woman president, but many other countries have had female heads of government, including:
Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Central African Republic, Ceylon, Chile, Croatia, Dominica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Moldova, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Transkie, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (Great Britain), and Yugoslavia.
Whew! That's a fair few countries who have had women presidents and prime ministers! And of course lists like this exclude queens, empresses, and female pharaohs; some of these rulers have been just figureheads, but many have been extremely powerful!
Here are some of the most famous women who headed their governments—this time INCLUDING monarchs. Match the name to the country:
3.Isabel Martinez de Peron (Evita)
8.Catherine the Great
H. United Kingdom
ANSWERS: 1.E 2.H 3.A 4.D 5.F 6.C 7.B 8.G
Also on this day...
Happy Birthday, Jack London
This American author wrote The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, and White Fang. Although he was one of the first Americans to make a good living just from writing, he was also, according to Science Gnus, an “oyster pirate, deep-sea sailor, hobo, and Alaskan [gold] prospector...”
Check out some of London's work here...
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."
...and on the web.
(The section called “Writings” has tons of short stories and novels available for free.)