5 Things You Didn't Know Eleanor Roosevelt Did for Women
October 11 marks what would have been the celebration of Eleanor Roosevelt's 132nd birthday, and in honor of this special day, MAKERS is highlighting some of the many groundbreaking movements she was a part — especially those for women.
From helping push for women's suffrage to joining movements to earn more rights for female workers, the former First Lady had a vision before the term "feminism" was even coined.
Below are five things she did for women throughout her lifetime:
1. Shortly after World War I, Eleanor Roosevelt began working with the International Congress of Working Women and the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) "to address the causes of poverty and war."
2. In 1920, Mrs. Roosevelt joined the League of Women Voters in the hopes of women's suffrage. Shortly after, she joined the Woman's Trade Union League and the Women's Division of the New York Democratic Party where she made friends who, like herself, began to learn what "feminism" was, without actually knowing the word for it.
3. From 1935 to 1962, ER wrote a syndicated newspaper column six days a week known as "My Day." In the column she wrote about topics that were fairly unexplored by prior FLOTUSes such as women and employment/work, women in war, and equal rights.
4. Also unlike the First Ladies before her, Eleanor Roosevelt believed there was more for her to do than host and entertain. So, during the Great Depression, she decided to travel the country, relaying the information to the President, essentially guiding him on how his programs were doing (where they were and were not working) by "acting as his eyes and ears."
5. According to "History," Roosevelt was an early champion of civil rights, an advocate for women and American workers, and supporter of appointing "more women to federal positions," something for which she pressed her husband to do, holding "hundreds of press conferences for female reporters only at a time when women were typically barred from White House press conferences."
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