Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Defying "Can't"

Defying "Can't"

More From Sarah

In this video

Weddington on defying the derision of a college dean and attending law school as one of few women in 1964.

Sarah's Biography

Most Meaningful Advice Received: “My father’s sermon called, ‘Have an Attitude of Gratitude.’ I think the more we, as individuals, are grateful for the good things that have happened, the more good things tend to happen.”
Early Ambition: Teaching 8th grade English.
Teacherly Wisdom: “I’m an introvert. A lot of [my students] are too. But an introvert must learn extrovert behavior to be a successful leader.”
A Good Life: “Continual learning” and, “always trying to think about, what in this experience can I use to help make the world a better place for other people?”

Sarah Weddington stepped into the national spotlight when she successfully argued the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, at the tender age of 26. The daughter of a Methodist minister, Weddington grew up in the small town of Abilene, Texas. She completed high school in only two years and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English from McMurry University in 1964. She then attended the University of Texas Law School, despite the admonition by the Dean of McMurry that, as a woman, it would be too challenging. Weddington was one of only five women entering her class of 120 students.
After her Supreme Court victory, Weddington was elected to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives, where she passed critical legislation which focused on health, women’s rights, anti-discrimination, and early education. She left for Washington in 1977 to become the first female General Counsel of the United States Department of Agriculture and then served as an assistant to President Carter, directing the Carter Administration's work on women's issues and appointments. Throughout the 1980s, Weddington was a distinguished lecturer at Texas Women’s University, and later became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas-Austin. She founded the Weddington Center where she continues her work as a speaker and writer, focusing primarily on women in leadership.
 
Weddington has received numerous honors and awards over the course of her extraordinary career. Early in her career, Time magazine selected her as one of the "Outstanding Young American Leaders," and Planned Parenthood bestowed her its highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Woman of Valor Award. In 2000, Texas Lawyer Magazine named her as "One of the Most Influential Lawyers of the 20th Century," and in 1999, she was honored as a "Texas Woman of the Century" by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas.

Related Videos

Andrea Jung
Andrea Jung
First Female CEO of AVON

A letter from Andrea Jung’s father sits on her desk at Avon, where she served as the cosmetic giant’s first female and longest-serving CEO. “Cultivate the absence...

Suzanne Braun Levine
Suzanne Braun Levine
First Editor of Ms. Magazine & Author

Suzanne Braun Levine was the first editor of "Ms." magazine (1972-1988), and the first woman editor of the prestigious "Columbia Journalism Review". Suzanne...

Roberta Kaplan
Roberta Kaplan
United States V. Windsor Attorney

Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan is the attorney who successfully argued the United States V. Windsor case, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a key provision of the Defense of Marri...

Anne Wojcicki
Anne Wojcicki
Co-Founder and CEO, 23andMe

With a hope to empower consumers with access to their own genetic information and change the face of health care, Anne Wojcicki co-founded the personal genetic testing company, 23a...