June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
aka LGBTQ+ Pride Month
“We are powerful
because we have survived,
and that is what it is all about
— survival and growth.”
– Audre Lorde,
self-described “Black, lesbian,
mother, warrior, poet”
Welcome to WOW2, a four-times-a-month
sister blog to This Week in the War on Women.
“If the world conference on
women is to address the
concerns of all women, it
must similarly recognize
that discrimination based
on sexual orientation is a
violation of human rights.”
– Beverly Palesa Ditsie,
South African lesbian activist
at the 1995 UN Women’s
Conference. Her speech
was the first to address
LGBTQ+ rights as human
rights at a UN conference.
“I’m one of just four special envoys
for LGBTQI+ rights in the world.
So this position represents a
growing trend in foreign policy
to recognize that good foreign
policy is inclusive foreign policy.
And that means having senior
experts on LGBTQI rights.”
appointed in 2021 as
the first U.S. Special Envoy to
Advance the Human Rights
of LGBTQI+ Persons at
the Department of State
The purpose of WOW2 is to learn about and honor women of achievement, including many who’ve been ignored or marginalized in most of the history books.
These trailblazers have a lot to teach us about persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. I hope you will find reclaiming our past as much of an inspiration as I do.
THIS WEEK IN THE WAR ON WOMEN
will post shortly, so be sure to go there next, and
catch up on the latest dispatches from the frontlines.
Many, many thanks to libera nos, intrepid Assistant Editor of WOW2. Any remaining mistakes are either mine, or uncaught computer glitches in transferring the data from his emails to DK5. And much thanks to wow2lib, WOW2’s Librarian Emeritus.
Trailblazing Women and Events in Our History
Note: All images and audios are below the person or event to which they refer.
- June 24, 1314 (? year uncertain) – Philippa of Hainault born in France, became Queen of England as the wife of Edward III; acted as regent in 1346 when her husband went to war in France. Credited with persuading Edward to spare the Burghers of Calais when the besieged city was forced by starvation to surrender; Edward said he would spare the people if six of the city’s leaders would give themselves up to him, demanding they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city. Philippa asked Edward to be merciful, saying their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child, Thomas of Windsor (who only lived a year, in spite of Edward’s mercy).
- June 24, 1322 – Johanna, Duchess of Brabant, born; ruler of Brabant (1355-1406). Her first husband, William IV, Count of Holland, died in battle, after 11 years of marriage, and their only son also died young. The negotiations for her second marriage, to Wenceslaus of Luxembourg, resulted in a document in 1356 called the Blijde Inkomst (“Joyful Entry”) which became the rule of law in Brabant. It assured Johanna and her consort peaceable entry into their capital and settled the inheritance of the Duchy of Branbant on Johanna’s sisters, her “natural heirs,” more acceptable to Brabant’s burghers than rule by the House of Luxembourg. However, Louis II of Flanders almost immediately made a military incursion into Brabant, claiming he was Duke of Brabant by right of his wife, Johanna’s younger sister. With Brabant overrun by forces from Flanders, Johanna and Wenceslaus had little choice but to sign the humiliating Treaty of Ath, ceding Malines and Antwerp to Louis. They asked Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV for support by force of arms, but instead he met at Maastricht with the parties concerned, including representatives of all the towns, and nullified certain terms of the Blijde Inkomst, to satisfy the Luxembourg dynasty. Wencelaus was defeated and captured at the battle of Baesweiler against the Duke of Jülich in 1371, after mercenaries robbed Brabantine merchants in Jülich territory, and Duke protected the culprits. Johanna did manage to keep Louis III from succeeding her. At her death, the Duchy passed to her great-nephew Antoine, second son of her niece, Margaret III, Countess of Flanders.
- June 24, 1808 – Anna ‘Ninette’ de Belleville Oury born in Germany to a French family, pianist and composer. Her father was director of the national Court Opera in Mannheim. At age 21, Chopin heard her perform in Warsaw and wrote her a letter praising her playing for its lightness and elegance – 12 years later, he dedicated his Waltz in F minor to her. In July 1831, she made her debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and played for the Royal family. In October 1831, she married Antonio Oury, a violinist at London’s King’s Theatre She and her husband toured together extensively as a duo. In 1847, they started the Brighton Musical Union, a club for chamber music. Ninette composed about 180 works for piano, as well as some duets and chamber pieces.
- June 24, 1831 – Rebecca Harding Davis born, American author and journalist; advocate for marginalized groups in society including Blacks, Native Americans, women, immigrants, and the working class; author of the novella, Life in the Iron Mills.
- June 24, 1867 – Ruth Randall Edström born, American women’s rights and peace activist; she moved to Europe after marrying Sigfrid Edström, a Swedish engineer, and they lived in first in Switzerland, and then in Sweden. She an organizer of the third peace conference in The Hague, and a participant in the International Women’s Congress of 1915.
- June 24, 1880 – Agnes Nestor born, American labor leader, politician, suffragist, and social reformer, known for her roles in the International Glove Workers Union and the Women’s Trade Union League.
- June 24, 1893 – Suzanne LaFollette born, journalist, author, Concerning Women (1926) editor, radical libertarian feminist, managing editor of The Freeman (1950-1953) and The National Review (1955-1959).
- June 24, 1912 – Mary Wesley born, English novelist and children’s author; she worked for MI5 during the war and noted in her official biography, published after her death, that she would “hunt in pairs” with her friend Betty, who, like her, favoured men in RAF uniform. Years later, when her husband died, she was left impoverished, and tried writing children’s books, but they brought in little money. Her first adult novel, Jumping the Queue, was published when she was 71 years old, and she wrote ten more novels in the next fourteen years, all of them bestsellers. Her most successful book, The Camomile Lawn, was made into a popular television series in the UK. Some younger readers were shocked that an “elderly woman” author would use such salty language and put septuagenarian sexual scenes in her books, but she delighted a large number of readers who were her contemporaries.
- June 24, 1914 – Pearl Witherington born, British secret agent, fought in occupied France as a Special Operations Executive (SOE) member, leading a guerrilla band of French resistance fighters; recommended for the Military Cross, but was denied it because she was a woman.
- June 24, 1916 – Mary Pickford signed a 2-year million dollar contract as an independent producer-performer with Paramount Pictures, which also entitled her to a cut of her films’ profits, the first million dollar contract in Hollywood history, making Pickford Tinseltown’s highest paid star.
- June 24, 1916 – Saloua Raouda Choucair born, Lebanese painter and sculptor; considered Lebanon’s first abstract artist; in 1943, she went to Egypt, and discovered the Islamic art of Cairo’s mosques. A combination of architectural and traditional Islamic elements then became central to her work. After returning to Lebanon, some of her drawings were published in the Art Gazette of the American University of Beirut’s Art Club, and in 1947, she exhibited geometrical gouache works at the Arab Cultural Gallery, the first recorded abstract painting exhibition in the Arab World. In 1947, she went to Paris, becoming part of the city’s art scene, and spent the remainder of her life there, over time concentrating more on sculpture than painting, and winning a commission for a stone sculpture as public art in Beirut. She lived to be 100 years old.
- June 24, 1917 – Joan Clarke born, British cryptanalyst and numismatist; one of the WWII code breakers at Bletchley Park working on the Enigma project. When Clarke first arrived at Bletchley Park in June, 1940, she was placed with “The Girls,” a group of women who mainly did routine clerical work, as cryptology wasn’t considered a job for a woman. Clarke later said she only knew of one other female cryptologist working at Bletchley. Gordon Welchman, her former academic advisor, who recruited her, was able to get her transferred to Hut 8. She was the only woman practitioner of Banburismus, a cryptanalytic process Alan Turing developed to reduce the need for bombes (electromechanical devices as used by Welchman and Turing to decipher German encrypted messages). Although Clarke’s position was the same as her male coworkers, she was paid less due to her gender. Clarke’s first promotion was to Linguist Grade, although she knew no other languages, a ploy so she could be paid more money, because of her workload and contributions to the team. Clarke became deputy head of Hut 8 in 1944, but that was her last promotion, and she continued to be paid less than her male counterparts. She and Alan Turing became close friends and worked well together. In 1941, Turing proposed, and they were engaged, but he privately admitted to her he was a homosexual, she said she had already suspected. Turing decided he could not go through with the marriage, and broke off the engagement. He and Clarke remained close friends until his death in 1954. After the war, Clarke worked for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where she met and married John Murray, a retired army officer who served in India. From 1952 to 1962, she was retired to care for her husband, who was in ill health. She returned to GCHQ in 1962, and worked there until her retirement in 1977.
- June 24, 1917 – Lucy Jarvis born, American television producer. She left being a food editor at McCall’s magazine to raise her two children, but volunteered for the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT), producing the ORT documentary, Passport to Freedom, and began working for radio and television organizations, including Pathé News, and in 1957 on a public affairs radio program with Martha Rountree. In 1959, she was associate producer on NBC’s The Nation’s Future, becoming its producer in 1961. Jarvis produced documentaries, including The Kremlin (1963 – she was in Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis), The Louvre: A Golden Prison (1964) which won a Peabody Award and six Emmys, and What Price Health (1973), which won a Hillman Prize. She left NBC in 1976 to produce several Barbara Walters specials for ABC, then launched her own production company, producing Broadway shows, including Sophisticated Ladies (1988).
- June 24, 1918 – Mildred Ladner Thompson born, American journalist, one of the first women reporters at The Wall Street Journal.
- June 24, 1923 – Margaret Olley born, Australian painter, known for still-lifes; winner of the Mosman Art Prize. She donated over 130 artworks to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, with an estimated value of $7 million AUD.
- June 24, 1929 – Carolyn Shoemaker born, American astronomer; as a 51-year-old “empty-nester,” she started as a field assistant to her husband Gene. Carolyn discovered 32 comets and over 800 asteroids, and was the co-discoverer of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
- June 24, 1937 – Anita Desai born in the Garhwal Kingdom; Indian novelist and Emerita Professor of Humanities at MIT; won the 1978 Sahitya Akademi Award and the Holtby Memorial Prize for Fire on the Mountain, and the 1983 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for Village by the Sea. Her books Clear Light of Day, In Custody, and Feasting, Fasting were shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
- June 24, 1941 – Julia Kristeva born in Bulgaria, French psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher, author, feminist, and human rights activist; developed the concept of abjection, the process of separating one’s self from another, such as a child developing a separate identify from a protective parent, or an abused woman separating her sense of self from her abuser. Kristeva founded the Simone de Beauvoir Prize.
- June 24, 1943 – Birgit Grodal born, Danish economist and academic, who worked on micro-economic theory, mathematical economics, and general equilibrium theory; elected as president of the European Economic Association, but died before she took office.
- June 24, 1944 – Kathryn Lasky born, American author of children’s fiction, including historical novels in the Dear America series; also wrote adult fiction, sometimes under a pen name.
- June 24, 1947 – Clarissa Dickson Wright born, English chef, author, and one of the Two Fat Ladies (1996-1999) with Jennifer Paterson in the popular BBC2 cooking programme. She was one of only two women to become a Guild Butcher, and also accredited as a cricket umpire. She died in 2014 at age 66.
- June 24, 1952 – Dianna Melrose born in Zimbabwe, British diplomat; British High Commissioner to Tanzania (2013-2016); British Ambassador to Cuba (2008-2012); Department for International Development (2002-2006); Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2000-2002 and 2006-2008).
- June 24, 1960 –Dame Elish Angiolini born, Scottish lawyer; the first woman to be both Solicitor General (2001-2006) and Lord Advocate of Scotland (2006-2011).
- June 24, 1964 – Kate Parminter born, Baroness Parminter of Godalming; British Liberal Democrat Life Peer in the House of Lords since 2010; Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords since 2015; Liberal Democrats Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson (2015-2017); Chief Executive of the Campaign to Project Rural England (1998-2004).
- June 24, 1966 – Adrienne Shelly born as Adrienne Levine; American actress, film director, and screenplay writer. She wrote, directed, and co-starred in 1999’s I’ll Take You There, and Waitress, released in 2007, after Shelly’s death. In November 2006, Shelly was found dead, hanging in the shower of the apartment she used as an office. Originally the police considered her death a suicide, even though the front door was unlocked and money was missing, but a closer examination of the bathroom revealed a male footprint that wasn’t a match to her husband, Andy Ostoy. Police arrested a construction worker, who confessed to the murder and then making it look like a suicide. Ostoy established the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which awards scholarships, production grants, finishing funds and living stipends to filmmakers. The Women Film Critics Circle gives an annual Adrienne Shelly Award to the film it finds “most passionately opposes violence against women.”
- June 24, 1967 – Women vote for the first time in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as voters approve a new constitution.
- June 24, 2001 – Mo’ne Davis born, American Little League pitcher, the first girl to pitch a shutout, in the 2014 Little League World Series.
- June 24, 2010 – Julia Gillard, Labor Party politician, becomes Australia’s first woman Prime Minister (2010-2013); also the first female Deputy Prime Minister (2007-2010), and the first woman leader of a major party in Australia.
- June 24, 2011 – New York State legalizes same-sex marriage.
- June 24, 2016 – Stonewall National Monument Day celebrates the designation of the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park in Greenwich Village as the Stonewall National Monument, commemorating the LGBT Uprising which began June 28, 1969, the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement.
- June 24, 2018 – Marla Arna Jackson is awarded the 2018 Celebrated Artist Lifetime Achievement Award by the Anyone Can Fly Foundation. The self-taught fiber artist, painter, doll maker, indigo dyer, shibori dyer, portrait artist, seamstress, and author is a world-renowned visual narrative artist and quilter, and community-based visual art educator. Her works were exhibited in over 35 national and international venues, including The American Folk Art Museum and The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. One of her works is part of the permanent collection at The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.
- June 24, 2019 – Vicky Phelan, told in January 2018 she had less than a year to live, exposes a medical scandal in Ireland: hundreds of smear tests for cervical cancer giving false negatives after the Health Service Executive (HSE) outsourced screening the tests to unapproved laboratories in the UK and U.S., compounded by an “inadequate” system for responding to screening errors. The Irish government has approved payments of €20,000 each to at least 120 women who were not told their smear tests were audited for errors after they developed cancer. Phelan’s 2011 smear test failed to detect abnormalities. By 2014, worried by bleeding between periods, she went for another test, which detected cancer. She began treatment within weeks. An internal HSE review discovered the mistake made three years earlier, when treatment might have averted the disease. No one told Phelan until 2017. Then she learned the cancer was incurable. Phelan sued. In April 2018 she received a settlement of €2.5 million (about$2,636,260 USD), without admission of liability, from Clinical Pathology Laboratories, a Texas-based company sub-contracted to assess her test. After her case against the HSE struck out, she resisted a gag order and went public with her story. Inaccurate smear test results were given to at least 208 women who were later diagnosed with cervical cancer. Most were not told about the revised results, and 20 of these women died. After Phelan received the devastating diagnosis, first she cried, but then, she got angry. “I’ve always been bullheaded and stubborn,” she said. “I thought: I’m not taking this. I’ve got two small kids. You can’t honestly tell me to go home and die. I was so fucking angry.” A formidable researcher and campaigner, she successfully fought for access to pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, which shrank her tumor and extended her life. The Irish state now offers the drug to other women with cervical cancer. Irish people were belatedly learning to stand up for themselves, she said, first challenging the Catholic church and now the medical establishment. “I have people who come up and say: ‘Oh Vicky, you’d be so proud, I asked my doctor a question today.’ I love that.” She funded a pilot project to give those diagnosed with terminal cancer a professional advocate, an expert to advise on options including experimental treatments. “It’s to give people a little bit of hope that there might be something out there. There isn’t always, I know that. But you can’t just send people home to die without a little bit of hope.” Phelan died at age 48 in November 2022, five years after she was “sent home to die.”
- June 24, 2020 – Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old Black woman facing life in prison on charges of killing her alleged sex trafficker, was freed from jail on bail. Kizer was imprisoned for two years while awaiting trial. She was allegedly trafficked beginning at age 16 by Randall Volar, a 34-year-old white man. Court records show Volar had a history of sexually abusing underage Black girls but remained free. Kizer says she shot and killed Volar in self-defense in 2018. Advocates pointed to some similarities between Kizer’s case and that of Cyntoia Brown, who was freed from prison in 2019 after serving 15 years of a life sentence for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was also 16 years old. Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee granted Brown clemency for what he called a “tragic and complex case.” In June 2021, Chrystul Kizer won an appeal, allowing her to use the affirmative defense, presenting evidence to a judge, and possibly a jury, that her actions were a “direct result” of being trafficked. In February 2023, Kizer, who has been out on bail for several months, appeared at a hearing to present arguments to the judge about what evidence will be admitted at her trial.
- June 24, 2021 – New research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows that life expectancy across the U.S. plummeted by nearly two years from 2018 to 2020, the largest decline since 1943, when American troops were dying in World War II. White Americans lost 1.36 years, but Black Americans lost 3.25 years and Hispanic Americans lost 3.88 years. During the study’s time period, the U.S. average loss of life expectancy was nearly nine times greater than the average in 16 other developed nations, whose residents can now expect to live 4.7 years longer than Americans. While Covid-19 and lack of access to non-emergency medical care had a dramatic impact, by June, 2021, job losses increased the number of Americans living below the poverty line to 11.3%, compared to 10.7% in January 2020. Eviction, food insecurity, isolation, and stress all had a negative impact on U.S. health, and women, especially Black and Hispanic women, were hit hardest. Not only did U.S. public schools close, but nearly half of child care centers closed, while others reduced the number of children they serve, leaving many working mothers unable to return to work because there was no one else to care for their children. When pregnant women were evicted, their newborns were more likely to be born early, underweight, and have a higher risk of dying in the first year. Women without access to healthcare had a higher risk of preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and post-partum depression. Evicted women were in greater danger of sexual assault, according to Emily Benfer, visiting professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. A March 2021 report from the National Women’s Law Center estimated “women have lost a generation of labor force participation gains,” leaving them and their children financially disadvantaged for years, and increasing the risk of their life expectancy being cut short.
- June 25, 1526 – Elisabeth Brooke Parr, Marchioness of Northampton, born; influential courtier during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. She survived the scandal of living openly with William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, after his first wife Anne left him, and had an illegitimate child by her lover in 1541. Parr was able to divorce Anne on grounds of adultery by 1543, but was not allowed under the law to remarry. He and Elisabeth married anyway, considered bigamy. Finally, in 1551, a private bill was passed in Parliament annulling his first marriage, and accepting Elisabeth as his legal wife. But upon the very Catholic Queen Mary I’s accession, he was ordered to return to his first wife, and stripped of his titles. After Mary died in 1558, his titles were restored, and his marriage to Elisabeth was once again accepted. The restored Marchioness became close to Queen Elizabeth I, and as a consequence, she was much courted, even by foreign ambassadors, hoping she would use her influence in their favor. Elisabeth died in 1565, at age 39, after suffering for a year from breast cancer, and trying every false cure offered. Both Elizabeth I and William Parr were devastated.
- June 25, 1678 – Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia becomes the first woman to be awarded a PhD; she earned a doctorate of philosophy degree from the University of Padua.
- June 25, 1741 – Maria Theresa crowned Queen of Hungary, the only woman ruler of the Habsburg dominions, and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign (1740-1780) of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and Holy Roman Empress (1745-1765). The oldest of three daughters of Emperor Charles VI, who overturned the Salic law of male-only succession with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, then spent the rest of his reign making costly deals with the other European powers to insure its recognition at his death. But when he died in 1740, France, Spain, Saxony-Poland, Bavaria. and Prussia reneged, setting off the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued the new queen for the first eight years of her reign. She had married Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor in 1736, and they had 11 daughters and 5 sons. Ten of their children survived to adulthood. Though she was expected to cede power to Francis and their eldest son Joseph, both of whom were officially her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia, Maria Theresa was an absolute sovereign who ruled with the counsel of her advisers. She made institutional, financial, and educational reforms, promoted commerce and agricultural development, and reorganized the army. On the down side, she was a bigoted Roman Catholic, who regarded Jews and Protestants as dangerous to the state, advocating for Catholicism to be the state religion, and tried to end religious pluralism. In her final years, she did allow some limited state protections of Jews, prohibiting forced conversion, surplice fees (a surcharge to Catholic priests for weddings, baby-namings and funerals, even though the services were performed by Jewish officiates), and blood libel (the false accusation of Jews murdering Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals).
- June 25, 1874 – Rose O’Neill born, American cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and feminist; the first published American woman cartoonist (True magazine, 1896); creator of the popular comic strip Kewpies, which debuted in 1909, and made her the highest-paid woman illustrator of her day. Her Kewpies were also model for Kewpie dolls, first manufactured in 1912.
- June 25, 1881 – Crystal Eastman born, American lawyer, suffragist, and writer. She was a leader in the fight for women’s suffrage, as a co-founder and co-editor with her brother Max Eastman of the radical arts and politics magazine The Liberator, co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and a co-founder in 1920 of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 2000 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
- June 25, 1900 – Zinaïda Aksentieva born, Ukrainian-Soviet astronomer, worked on mapping gravity and tidal deformation of the earth; Director of the Poltava Observatory (1951-1969).
- June 25, 1903 – Madame Marie Curie announces the discovery of radium.
- June 25, 1910 – The U.S. Congress passed the Mann Act, written by Illinois congressman James R. Mann, which prohibits interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes.” The ambiguous language of “immorality” allowed it to be used to criminalize consensual sexual behavior between adults (amended since to apply solely to transport for the purpose of prostitution or illegal sexual acts). Muckraking journalists fanned the hysteria.
- June 25, 1912 – Virginia Lacy Jones born, pioneering African American librarian, and activist in the integration of public and academic libraries. She was the second black American to earn a Ph.D. in Library Science (1945), and was dean of the Atlanta University School of Library Science (1945-1981).
- June 25, 1921 – Celia Franca born in England, the daughter of Polish immigrants, English-Canadian dancer-choreographer, founder and first artistic director (1951-1975) of the National Ballet of Canada.
- June 25, 1923 – Dorothy Gilman born, American author, best known for her Mrs. Pollifax espionage series, but also wrote other novels and young adult books. In 2010, she was honored with a Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America. She died at age 88 in 2012.
- June 25, 1926 – Dame Margaret Anstee born, British diplomat, served at the UN (1952-1993); in 1987 she was the UN’s first woman Under-Secretary-General, and the first woman to head a peacekeeping mission, in Angola (1992-1993). She worked on operational programmes of economic and social development with the UN Development Programme, and also served as Coordinator for all UN narcotic drug control programmes in the late 1980s. After leaving the UN in 1993, she became a Special Adviser to the government of Bolivia on development and international finance. She died at age 90 in 2016.
- June 25, 1928 – Rita Rapp born, American physiologist who led NASA’s Apollo Food System team (1966-1973), and the team responsible for the food aboard the Skylab space station (1973-1974).
- June 25, 1934 – Beatriz Sheridan born, Mexican director and actress, pioneer of Mexican telenovelas, and prominent figure in Mexican theatre.
- June 25, 1947 – The Diary of Anne Frank is published in the Netherlands.
- June 25, 1951 – Eva Bayer-Fluckiger born, Swiss mathematician and professor, worked on topology, algebraic number theory, lattices, quadratic forms, and Galois cohomology. With Raman Parimala, proved Serre’s conjecture II regarding the Galois cohomology of a simply-connected semisimple algebraic group when such a group is of classical type.
- June 25, 1954 – Sonia Sotomayor born, American lawyer and judge, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 2009, the first woman of Puerto Rican heritage on the Supreme Court. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976, and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal. Sotomayor was an assistant district attorney in New York City (1979-1984) before entering private practice. She was on the boards of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board. In 1992, Sotomayor was nominated by George H. W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, then nominated by Bill Clinton in 1997 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, but the Republican majority slow-walked her nomination, and she wasn’t confirmed until 1998. On the Second Circuit (1998-2009), Sotomayor heard appeals of over 3,000 cases and wrote 380 opinions, before being nominated to the Supreme Court by Barack Obama. Known on the court for her concern for the rights of defendants, calls for criminal justice system reform, and strongly dissenting opinions opposing the conservative majority on issues of race, gender, and ethnic identity.
- June 25, 1967 – Tracey Spicer born, Australian newsreader and award-winning journalist; co-host of Network Ten Eyewitness News (1995-2006), then a Sky News Australia news presenter (2006-2015). In 2015, she produced a documentary on the plight of women in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and India. Spicer writes a column for Traveller Magazine’s Sunday edition, and a column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper. She is also a freelance writer, public speaker, and a supporter of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Dying With Dignity, and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
- June 25, 1970 – Ariel Gore born, author and editor-publisher of Hip Mama, an alternative press publication covering the culture and politics of motherhood.
- June 25, 1974 – Nisha Ganatra born in Canada of Indian subcontinent ancestry, film director, producer, screenwriter, and actress, best known for her films Chutney Popcorn and Cosmopolitan.
- June 25, 1993 – Kim Campbell chosen as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and becomes Canada’s first female Prime Minister.
- June 25, 1993 – Tansu Çiller takes office as the first woman Prime Minister of Turkey (1993-1996).
- June 25, 2016 – The Nigerian army reports it rescued 5,000 people — mostly women and children — held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists for over six years. The soldiers evacuated four remote villages in Borno, a state in the northeast region of Nigeria where Boko Haram has been active since 2009. The militant organization has killed over 20,000 people, kidnapped and enslaved girls and women, and caused 2.5 million people in Nigeria and nearby countries to flee their homes as refugees.
- June 25, 2016 – The Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid overturned a lower court’s verdict in a case which caused a firestorm of protest throughout the country. During the Pamplona bull runs in 2016, an 18-year-old Spanish woman was gang-raped by five men, a group calling themselves La Manada (the wolf pack). She was sexually penetrated nine times within the space of half an hour – five times orally, three vaginally and once anally. They then left her lying there, having stolen her mobile phone so she couldn’t immediately call for help. After that, they bragged about it on their Whatsapp group, posting photos and videos. In the first trial, a chat app showing the men discussing buying date rape drugs was ruled inadmissible, but photos of the victim at parties on her social media, taken in the months after the attack, were allowed, and helped the defense lawyers smear her as a “seductress.” They argued that she was “consenting” because she appeared frozen in a video clip of the 30-minute attack, and wasn’t resisting, so a lesser charge of sexual abuse was applied instead of rape. Spanish law still used resistance by the victim as a determining factor of whether or not the victim had consented. The men were each sentenced to nine years in prison. Women across Spain poured into the streets to protest the verdict, and against a court ruling that the convicted men could be released on bail while a higher court studied their case. They chanted Tranquila hermana, aquí esta tu manada (Don’t worry sister, we are your wolf pack). In the retrial, the Supreme Court found the men guilty of rape, and raised their sentences from 9 years to 15 years in prison. Isabel Rodriguez, the public prosecutor on the case, said: “You can’t ask victims to act in a dangerously heroic way.”
- June 25, 2020 – NASA announced naming its headquarters in Washington DC after mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson, the U.S. space agency’s first Black woman engineer. Jackson was “part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “Mary never accepted the status quo — she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology.” Her story was told in the book Hidden Figures, and the movie of the same name. Jackson retired from NASA in 1985 and died in 2005; she posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.
- June 25, 2021 – President Joe Biden announced appointment of Jessica Stern to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons at the Department of State – a role critical to ensuring that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons globally. The Special Envoy will lead implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World. At a time when the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are increasingly threatened in all regions of the world, the Special Envoy will work to create alliances between like-minded governments, civil society organizations, corporations, and international organizations. Stern, as Executive Director of OutRight Action International, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, expanded the UN General Assembly resolution to include gender identity, and co-founded the UN LGBTI Core Group, and is a member of several leadership bodies of UNWomen.
- June 26, 1699 – Madame Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin born, most prominent Parisian salonnière of her day, internationally known as host to influential Philosophes and Encyclopédistes of the French Enlightenment. Her twice-weekly salons began with an afternoon dinner, on Mondays for artists and on Wednesdays with the literati. Her fame was so wide-spread that notable visitors and foreign ministers called on Madame Geoffrin, hoping to be invited to her select dinners. She was a mentor of younger women like Julie de Lespinasse and Suzanne Necker, who became the next generation of salonnières. Geoffrin was a patron of the arts and commissioned several works. Many artists and writers of the day made connections with wealthy patrons through her salons.
- June 26, 1767 – Sarah Pierce born, American educator, founder of the Litchfield Female Academy (1792-1833), one of the earliest and most important U.S. schools for girls. Notable attendees included Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The academy offered the usual studies in Art, Needlework, Deportment, Music, and French available at most female seminaries, but it also included more advanced studies in Mathematics, Science, Latin, Moral Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric, and Natural Philosophy, the highest level of education available to American women during that time. Students who completed the full course of study were awarded diplomas. Unlike “finishing” school, pupils were not just from well-to-do families, but also came from less financially advantaged backgrounds. Over 20 students became assistant teachers at Litchfield, and 58 graduates became teachers at other academies, or opened their own schools. Many graduates were leaders in 19th century charitable organizations or reform movements.
- June 26, 1873 – Gauhar Jaan born as Angelina Yeoward in British India, to an English father who was an engineer, and a mother trained in Indian music and dance; Jaan became a Hindustani classical singer and dancer who was a court musician (1887-1896) at the royal courts of Dabhanga Raj. She was one of the first performers to make records in India, for the Gramophone Company of India, making over 600 records in 10 languages (1902-1920). Jaun popularized Hindustani musical forms like thumri, dadra, karjri, and tarana.
- June 26, 1892 – Pearl S. Buck born, American author; 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature winner; she was the daughter of missionaries, who took her to China when she was 5 months old, and spent most of the first 40 years of her life in Zhenjiang, China. She was criticized by Western Christians for advocating Chinese leadership for the church in China, and by the Chinese from both the Nationalist and Communist camps as a representative of Western Imperialism. Buck’s best-selling novel, The Good Earth, winner of 1932’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was in part a response to all her critics.
- June 26, 1893 – Dorothy Fuldheim born, American journalist and television news anchor. She began as a reporter for The Cleveland Press newspaper, but m became a television news pioneer at age 54, joining Cleveland’s WEWS-TV in 1947, when it was the only TV station between New York and Chicago, She was the first American woman anchor on a TV news broadcast, the first U.S. woman to host her own show, and first U.S. woman to host a TV news analysis program, Highlights of the News.
- June 26, 1902 – Antonia Brico born, Dutch-American conductor; first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic (1930) and N.Y. Philharmonic (1938); founder-conductor of the Women’s Symphony Orchestra (1934-1939). When male musicians were admitted, WSO became the Brico Symphony Orchestra, then evolved into the Denver Philharmonic in 2004. Brico was conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic (1958-1963). Raised as Wilhelmina Wolthius by abusive foster parents who never formally adopted her, she found solace at the piano, because “Music doesn’t hurt little girls.” It wasn’t until college that she learned of her illegitimate birth to a Dutch teenager and an Italian nightclub pianist with the last name of Brico, and reclaimed her birth name. Composer Jean Sibelius was a life-long mentor, who called Brico his “sixth daughter.” In 1950, she detoured after an engagement in Europe to what was then French Equatorial Africa to meet Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who shared her love of Bach, they became lifelong friends. Judy Collins was one of her piano students as a child, and participated in making the 1974 documentary film directed by Jill Godmilow called Antonia: A Portrait of a Woman.
- June 26, 1911 – “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias born, multi-talented athlete, outstanding in basketball, track and field, swimming, golf, and billiards; winner of 10 major women’s golf championships. In 1948, she was the first woman to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, but her application was rejected by the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), as the event was intended to be open to men only.
- June 26, 1916 – Virginia Satir born, pioneering American family therapist and author of Conjoint Family Therapy, Peoplemaking, and The New Peoplemaking. She co-founded the Mental Health Research Institute (MRI), offering the first formal family therapy training program. Satir was MRI’s Training Director, believing the “presenting issue” was seldom the real problem, but how people coped with the issue created the problem. She organized groups to help individuals find mental health workers, and connect with others suffering from similar issues. Developer of the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, using clinical studies, often used by management and organizational consultants to define how change impacts organizations.
- June 26, 1921 – Violette Szabo born, WWII French-British Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent; on her second mission into occupied France, she was captured by the German army, interrogated, tortured, and deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where she was executed. Posthumous recipient of the George Cross, the UK’s second highest award “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger” while not under direct fire by the enemy.
- June 26, 1922 – Carolyn Sherif born, social psychologist, pioneer researcher in group psychology, self-system, and gender identity.
- June 26, 1932 – Dame Marguerite Pindling born, Lady Pindling, the second woman to be Governor-General of the Bahamas (2014-2019).
- June 26, 1936 – Edith Pearlman born, American short story and non-fiction writer; awarded 2012’s National Book Critics Circle Award for “Binocular Vision.”
- June 26, 1946 – Candace Beebe Pert born, American neuroscientist and author of Molecules Of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel. Internationally recognized pharmacologist; discovered the opiate receptor, the cellular binding site for the brain’s endorphins. She worked for the National Institute of Mental Health (1975-1987), became the NIMH’s first woman Section Chief, of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch (1983-1987). Founded and directed a private biotech lab in 1987.
- June 26, 1948 – Shirley Jackson’s now-classic short story “The Lottery” is published in The New Yorker magazine, causing cancelled subscriptions and prompting hate mail for Jackson.
- June 26, 1949 – Mary Styles Harris born, American biologist and geneticist; founder, president and genetics consultant of Harris & Associates, Ltd.
- June 26, 1956 – Catherine Samba-Panza born, lawyer and non-partisan politician; interim President of the Central African Republic (2014-2016), first woman to serve as president of the Central African Republic; Mayor of Bangui (2013-2014), C.A.R.’s capital.
- June 26, 1963 – Harriet Wheeler born, English singer-songwriter; best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band The Sundays (mid-1980s-1997): with David Gavurin, co-wrote “Here’s Where the Story Ends,” “Monochrome,” and “She.”
- June 26, 1984 – Aubrey Plaza born, American comedian, actress, and producer; played April Ludgate on the television sitcom Parks and Recreation (2009-2011). In 2017, she produced and starred in the independent films The Little Hours and Ingrid Goes West, winner of the 2017 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
- June 26, 1996 – U.S. Supreme Court orders the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state funding support.
- June 26, 1997 –The British edition of J.K. Rowling’s first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is published in the U.K.
- June 26, 2003 – U.S. Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas strikes down state bans on consenting same-sex relations by a 6-3 vote. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia cast dissenting votes. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.”
- June 26, 2013 – U.S Supreme Court rules 5-4 that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is in violation of the 5th Amendment, that same-sex marriages are valid in California, and that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits; major victories for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
- June 26, 2015 – In Obergefell et al v Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, and other similar cases, U.S. Supreme Court makes a 5-4 ruling that states cannot ban same-sex marriage – now celebrated as Same Sex Marriage Day.
- June 26, 2016 – New York City’s annual gay pride parade opened with a moment of silence to honor the 49 people killed and 53 injured in the June 12th mass shooting at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, site of the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. to that date. Authorities tightened security at pride parades in New York and around the nation in the wake of the Pulse massacre. Pride events also celebrated President Obama’s designation of the area of New York City’s Stonewall Inn as the first national monument to gay rights.
- June 26, 2019 – Former University of Southern California gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting 16 women who were patients at the school’s student health center. The 29 felony counts were case’s first criminal charges, although USC already offered to pay $215 million to settle thousands of civil claims. Tyndall, 72, worked at USC for nearly three decades. One of his accusers, Daniella Mohazab, called the filing of charges “a huge step in moving forward.” Tyndall denied doing anything wrong, and Andrew Flier, one of Tyndall’s attorneys claims, “We’re going to be able to punch some serious holes in all these allegations.” However, medical experts who evaluated Tyndall’s confidential records reported there was evidence that he preyed on USC students from Asian countries who were vulnerable because of their age and language skills. The records, totaling over 600 pages, were evidence in a federal class-action suit by former patients against Tyndall and USC. By 2023, over 700 women had come forward to accuse him.
- June 26, 2020 – Judge Peter J. Kelly of Queens County Surrogate Court in New York dismissed a bid by President Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, to block publication of Mary Trump’s tell-all book. Kelly said he didn’t have jurisdiction over the dispute. Ted Boutros, a renowned First Amendment lawyer representing Ms. Trump, called the attempt to squelch the book “baseless,” and said no court “has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech.” Robert Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, said the request to block the book, Too Much and Never Enough, was due to a confidentiality agreement Mary Trump signed and that he would file a new lawsuit in a different court.
- June 26, 2021 – Saudi women’s rights’ activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada were released from prison, three years after a sweeping crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman targeting women activists who peacefully advocated for greater freedoms, and were critical of Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship laws. Both rights group ALQST and Human Rights Watch confirmed their release. Both women, along with several women’s rights campaigners, were sentenced to five years in prison, with two years suspended. Badwi and al Sada remain barred from travel abroad for five years as part of their conditional release, and banned from speaking to the media or posting online about their cases. It is unclear what Badawi and al-Sada were found guilty of. People with knowledge of al-Sada’s case said she’d been charged under a cybercrime law and found guilty of undermining public order by communicating with foreign journalists and organizations. Amnesty International said she was held in solitary confinement for a year, and not allowed to see her children or her lawyer for months at a time. Badawi, a well-known human rights activist who petitioned Saudi courts to remove her father as her legal guardian on grounds he was barring her from marrying potential suitors. She later spoke out in defense of her brother Raif Badawi, who is serving 10 years in prison over internet posts critical of the ultraconservative religious establishment. He was publicly flogged in 2015. Other human rights activists, including several Saudi men who supported women’s rights, remain detained.
- June 27, 1556 – The Stratford Martyrs, 11 men and 2 women, including Elizabeth Pepper of Colchester who was pregnant, and Agnes George of West Bergholt, were burned at the stake for their Protestant beliefs, at Stratford-le-Bow during the Marian persecutions. The thirteen were accused of nine counts of heresy. During the five years of Mary I’s reign, over 300 people burned to death in Mary’s effort to return the country to Roman Catholicism.
- June 27, 1812 – Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy Waterston born, American writer of poems, novels, hymns, and a diary, who often used variations on her initials as a pen name; Quincy Waterson was also a supporter of education for the blind. In 2003, the diary she wrote at age 17 was published as A Woman’s Wit and Whimsy.
- June 27, 1869 – Emma Goldman born, Russian-born American labor leader, anarchist, and a pivotal figure in the development of the anarchist political philosophy in the first half of the 20th century. She was a well-known writer and lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She repeatedly arrested for “inciting to riot” and distributing birth control information. She was the founder and first editor (1906-1907) of the anarchist journal, Mother Earth, “A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature,” which lasted until 1917, when Goldman, and Alexander Berkman, who became editor after Goldman, were arrested and found guilty under the 1917 Espionage Act because they encouraged men to resist the draft after the U.S. entered WWI. They were deported with 247 others to the Soviet Union in 1919 aboard the USS Buford. Goldman had initially viewed the Bolshevik revolution positively, but began to have doubts even before she arrived in Russia, where she quickly became completely disillusioned. She began a long, circuitous journey, attempting to return to the U.S., by way of England, France, and Canada. After her autobiography was published, she was allowed to lecture in the U.S., but only on drama and her autobiography, and when her visa expired, she was denied a new one. She spent some time in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, then returned to Canada. In February 1940, she suffered a debilitating stroke, which paralyzed her right side, and left her unable to speak. After a slight improvement, she had a second stroke in May, and died five days later at age 70.
- June 27, 1869 – Kate Carew born as Mary Williams; caricaturist and writer who worked for the New York World; she was sent to Europe in 1911 to write and illustrate a series, “Kate Carew Abroad” for which she did about 500 interviews of notables like Pablo Picasso, John Galsworthy, George Moore, Émile Zola, and Lady Sackville-West. Back in the U.S. in 1912, she spent several days with Abdu’l-Bahá, head of the Bahá’í faith at the time, during his visit to America. She did caricatures of Woodrow Wilson, Mark Twain, Ethel Barrymore, and many others. Her work also appeared in the British literary journal, The Tatler, and the London Strand.
- June 27, 1880 – Helen Keller born; two years later, illness made her deaf and blind; American author and activist; the first blind and deaf person to earn a bachelor of arts degree; a member of the Socialist Party of America, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, for socialism and against militarism, and was investigated by the FBI as a “communist sympathizer.”
- June 27, 1888 – Antoinette Perry born, American actress, director, producer, and co-founder and chair of the board of the American Theater Wing; the Antoinette Perry Awards, commonly known as the Tony Awards, were established in her honor. The Stage Women’s War Relief was founded in 1917, but disbanded at the end of the war. In 1939, it was revived by Rachel Crothers, Antoinette Perry, Helen Hayes, Lynn Fontaine, and Tallulah Bankhead, then renamed the American Theatre Wing in 1941.
- June 27, 1893 – The song by Patty and Mildred J. Hill, “Happy Birthday to You” is published, now the most recognized song in the English language. In 2016, U.S. courts declared it was in the public domain.
- June 27, 1906 – Dame Catherine Cookson born, English best-selling historical romance and fiction author; at fourteen, she left school to work in domestic service and as a laundress, then ran a boarding house. After marrying at age 34, she suffered a series of miscarriages, caused by a rare vascular disease, telangiectasia, which causes bleeding and anemia. She had a mental breakdown, and took up writing to help her cope with depression during her recovery. Her nearly 100 novels have sold over 123 million copies, and have been translated into 123 languages.
- June 27, 1914 – Helena Benitez born, Filipina politician, women’s equal rights activist, academic and administrator of the Philippine Women’s University (private university co-founded by her mother); Member of the Philippines Senate (1967-1972), then in the Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly, 1978-1984). Founder of the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company in 1956, designated as the Philippines national folk dance company in 1998.
- June 27, 1914 – Margaret Ekpo born, leading Nigerian women’s rights activist and social mobilizer, helped push the movement beyond ethnic solidarity; at age 20, her hope of advanced training as a teacher was delayed when her father died; she taught in elementary schools, then married a doctor, Udo Ekpo, in 1938. In 1946, she studied in Dublin, Ireland, earning a diploma in domestic science, then founded a Domestic Science and Sewing Institute in Aba, a Nigerian commercial, textile and handicraft center. By 1945, her husband was frustrated by British colonial dismissive treatment of Nigerian doctors and other professionals, but as a civil servant couldn’t attend meetings about forming resistance against the wide-spread discriminatory policies, so Margaret Ekpo went to a political rally, and discovered she was the only woman there. By 1950, she had organized a market women’s association, unionizing Aba market women, then expanded the fight to civil and economic rights for all Nigerian women. Ekpo joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NGNC) to press for independence, and protested the massacre of over 20 anti-colonial miners striking at Enugu coal mine. The NGNC nominated her to the regional House of Chiefs. In 1954, she started the Aba Township Women’s Association, which became an effective political pressure group. By 1955, women voters in a citywide election outnumbered men. After Nigeria became independent and formed the First Republic, Ekpo was elected to the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961, but a military coup overthrew the First Republic in 1966, and her activism was curtailed.
- June 27, 1915 – Grace Lee Boggs born, American author of Chinese heritage, activist, philosopher, socialist, feminist and translator. Even with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr, earned in 1940, she faced double prejudice as a woman of Chinese heritage, and took a low-paying job at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library, then became involved with a Workers Party campaign for tenants’ rights, starting her long association with the African American civil rights movement. After meeting historian and socialist C. L. R. James when he spoke in Chicago, she moved to New York, where she met other activists like Richard Wright and Katharine Dunham. She was soon translating essays by Karl Marx into English, and became part of the Johnson-Forest Tendency within the Workers Party, which later broke away from the party. In 1953, she married James Boggs, a black auto worker, political activist, and writer. They moved to Detroit, continuing to focus on Civil Rights and Black Power. She wrote several books on the 1960s and 1970s, including co-authoring with her husband Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century. Lee Boggs helped found the Detroit Asian Political Alliance in 1970, and Detroit Summer in 1992, a multicultural and intergenerational youth program. James Boggs died in 1993. She continued to write and remained active, speaking at a forum at the University of California Los Angeles in 2012. She died four months after turning 100 in 2015.
- June 27, 1924 – Lena Jones Wade Springs, women’s rights activist, becomes the first woman placed in nomination for U.S. Vice President at 1924’s Democratic National Convention, where she was chair of the convention’s Credentials Committee.
- June 27, 1936 – Lucille Clifton born, American author, poet, and educator, Poet Laureate of Maryland (1979-1985); her work celebrates her African-American heritage and chronicles her experiences as a woman.
- June 27, 1944 – Angela King born, a leader of the British environmental movement, co-founder of Common Ground with Sue Clifford and Roger Deakin, linking nature with the Arts in campaigns to encourage people to make positive investments in preserving their local environments. King was the first Friends of the Earth Wildlife Campaigner in Britain, and a consultant to the Nature Conservancy Council; co-author with Sue Clifford of England in Particular, a celebration of the distinctive character and charm of its little-known places, now being lost to corporate, political, and media uniformity.
- June 27, 1951 – Mary McAleese born, Irish Fianna Fáil/Independent politician; she is pro-choice, and a founding member of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, which caused criticism of her as a Catholic by members of the Catholic hierarchy. McAleese, the second woman President of Ireland (1997-2011), was the first woman to succeed another woman president, President Mary Robinson. McAleese graduated in Law, and appointed in 1975 as Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1987, she became Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. In 1994, she was the first female Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University. She built her political career as a member of delegations and committees rather than as an elected official. Her theme as President of Ireland was ‘Building Bridges.’ She worked for social equality and inclusion, continuing the reconciliation process. Member of the Council of Women World Leaders.
- June 27, 1953 – Alice McDermott born, American author and academic. Her book Charming Billy won the 1998 National Book Award for Fiction, and a 1999 American Book Award.
- June 27, 1963 – Wendy Alexander born, Scottish Labour politician; Member of the Scottish Parliament from its inception (1999-2011); Leader of the Scottish Labour Party (2007-2008).
- June 27, 1976 – Leigh Nash born, American singer-songwriter; lead vocalist for Sixpence None the Wiser; her debut solo album, Blue on Blue, was released in 2006. Co-writer of the songs “My Idea of Heaven,” “Never Finish,” “Between the Lines,” and “Angel Tonight.”
- June 27, 2019 – The family of Lauren McCluskey filed a $56 million lawsuit against the University of Utah, alleging the school failed to protect their daughter who was killed in October, 2018, shot multiple times by a man she had a brief relationship with, after she reported him to both campus police and Salt Lake City police over 20 times for harassing, threatening, and stalking her. Lauren was on her cell phone with her mother Jill when her killer confronted her with a gun. Her father, Matt McCluskey, immediately called police, who found her body. Jill McCluskey said the family had repeatedly asked University President Ruth V. Watkins “to take responsibility and to hold individuals accountable” for their daughter’s death. “The university has taken no responsibility for Lauren’s preventable death,” Jill McCluskey told reporters. “No one has been disciplined or held accountable in the campus police or housing … The university must pay a large amount so that they realize it is in their interest to believe women, and act with urgency when their female students ask for help.” Lauren McCluskey was a 21-year-old track athlete. Her mother said any money from the lawsuit would go to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation, which honors her daughter’s legacy through charity, and helps student athletes. Her killer was a 37-year-old man who had been convicted in 2004 of felony charges of enticing a minor and attempted forcible sexual abuse. On an audio recording of hearings released by the Utah Boards of Parole and Pardons, he admitted to a history of manipulating women. A review of the investigation of the killing found that University of Utah campus police did not know how to access criminal background or parole information, and had not contacted anyone who might have information on the man. The killer shot and killed himself after police searching for him chased him into a church. In the U.S., a report from the Department of Justice estimated that 40 percent of homicides of women are carried out by men who are, or were, their intimate partners. The McCluskeys’ suit was settled by state leaders in 2021 for $13.5 million — the largest in Utah history.
- June 27, 2019 – Scotland: Muirfield Golf Club is the home of The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, a group founded in 1744. They were the company that wrote down the first rules of golf for competitions. For the first time in 275 years, and two years after its members voted overwhelmingly in favor, the Honorable Company invited 12 women to apply for membership, on or after July 1, 2019. In August, 2022, Lindsey Garden became the Company’s first woman member to tee up in the AiG Women’s British Open, the first women’s event ever held at Muirfield.
- June 27, 2020 – An Egyptian court sentenced five women to two years imprisonment on charges of violating public morals, with fines of 300,000 Egyptian pounds (£14,600, or $20,324 USD). Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham, and three other social media influencers posted footage on the video-sharing app Tik-Tok. Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3 million followers that girls could make money by working with her. Authorities arrested al-Adham in May for posting satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram for her 2 million followers. The arrests highlight a social divide in the deeply conservative Muslim country over what constitutes individual freedoms and social norms. “The verdict is shocking, though it was expected. We will see what happens on appeal,” said women’s rights lawyer Intissar al-Saeed. “It is still a dangerous indicator … Regardless of the divergent views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it still is not a reason for imprisonment.” An appeals court acquitted Hossam and overturned al-Adham’s prison sentence in January 2021, and they were released the following month. However, prosecutors then introduced the more serious charge of human trafficking. The women were accused of “using girls in acts contrary to the principles and values of Egyptian society with the aim of gaining material benefits.” In June, 2021, the Cairo Criminal Court found them both guilty of the offence. Hossam was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail and al-Adham, who was present, was given a six-year sentence. Hossam was granted a retrial, but the same court found her guilty, and the judge add a fine of 200,000 Egyptian pounds ($10,800 USD). Mai El-Sadany, a U.S.-based human rights lawyer and director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, tweeted that the verdict meant Egypt’s justice system was “criminalising what influencers globally do every day when they invite others to work with them and monetize TikTok activity.”
- June 27, 2021 – In Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, about 50 members of the country’s persecuted LGBTQ+ community participated in Malawi’s first Pride parade. The risks to those who took part were high. Homosexuality remains illegal in Malawi, and those who identify as anything other than heterosexual face arrest. A conviction carries a jail term of up to 14 years. Eric Sambisa, director of the NYASA Rainbow Alliance, said the alliance received threats after the parade, but their extensive planning before the parade helped it to take place without incident.
- June 28, 1444 – Charlotte, Queen of Cyprus, born, eldest and only surviving legitimate child of King John II of Cyprus. Married to her first husband at age 12, but he died the next year. Her father died when she was 14, and she succeeded to the Cypriot throne (1458-1463). Her reign was plagued by the machinations of her illegitimate half-brother James, who constantly challenged her right to the crown. She married Louis of Savoy, Count of Geneva, in 1459, because the Genoese promised to aid her in keeping her crown against the claims made by James. In 1460, James gained the support of the Egyptians, and blockaded Charlotte and her husband in the castle of Kyrenia for three years before they were forced to flee from Cyprus in 1463. James was promptly crowned as King James II. Charlotte formed a small court in exile on the island of Rhodes. Her only child, a son born in 1464, died before he was named. Charlotte’s attempts to regain the throne, both militarily and by political intrigue, failed. Louis died in 1482, and she moved to Rome the following year. She died there in 1487, at age 43.
- June 28, 1778 – Mary “Molly Pitcher” Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth. Legend says she took her husband’s place at his gun after he was overcome by heat.
- June 28, 1854 – Margaret Bancroft born, pioneer in special-needs education. At age 25, she started The Haddonfield School, with just one student, one of the first private schools in the U.S. for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, at a time when most children with developmental disabilities were sent to large institutions for custodial care. Bancroft created a specialized program for the physical, mental, and spiritual growth of each particular student. She stressed the importance of proper nutrition, personal hygiene, exercise, daily prayers, sensory and artistic development, and lessons suited to mental age. Students were taken on trips to the circus, theaters, museums, and concerts. It was renamed the Bancroft Training School in 1904.
- June 28, 1876 – Clara Maass born, American nurse; served as a contract nurse for the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War and in the Philippines; she then went to Cuba to assist in the research into yellow fever, where she volunteered to be infected, and died of the disease.
- June 28, 1891 – Esther Forbes born, American author and historian; noted for historical novels, including A Mirror for Witches, about the 17th century Salem witch hunt, and The General’s Lady, about Bathsheba Spooner, who conspired with her lover to murder her husband, the first woman executed in the United States after the Declaration of Independence. Forbes won the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, and the 1944 Newbery Award for Johnny Tremain. She became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1949. In 1960, she was the first woman elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society.
- June 28, 1894 – Dame Anne Loughlin born, British labor activist, organizer, and journalist; member and organizer for the National Union of Tailor and Garment Workers (NUTGW). In 1916, at age 22, she was in charge of a strike of 6,000 workers in the wool trade at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. In the 1920s, she wrote articles for the union paper, The Garment Worker. She moved into the union’s top leadership during the 1930s. In 1939, she was appointed to an advisory panel for the production of army clothing, and served on the Ministry of Labour and National Service subcommittee on the wholesale clothing trade. In 1942, she was chair of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the second woman chair after Margaret Bondfield, and the first woman to preside at the annual conference. Loughlin was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1943, and served on the Royal Commission on Equal Pay (1944-1946), dissenting from the Commission’s report which argued introduction of equal pay would have a destabilizing effect. She was elected as the secretary of the NUTGW (1948-1952).
- June 28, 1906 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer born in Germany, American theoretical physicist; in 1939 she worked at Columbia University on the separation of uranium isotopes for the atomic bomb project. In 1949, she devised the shell nuclear model, which explained the detailed properties of atomic nuclei in terms of a structure of shells occupied by the protons and neutrons. Co-recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics; second woman to win the prize in physics after Marie Curie, for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus.
- June 28, 1907 – Yvonne Sylvain born, first Haitian woman doctor; first woman accepted into the University of Haiti Medical School, earning her medical degree in 1940; specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at Port-au-Prince General Hospital. She did research on health issues affecting Haitians and campaigned for improved medical access for the poor. She was also a member of Ligue Féminine d’Action Sociale, campaigning for women’s suffrage (won in 1950). She was an active member of the Haitian League Against Cancer, an officer of the Haitian Foundation for the Health and Education, and a delegate and researcher for the World Health Organization (WHO). She went to Nigeria, Senegal, and Costa Rica to share her expertise. At home, Sylvain spoke out for civic, social, and economic equality for Haitian women, and encouraged other women to go to medical school.
- June 28, 1917 – Katherine Rawls born, American athlete and Olympian; national champion in swimming and diving; during WWII, she was a pilot in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.
- June 28, 1934 – Bette Greene born, American author; known for Summer of My German Soldier, and her Newbery Honor Book Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe.
- June 28, 1946 – Gilda Radner born, comedian, original cast member of “Saturday Night Live.” The Gilda Radner Hereditary Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai was founded in her memory.
- June 28, 1947 – Laura Tyson born, American economist, author, and columnist; first woman Dean of the London Business School (2002-2006); Chair of the U.S. National Council of Economic Advisors (1995-1996); Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors (1993-1995); served on the Council on Foreign Relations (1987-2016).
- June 28, 1956 – Amira Hass born, Israeli journalist, columnist, and author, recognized for reporting on Palestinian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza; her reporting and criticism have caused her trouble with both the Israeli government and Hamas.
- June 28, 1958 – Donna F. Edwards born, American Democratic politician and community activist. In 1990, she co-founded and was first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a network of over 2,000 member organizations, and worked to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. She was the first African-American woman Representative from Maryland in the U.S. House (2008-2017), and ran unsuccessfully to replace retiring Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski in 2016. Currently co-chair of the progressive group Health Care Voter.
- June 28, 1966 – Mary Stuart Masterson born, American actress, producer, director, and writer. Known for her roles in Some Kind of Wonderful, Immediate Family, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Benny & Joon. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the 2003 Broadway revival of the musical Nine. After directing for television, Masterson made her feature film directorial debut with The Cake Eaters, winner of an Audience Award for Dramatic Feature at the Ashland Independent Film Festival in 2008.
- June 28, 1969 – The Stonewall Rebellion: another routine police raid at 3AM to harass patrons at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, NYC, in the early morning hours erupted into resistance and protests with growing crowds over the next several nights. This is now marked as the beginning of the gay liberation movement, which evolved into the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago on the Stonewall anniversary. The Stonewall Inn was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2016.
- June 28, 1976 – The first official women cadets arrive at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO. However, an unheralded “test group” had begun training months before to see how “a small number of women would fit into a masculine situation and how those women would retain their femininity,” according to Air Force General James McCarthy, when the story was uncovered years later.
- June 28, 2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court declared a Nebraska law outlawing the so-called “partial birth abortions” was unconstitutional. 30 other states had similar laws at the time. But in 2003, President George Bush signed into law the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed by Congress, and the Supreme Court upheld it 5-4 in 2007.
- June 28, 2017 – A judge dismissed a perjury charge against the former Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman whose 2015 death in a Texas jail set off national protests. Prosecutors recommended dropping the misdemeanor charge, the only one the trooper faced in the case, on the condition that he surrender his police credentials and sign a sworn statement promising to never again take a job in law enforcement. He was fired as a state trooper in 2016, and indicted on the allegation that he made a false statement under oath about the traffic stop that led to Bland’s arrest. Bland was moving to Texas from Illinois to start a new job when the trooper pulled her over for failing to signal while changing lanes. The encounter escalated when he told her to put out her cigarette, then ordered her out of the car when she refused. She was found hanging in her cell days after her arrest. Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit over her daughter’s death while in custody, which Waller County and the State of Texas settled for $1.9 million in 2016.
- June 28, 2019 – In Alabama, a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach was arrested and charged with manslaughter because the shooting caused her pregnancy to end, alarming reproductive rights activists. Marshae Jones, a 28-year-old African-American woman, was released after posting a $50,000 bond. Local police accused Jones of starting the fight that led to the shooting in the parking lot of a Dollar General store outside of Birmingham. The National Abortion Federation tweeted, “This is how people—especially women of color—are already being punished & having their pregnancies criminalized.” Alabama is one of 38 states to have a fetal homicide law. Charges against the woman who shot her were dismissed by a Grand Jury, but Jones was indicted on a manslaughter charge based on the claim that she had started the fight. The Jefferson County district attorney dismissed the case and said “no further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter.”
- June 28, 2021 – In India, there was a gender gap in the 309 million doses of Covid vaccine administered between January 2021 and June 25, 2021. Over 166 million doses went to men, and 143 million doses went to women. The ratio of 856 doses to women for every 1,000 doses given to men is not accounted for by India’s gender imbalance of 924 women to 1,000 men. In two rural states, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the ratio was much worse – only 30% of vaccines went to women. Sofia Imad, a junior fellow at Mumbai-based thinktank IDFC Institute, researched attitudes to vaccination among the urban poor population in Mumbai and Pune. She said there were a number of reasons why women were either unable or reluctant to get the vaccine. “There is hesitancy because of rumours about side-effects, and how the vaccine affects fertility and menstruation,” said Imad. “But there are other factors such as women not being able to access the technology needed to register for it, not having information on where the centres are, or not being able to go to the centres alone. Women often also need permission from their husbands to get vaccinated. Even if they get that, if their husbands don’t accompany them … they miss out.”
- June 29, 1787 – Lavinia Stoddard born, American poet and co-founder with her husband, Dr. William Stoddard, of an academy in the village of Troy, NY (1812-1818), before she contracted consumption (tuberculosis). She and her husband went to Alabama, hoping the warmer climate would restore her health, but she died in 1820. Her best-known poem is “The Soul’s Defiance.”
- June 29, 1835 – Celia Thaxter born, American poet and short story writer. Married at sixteen, she went through a period of separation from her husband, and returned to her father’s hotel, the Appledore House, in the Isles of Shoals off the coast of Maine in 1861, where she was the hotel’s hostess, welcoming notable literary figures of the day like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Whittier, Sarah Orne Jewett, and artists like William Morris Hunt and Childe Hassam. Her first book of poems, Driftwood, was published in 1879, when she also reunited with her husband, and they moved to Kittery Point, Maine. She died suddenly in 1894, while on a visit to Appledore House; noted for her book Among the Isles of Shoals, several poetry collections, and her account of “A Memorable Murder” that happened when she was present on nearby Smuttynose Island.
- June 29, 1858 – Julia Lathrop born, American social reformer, activist, and civil servant; met Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr while at school, and later worked at Hull House; first woman member appointed to Illinois State Board of Charities, where she advocated for improving social services, and introduced reforms like appointing women doctors to positions in state hospitals, and moving the insane out of state workhouses. Appointed by President Taft as the first woman to head a U.S. federal bureau, as inaugural bureau chief of the newly formed United States Children’s Bureau (1912-1922), where she directed research into child labor, infant mortality, maternal mortality, juvenile delinquency, mothers’ pensions, and illegitimacy. She created child welfare policy and implemented it, one of the earliest opportunities for an American woman to have an active role in government policy-making and creation of regulations.
- June 29, 1867 – Emma Azalia Hackley born, African-American classical singer, choral director, and political activist; promoted music education for African-American children. She started the 100-member People’s Chorus (Marian Anderson and Roland Hayes sang with group at the beginning of their careers). She made tours across America and abroad to raise funds for African-American classical musicians, and later produced a series of folk concerts in black churches and schools featuring African-American spirituals, which helped inspire their use as freedom songs during the Civil Rights Movement. Hackley died at age 55 in 1922, of a cerebral hemorrhage.
- June 29, 1871 – Luisa Tetrazzini born, Italian coloratura soprano, very popular in Europe and American from 1890 through the 1920s; Chicken Tetrazzini is named for her, possibly by Ernest Arbogast, chef at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel.
- June 29, 1885 – Virginia Pope born, American pioneering fashion editor of the New York Times (1933-1955). Beginning in 1934, she was the first American to cover the haute couture collections of Paris. Her philosophy was “Keep from getting monotonous, never be too effervescent, and, most important, it must be accurate.”
- June 29, 1893 – Helen Elna Hokinson born, American cartoonist, created 68 covers and over 1800 cartoons while on the staff of The New Yorker.
- June 29, 1897 – Kazue Togasaki born, survivor of 1906 San Francisco earthquake; physician who pioneered a place in American medicine for women of Japanese ancestry, one of the few physicians (general practitioner and obstetrician) allowed to practice medicine in the Japanese Internment Camps during WWII.
- June 29, 1900 – Margaret Grierson born, archivist and professor; founder and first director of the Sophia Smith Collection, a women’s history archive, at Smith College.
- June 29, 1914 – Nnoseng Ellen Kuzwayo born, South African women’s rights activist, teacher (1938-1952), and politician. Her first husband was abusive, and the marriage ended in divorce. She married Godfrey Kuzwayo in 1950, and worked as a teacher in the Transvaal until the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. She then trained as a social worker (1953-1955). After the 1976 Soweto uprising, she was the only woman on the Soweto committee of 10 organizers, and was president of the Black Consumer Union and the Maggie Magaba Trust. Her activism led to her being detained for 5 months in 1977 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Her autobiography, Call Me Woman, was published in 1985. Kuzwayo was the first Black South African to win the country’s leading literary prize, the Central News Agency Literary Award. She was elected as a member of South Africa’s first multiracial Parliament, and served from 1994 to 1999, then retired at age 84.
- June 29, 1916 – Ruth Warrick born, American actress and political activist; played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on All My Children (1970-2005). She made her film debut in Citizen Kane in 1941. She was a member of the Democratic Party, and worked with the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter on labor and education issues, but was an outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. In 2000, she turned down a lifetime achievement award from the South Carolina Arts Commission after the state legislators decided, as a compromise, to move the Confederate flag from the state Capitol dome to a spot on the grounds. Warrick, a lifelong supporter of African-American civil rights, commented, “In my view, this was no compromise. It was a deliberate affront to the African-Americans, who see it as a sign of oppression and hate.”
- June 29, 1920 – Nicole Russell born, Duchess of Bedford, author and producer, one of the first women television producers in France.
- June 29, 1929 – Oriana Fallaci born, Italian journalist and author, known for her coverage of war and revolution, and her book Interview with History containing interviews with many world leaders.
- June 29, 1930 – Viola Léger born in the U.S., Canadian actress and Canadian Liberal Party Senator (2001-2005); recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (2013).
- June 29, 1942 – Charlotte Bingham born, English novelist and television scriptwriter; author of historical romance novels, and scripts for the series Upstairs, Downstairs.
- June 29, 1945 – Chandrika Kumaratunga born, Sri Lankan politician; first woman President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005); Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1994); Sri Lanka Freedom Party leader (1994-2006); Member of Parliament (1994); Chief Minister of the Western Province (1993-1994).
- June 29, 1948 – Usha Kumari Prashar, Baroness Prashar, born in Kenya, member of the UK Privy Council since 2009; Lord Temporal member of the House of Lords since 1999; inaugural Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission (2006-2011). Executive chair of the Parole Board of England and Wales (1997-2000).
- June 29, 1949 – Anne Veneman born, American lawyer and Republican public servant; Executive Director of UNICEF (2005-2010); first woman appointed as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (2001-2005); Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (1991-1993); Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs (1989-1991); Associate Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (1986-1989).
- June 29, 1957 – Leslie Browne born, American prima ballerina and actress; a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (1986-1993); played Emilia in the 1977 film The Turning Point, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
- June 29, 1966 – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), was initiated in July, 1965, to implement Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited employment discrimination because of gender. But in September, 1965, the EEOC voted 3-2 that sex segregation in employment ads was permissible, sparking outrage among feminists. During the Third EEOC National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women, many delegates wanted to pass a resolution demanding that the EEOC carry out its mandate to end sex discrimination in employment. The conference ironically had a theme of “Targets for Action.” The delegates were told they had no authority, not even to pass a resolution. Betty Friedan quietly gathered 27 other frustrated attendees, including the two members of the EEOC who had voted in favor of ending gender-segregated ads, and held a meeting in her hotel room. As the women packed into Friedan’s hotel room in Washington D.C., Friedan wrote ‘N.O.W.’ on a paper napkin, and they formed the National Organization for Women, with an initial budget of $135.00. Among the founders were Shirley Chisholm, Kathryn Clarenbach, Anna Roosevelt Halstead, Aileen Hernandez (2nd NOW president), Pauli Murray, and Betty Friedan (1st NOW president).
- June 29, 1966 – Yoko Kamio born, Japanese manga artist and writer; known for Boys Over Flowers, winner of the 1996 Shogakukan Manga Award.
- June 29, 1974 – Isabel Perón sworn in as first female President of Argentina (1974-1976), after the death of her husband, Juan Peron.
- June 29, 1980 – Katherine Jenkins born, Welsh mezzo-soprano who performs primarily at concerts and on albums recorded in studios. Most of her albums between 2004 and 2019 reached number one on the UK classical charts. In 2005, Jenkins sang in Cardiff at the Tsunami Relief Concert, performed at the Royal British Legion’s poppy appeal at Covent Garden, and gave Christmas concerts for British soldiers in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.
- June 29, 1992 – U.S. Supreme Court was divided in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upholding part of Roe v Wade, but overturning its trimester framework which completely banned the states from regulating abortion in the first trimester, and limited regulations in the second trimester to those which would protect a woman’s health. They redrew the lines of increasing state interest, weakening the 14th Amendment protection, and replacing it with the “undue burden” standard: “An undue burden exists and therefore a provision of law is invalid if its purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” This opened the flood gates of state regulations and legislation which had to be challenged one by one, at great expense to organizations like Planned Parenthood, burdening the federal courts, costing millions in states’ budget dollars to defend, and, until 2017, most often ending with a finding by the courts against the state’s legislation.
- June 29, 2016 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter lifted the Pentagon’s ban on transgendered people serving in the U.S. armed forces.
- June 29, 2017 – German lawmakers vote to legalize gay marriage, bringing the country in line with other leading Western nations. “It’s a joyous turning-point,” said Volker Beck, a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany before entering parliament as a member of the Green Party. “Equality and civil rights have been achieved.” Chancellor Angela Merkel paved the way for the snap vote, telling lawmakers in her conservative coalition that they could vote their conscience. She herself voted no. The measure, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, passed 393 to 226 with 4 abstentions. Germany had allowed same-sex civil unions since 2001.
- June 29, 2019 – Ten Moroccan women fought for over a year to get the Huelva police and the Spanish justice system to investigate their stories of rape, exploitation, and abuse. They, with thousands of other Moroccan women, travelled to Spain in 2018 to work the strawberry harvest through a bilateral visa arrangement between the Spain and Morocco. Despite assurances by the Moroccan and Spanish governments, as well as industry entities, that an industry-wide protocol was in place to ensure ethical working practices, fresh allegations were made by a different group of Moroccan women. They say the Ministry for Employment in Morocco promised them good housing, free food, and decent wages if they worked for three months. Each woman paid about €700 for a visa, transport to Spain, and protective clothing, such as gloves and boots. But when they arrived, the housing they were taken to didn’t look like the video showing the nice house they were told they’d be living in. Instead, the housing was filthy, overcrowded, and with no access to clean running water. The women also say they were not paid for their labor, were threatened and racially abused, and some women were sexually assaulted. When they complained, they were threatened with being sent back to Morocco with no pay. One woman said, “The farm owner only knew one phrase in Arabic, which was: “Work, bitch, or you’ll be sent back to Morocco.” She says they were told if they didn’t pick enough fruit they couldn’t take a break or go to the toilet. “I worked for three weeks but only got paid for a few days,” she says. “I’m not a slave or a prostitute. I want to go home but I can’t go back without my wages.” Spain is the biggest exporter of strawberries to Europe. The fruit has become so important to the national economy it’s been called Spain’s “red gold.” Interfresa, the association representing the strawberry industry, insisted that none of the abuse allegations had been proved in court and that the law was being upheld in Huelva. “Both the system of recruitment at origin and general legal and labour issues in our European and democratic country are regulated and supervised by administrations and trade unions and the fact that abuse of any kind occurs in a generalised way is simply impossible,” says Pedro Marín Andrés, director general at Interfresa. Yet lawyers and human rights activists say that the Spanish legal system has no interest in the claims. No formal investigation been launched by either the courts or the police. “Multiple women have now come forward but so far the Spanish legal system has failed to sufficiently investigate their claims,” said Almudena Bernabeu, an international human rights lawyer at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers in London and Madrid. “It appears as if there are insufficient measures in place to ensure that the working and living conditions of Moroccan women working in Spain are what was promised. The situation currently is weighed almost entirely in favour of the landowners and corporations profiting from their labour. The allegations being made amount to state-sponsored human trafficking and they must be properly dealt with.” Women’s Link Worldwide, an international NGO providing legal services for migrant women, is representing another four women trying to get their claims of abuse accepted by the courts. “The criminal courts recently threw out the charges we have filed because they said that the conditions described in the women’s witness statements, such as non-payment of wages, 10-hour working days and verbal and physical abuse, did not constitute labour exploitation,” says Hannah Wilson, a lawyer at the organisation. Women’s Link pursued further charges through the Spanish courts for sexual assault and other labour offences. “They also questioned whether labour exploitation could be considered because the women were here through a legal bilateral visa agreement. How can we expect women to report abuses if the legal system is not willing to acknowledge their voices?” The Moroccan Ministry for Employment was unavailable for comment. Adding to the abuse, four of the women could lose custody of their children because of pending cases in Morocco, where the attitude is that whether the women “were raped or not [sex was consensual] is irrelevant, they are dirty.”
- June 29, 2020 – A 74-year-old former police officer, pleaded guilty to thirteen counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances (including murder committed during burglaries and rapes), as well as thirteen counts of kidnapping, as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. He also admitted to committing multiple rapes in the 1970s and 1980s, but couldn’t be prosecuted in those cases because the statute of limitations had run out. “I’ve been on pins and needles because I just don’t like that our lives are tied to him, again,” said Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, who was murdered in 1980 at the same time as her stepmother Charlene Smith, who was raped, then killed. On August 21, 2020, the former policeman was sentenced to multiple consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
- June 29, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana that would leave the state with just one abortion clinic. In a 5-4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices, giving a victory for reproductive rights. The 2014 Louisiana law required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Such privileges are often impossible for abortion providers to obtain, due to anti-choice sentiment or because they don’t admit enough patients to meet hospital minimums. In his decision, Roberts indicated he sided with liberal justices solely out of respect for court precedent. In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a near identical law in Texas. In that case, Roberts dissented.
- June 29, 2021 – One hundred years after the secretive founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on board a Shanghai boat, China is a radically different place from the one the party wanted to overturn in 1921. Much has changed, but one thing has not: men still dominate political power. In spite of Chairman Mao’s famous saying “Women hold up half the sky,” no women were present on that boat in Shanghai in 1921, and in 2017, at the most recent CCP National Congress, only 83 of the 938 delegates were women, less than 10%, according to the China Data Lab project at the University of California San Diego. Just one woman, Vice Premier Sun Chulan, was among the 25-person Politburo near the top of the power structure, and there are no women at all in CCP’s most elite inner circle, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. The CCP’s National Congress is held every five years. The number of women delegates at the congress held in Beijing in 2022 increased by 2.8%, but only 10 women are among the 203 full members of the Central Committee, and the highest-level seven-member Politburo Standing Committee is still all male.
- June 30, 1702 – Elizabeth Villin Timothy born in Amsterdam; colonial American printer and newspaper publisher, considered the first woman newspaper publisher in America, and the first woman to hold a franchise.
- June 30, 1868 – Mabel Cratty born, American social worker and educator; General Secretary of the National Board of the Y.W.C.A. (1906-1928), and member of the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War (CCCW). She was a teacher, then a high school principal in Ohio (1890-1904).
- June 30, 1870 – Ada Kepley became the first American woman law college graduate, from Old University of Chicago (which became Northwestern).
- June 30, 1883 – Dorothy Tilly born, American civil rights activist who worked to reform Southern race relations. She was secretary of children’s work for the Women’s Missionary Society (1910-1920s); a member of the executive committee of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching; and president of the Georgia chapter of the Committee on the Cause and Cure of War in the 1930s. Appointed as a member of the Presidential Committee on Civil Rights (1946). In 1949, she began working for the Fellowship of the Concerned, an affiliate of the Southern Regional Council, which sought an end to violence against Black people and promoted racial equality in the Southern states.
- June 30, 1899 – Margaret Byrd Rawson born, educator and researcher, identified and treated reading disorders including dyslexia.
- June 30, 1903 – Glenna Collett Vare born, first U.S. Women’s Golf Champion (1922). In 1953, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) named the Vare Trophy in her honor.
- June 30, 1912 – María Luisa Dehesa Gómez Farías born, Mexican architect; the first Mexican woman to earn a degree in architecture; worked for almost 50 years for the Public Works Department in the Federal District of Mexico City, primarily designing housing, both single-family and apartment buildings; joint winner with Mexico’s first woman civil engineer, Concepción Mendizábal Mendoza, of the Ruth Rivera Prize for their contributions to the city.
- June 30, 1917 – Lena Horne born, singer. actress, civil rights activist, first African American woman to sign a long-term Hollywood contract. She demanded contractual guarantees that African Americans could attend her shows, and worked with Eleanor Roosevelt for passage of anti-lynching laws. During WWII, the U.S. Army refused to allow integrated audiences, so she appeared before a mixed audience of black U.S. soldiers and white German POWs. Seeing black soldiers were seated in the back rows, she walked off the stage to the black troops, and performed with the Germans behind her. Blacklisted in the 1950s for her affiliations with “communist-backed” groups. She spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women, and appeared an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, just days before Evers was assassinated.
- June 30, 1920 – Eleanor Ross Taylor born, American poet; published six poetry collections; won the Shelley Memorial Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.
- June 30, 1933 – Joan Murrell Owens born, African-American marine biologist, did research on corals at the Smithsonian Institution. Before getting her doctorate in marine biology, she designed programs for teaching English to educationally disadvantaged students, which became models for the Upward Bound program of the U.S. Department of Education.
- June 30, 1936 – Assia Djebar born, pseudonym of Fatima-Zohra Imalayen, Algerian author, translator, feminist, and filmmaker. One of North Africa’s most influential writers, she won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (for body of work), the Yourcenar Prize, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.
- June 30, 1940 – The Chicago Sunday Tribune began carrying the comic strip “Brenda Starr, Reporter,” drawn by ‘Dale Messick’ a name used to disguise the gender of its cartoonist, Dalia Messick. By 1945, it was nationally syndicated and published daily; at its peak, the strip ran in 250 newspapers. Messick won the National Cartoonists Society’s Story Comic Book Award for 1975 and their Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. She was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2001; she and Marie Severin were the first women to be inducted.
- June 30, 1959 – Sandip Verma born in India, Baroness Verma, Indian-English politician, Conservative life peer of the UK House of Lords since 2006; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (2015-2016), and Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women & Girls Overseas (2015-2019).
- June 30, 1961 – Lynne G. Jolitz born, American computer scientist and programmer; pioneer in open source operating systems with 386BSD; co-founder of several Silicon Valley start-up companies with her husband; noted authority on operating systems and networking, and holds patents in internet technologies and semiconductor memory innovations; author of numerous technical papers and articles.
- June 30, 1966 – National Organization for Women Day, anniversary of the day it began organizing. By October, 1966, there were 300 members. Today, it is the largest U.S. feminist organization, with 500,000 members. One of NOW’s first campaigns was against gender-segregated ads. In 1968, the EEOC finally ruled that help-wanted ads specifying gender were no longer permissible. NOW filed a complaint with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations alleging that the Pittsburgh Press newspaper violated an ordinance which the commission had passed in alignment with the EEOC guidelines on gender-segregated help-wanted ads. When Pittsburgh Press v. Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, the court, by a 5-4 majority, found that the Pittsburgh ordinance did not violate the newspaper’s freedom of expression, or hinder its financial profits, the First Amendment does not protect advertisements for purely commercial reasons, and want ads segregated by gender violated Title VII.
- June 30, 1967 – Victoria Kaspi born in the U.S., American-Canadian astrophysicist whose research concerns neutron stars and pulsars; known for the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment. Professor of Astrophysics at McGill University; Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. In 2016, she was the first woman honored with the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, and was also appointed a companion of the Order of Canada.
- June 30, 1986 – U.S. Supreme Court rules in Bowers v. Hardwick that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults; the Supreme Court explicitly overturned Bowers in 2003 in its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, that adult consensual sexual intimacy in one’s home is a vital interest in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
- June 30, 1996 – Bahia Bakari born, French sole survivor of the 2009 crash of Yemenia Flight 626. The other 152 people onboard were killed, including Bakari’s mother. She could barely swim, and had no life vest, but clung to a piece of aircraft wreckage for over nine hours in heavy seas, most of it in pitch darkness, before being rescued. Bakari was hailed as “the miracle girl” in the French press, and was rushed by a French government jet to Paris. At the hospital, she spent three weeks recovering after treatment and surgery for a fractured pelvis and collarbone, burns to her knees, cuts, bruises, and exhaustion. In 2010, she was the co-author with French journalist Omar Guendouz of the story of her ordeal, Moi Bahia, la miraculée (I’m Bahia, the miracle girl).
- June 30, 2005 – Spain legalizes same-sex marriage.
- June 30, 2019 – German Captain Carola Rackete, of the Sea-Watch 3, risked going to jail for forcing her way into the Italian port of Lampedusa with 40 immigrants crowded aboard, but said her act of “disobedience” was necessary to avert a tragedy. The Sea-Watch 3, sponsored by the NGO Sea Watch, had rescued the migrants off the coast of Libya 17 days earlier. They were finally allowed to disembark at Lampedusa and taken to a reception centre as they prepared to travel either to France, whose interior ministry committed to taking 10 of them, or to Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, or Portugal. The Italian coastguard seized the rescue boat, anchoring it just off the coast. Rackete was placed under house arrest before appearing before a judge in the Sicilian town of Agrigento to answer charges of abetting illegal immigration and forcing her way past a military vessel that tried to block the Sea-Watch 3, the latter offense punishable by three to 10 years in jail. Her arrest prompted a fundraising appeal launched by two prominent German TV stars, which raised over €350,000 (£314,000, or $436,612 USD). Rackete became a left-wing hero in Italy for challenging the “closed-ports” policy of Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who tweeted, “Mission accomplished. Law-breaking captain arrested. Pirate ship seized, maximum fine for foreign NGO.” Rackete said, “I didn’t have the right to obey. They were asking me to take them back to Libya. From a legal standpoint, these were people fleeing a country at war [and] the law bars you from taking them back there.” On appeal in January 2020, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation ruled Rackete should never have been arrested. In May, 2021, a court in Agrigento ruled no trial should be held, agreeing with a state prosecutor that Rackete’s actions were taken to save the lives of the migrants.
- June 30, 2020 – New York’s City Council approved an $88 billion austerity budget that cut $1 billion from the New York Police Department. Critics said the move fails to meet a core demand of protesters for a reinvestment of NYPD funds into social programs. In a statement, NY Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so that the exact same police remain in schools.”
- June 30, 2020 – Prominent Mexican labor lawyer Susana Prieto Terrazas was arrested in the northern border town of Matamoros, accused of inciting riots, because of her ongoing support of striking maquiladora workers. Maquiladoras are factories in Mexico owned or run by foreign companies. Starting minimum wage in a border factory in 2020 was the equivalent of less than $8 USD a day, far less than their U.S. counterparts earn. Alyn Alvidrez, a spokesperson and attorney for the Prieto family, said: “Fifteen thousand workers have expressed their will to join us, the union, in a petition. At the moment, they are defenseless after Prieto’s arrest. It’s a warning to the workers. But not only that, the more than 3,800 active court cases where Prieto is their trial attorney have a time limit, and Prieto’s clients are all left unprotected.” She won release from jail after three weeks, but a Tamaulipas state judge banned her for the next 2 ½ years from returning to the state or traveling internationally. She was also required to live at her registered address in Chihuahua. Prieto Terrazas told the El Paso Times she is a naturalized U.S. citizen and has lived in El Paso for the past 16 years. She maintains a law office in Juárez, where most of her labor organizing work is focused.
- June 30, 2021 – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking via video link to a Generation Equality Forum at the summit in Paris said, that gender equality is paramount to strengthening democracy, “Use the tools for democracy, whether that is the freedom of speech or the freedom to vote. And if you do not yet have those freedoms, fight for them and know we will fight alongside you.”
The Feminist Cats Learn About the LGBTQ+
Activist Who Founded Positively Trans
Cecilia Chung is an advocate and activist for human rights, social justice, health equity, and LGBTQ+ equality. Chung was born in Hong Kong, but has lived in San Francisco since 1984. Today she works as the Director of Evaluation and Strategic Initiatives at Transgender Law Center.
In 2002, Chung founded Positively Trans, a national network of transgender people living with HIV, especially people of color, focused on storytelling, policy advocacy, and leadership development, and Chung participated with Chris Daley and Dylan Vade in the founding of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco, originally a project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. TLC has scored litigation victories in cases involving employment discrimination, prison conditions, education, immigration, and healthcare.
In 2008, Chung became the first transgender woman and first person living openly with HIV to chair the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. She also served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (2013-2015). In 2020, she was on a panel featuring HIV Activists and Caretakers at the National Museum of Natural History’s fourth annual World AIDS Day event.