There’s just so much to share this month about amazing women and the fascinating lives they’ve led. So we’ve broken our highlight post into two parts. (See Part 1 here for some TV highlights throughout the month).
This round, we’re introducing some of the most inspiring women from Wisconsin – women whose efforts continue to make an impact around the world. Even if some of these names sound familiar, why not meet a few more?
Read on for even more – then, tell us which Wisconsin women, past and present, inspire YOU!
BIG NAMES, BIG DREAMS
Over the years, WPT has had the privilege of sharing the life stories of many women who made an impact across Wisconsin and beyond. Check out some of our favorite original documentaries.
Mildred Fish-Harnack (1902-1943)
- Writer Meg Jones shares Fish-Harnack’s story with Wisconsin Life. (Listen or read it here.)
- Wisconsin Biography entry
- Wisconsin Women Making History entry
Vel Phillips (1924-present)
A politician, judge and activist from Milwaukee, Phillips became the first woman and the first African-American person elected Wisconsin’s Secretary of State.
Here at WPT, we’re thrilled to have had an opportunity to share the life of Vel Phillips with thousands of kids and teachers across the state through our Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams resources (accessible to anyone who’s interested). But that’s just a start!
- Vel Phillips at Wisconsin Women Making History
- Vel Phillips and James Groppi: The Fight For Fair Housing
Emma Toft (1891-1982)
Watch Emma Toft: One With Nature.
- Zona Gale: first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama
- Belle Case La Follette: Ballots and Bloomers
- Kate Pelham Newcomb: Doctor of the Northwoods
- Elizabeth Baird: Life In Territorial Wisconsin
- Golda Meir: teacher, activist, first female prime minister of Israel
- The Chordettes: singing sensations from Sheboygan
- Ada Deer: first woman to head the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Gerda Lerner: founder of the academic field of women’s studies
- Maa Vue, of Wausau, is a rising Hmong-language pop star.
- Jamie Baertsch, of Wisconsin Dells, is Wisconsin’s first female brewmaster.
- Winnie Karanja, of Madison, is working to make tech open to all.
- Mee Moua, of Appleton, was the first Hmong American elected to a U.S. state legislature.
- Tess Onwueme, of Eau Claire, is considered one of Africa’s leading playwrights.
- Sheri Swokowski, of DeForest, is a retired U.S. Army colonel fighting to end employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Since 1948, Alice in Dairyland – whoever holds the crown! – has served as an ambassador for Wisconsin agriculture.
ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY
- Erika Janik reflects on what Women’s History Month means to her.
- Author Patti See describes how writing letters made one woman a writer.
- Bonnie Logan went from farm girl to pin-up star – all part of an extraordinary life.
- The sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery link faith with care for the environment.
- Valerie Kaneshino, raised on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, experienced loss and rediscovery through a cultural dish found in Wisconsin and Hawaii.
- The Mad Wreckin’ Dolls find family on four wheels.
On a final note… check out WPT’s Women Under Fire, a 1982 documentary showing the challenges some women faced in becoming firefighters. Lots of things have changed for women since 1982, but there’s still a long way to go.
No matter what the future brings, WPT is honored to shared these inspiring stories.