Home > March Is Women's History Month

March Is Women's History Month

Hadassah recognizes the generations
of women who have inspired and motivated others to action.
Feel proud to stand side by side with these great women who championed
the causes important to them and changed the world.

Most Outstanding Jewish American Women of Our Time

new! Bella Abzug *was a U.S. Representative from New York who founded the National Women's Political Caucus and was instrumental in the Second Wave of the women's movement in the 1970s. She was reputedly the first to say "This woman's place is in the House—the House of Representatives.

Virginia Apgar * was the creator of the Apgar Newborn Scoring System, a method of evaluating the health of infants minutes after birth, in order to make sure they receive proper medical care.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the second woman ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court and is known as the legal architect of the modern women's movement.

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Gertrude Belle Elion * was a Nobel Prize winner and one of the America's most distinguished research scientists. Elion, working predominantly with George Hitchings, created drugs to combat leukemia, gout, malaria, herpes and autoimmune disorders. Elion and Hitchings devised a system for designing drugs that led to the development of the AIDS drug AZT.

Charlotte "Eppy" Epstein * was known as "Mother of Women's Swimming in America" after she founded the Women's Swimming Association and coached the Women's Olympic Swimming Team in the 1920s. 

Betty Friedan, * author of The Feminine Mystique, has been central to the reshaping of American attitudes toward women's lives and rights.

new! Gabby Giffords was a U.S. Representative from Arizona when she was shot in the head by an enraged constituent. She retired and continues to overcome severe brain injury. She is an ardent advocate for gun reform.

Hannah Greenbaum Solomon, * the visionary founder of the National Council of Jewish Women, spent her lifetime organizing communities to work cooperatively for social good.

Ruth Handler * changed the face of the toy industry with her introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959. Co-founder of the Mattel toy company, Handler was also noted for her marketing innovations. She later went on to a successful second career in the prosthetic breast business.

new! Anne Heyman Merrin * was a New York philanthropist who create education programs for Rwandan children who had been left without resources after genocide. She founded the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, modeled after Israeli youth villages that took in orphan refugees following the Holocaust. Anne gave up her law career to concentrate on philanthropy.

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Eleanor K. Baum is the first female engineer to be named dean of an engineering college in the United States, breaking many professional gender barriers along the way.

new! Elena Kagan is the fourth female justice to be nominated on to the Supreme Court of the United States, and according to her rabbi, was the organizer for the first formal bat mitzvah at her synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City. "Elena Kagan felt very strongly that there should be ritual bat mitzvah in the synagogue, no less important than the ritual bar mitzvah," said her rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Emma Lazarus*, an American poet, is best known for her faith in America as a safe place for all the suffering people of the world, as expressed in her poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in New York.

new! Anne Levy was a Holocaust survivor who wrote the story of her childhood horrors. She began a grassroots movement to defeat the Ku Klux Klan's political agenda in Louisiana and crushed the political career of David Duke, KKK leader in that region.

Annie Londonderry * was the world's first international female sports star who transcended the limitations of her time, and displayed independence and bravery by being the first person to ride a bicycle around the world.

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Golda Meir * was the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Meir was Israel's first and the world's third female to hold such an office. She was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics.

new! Lori Palatnik is an activist for Jewish women's rights and the founder of "Birthright for Women," which brought over 2,000 women to Israel on birthright over the course of five years.

Judith Resnick * was an American engineer and a NASA astronaut who died in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger during the launch of its mission. Resnik was the second American woman and the second Jewish person in space, logging 145 hours in orbit.

new! Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook; before Facebook, Sheryl worked for Google and the US Secretary of the Treasury. Because of her outstanding success, she became a role model for women worldwide-- coping with the demands of child-rearing and personal and professional fulfillment. She wrote the book "Lean In," which launched a movement to encourage women and girls to pursue professional lives.

new! Rose Schneiderman * was a suffragette and activist for labor unions, a founding member of the American Woman Suffrage Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, Rose was an outspoken advocate on behalf of those in poor working conditions.

Felice Schwartz* founded Catalyst, which dedicated itself to expanding opportunities for women in business. Through Catalyst, Schwartz effected long lasting changes that reshaped the American business world into a more inclusive, women-friendly environment.

new! Gertrude Stein* was an American-born poet and literary giant who cultivated a generation of writers and artists, including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, in her famous Paris salon.

Gloria Steinem is recognized around the world as a writer, speaker, political activist, and feminist visionary.

Henrietta Szold *was the founder of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of American, Inc. Largely under Szold's leadership, Hadassah created the infrastructure for a modern medical system in Palestine that serves both Jews and Arabs. Szold spent most of the last twenty-five years of her life in Palestine, overseeing numerous health, educational, and social service institutions that would become an integral part of the State of Israel. In her seventies, under the shadow of the Nazi threat in Europe, Szold directed Youth Aliyah, an organization that brought thousands of children from Germany and Europe to agricultural settlements in Palestine.

Florence Wald *was an American nurse, former Dean of Yale School of Nursing, and largely credited as "the mother of the American hospice movement."

Lillian Wald * dedicated her life to bringing quality medical care and better living conditions to the Jewish immigrant population on New York's Lower East Side. 

new! Barbara Walters was as the first female broadcast journalist to gain national prominence, initially as a writer and host on the Today Show. She is most famous for her incisive interviews with celebrities of all kinds.

new! Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a U.S. Representative from Florida, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and a longtime friend and member of Hadassah. She is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights, gay rights, gun control and Israeli-American diplomacy.

Gertrude Weil's* passion for equality and justice shaped the course of her long life. Weil stood courageously at the forefront of a wide range of progressive and often controversial causes, including women's suffrage, labor reform and civil rights.

Frances Wisebart Jacobs* organized and became president of the Hebrew Ladies' Relief Society and later broadened the scope of her work to establish the Denver Ladies' Relief Society. Jacobs became known as Denver's "mother of charities."

Rosalyn Yalow,* the first woman born and educated in the United States to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific field.

new! Janet Yellen broke a glass ceiling in 2014 when, at the age of 67, she became the first female to chair the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

*- may their memories be for a blessing.

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