“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
Eleanor rocks! Her first entry in the Women Who Rock pages was on March 1, 2010, and as I predicted, it will not be the only time. She is one of the 20th century’s most influential and admired women and was named “Woman of the Century” in a survey conducted by the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Her job titles included first lady, diplomat, author, politician, and activist. She was a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, the president and chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. She worked hard to improve the status of working women, and under her leadership the United Nations approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But the thing about Eleanor that impressed me the most is how she used her position and leadership to gain access to the media to communicate and help women at a time when only 25% of women worked outside the home. She utilized press conferences, a daily newspaper column, and magazine articles to connect with women and support women’s rights. During the 12 years she served as first lady, Eleanor held 348 press conferences. Since women, as well as female journalists, were discriminated against at the time, Eleanor saw to it that men were not welcome at these meetings, so the message coming from them would not be tainted by a male view. She wanted the information to be heard by those who were not seen as fit to hear information from a man (I love that!). Her writing and conferences helped build self-awareness for women at a time when most women were confined to domestic isolation. Her reports covered issues important to American woman at the time, such as unemployment, poverty, education, rural life, and the role of women in society.
If you want to get a sense for Eleanor and her writing I recommend My Day: The Best of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Acclaimed Newspaper Columns, 1936-1962. The book is a “best-of” her historic newspaper column and also provides a nice diary of her life. The cool thing about the book is that editors provide insight before each column to fill you in on the topic to provide a better understanding of what was going down at the time (since most of us weren’t alive then).
Photo: Cecile Grant
Stop by every weekday for the daily quote from Women Who Rock. Your daily serving of fun, attitude, and brilliance courtesy of an amazing woman! Check out the Women Rock category at the Cool Stuff Shoppe for great books, DVDs and merchandise from these great women. Thank you for clicking on the ads when you visit to help fund this site!
Tags: Civil Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, female politicians, friendship, Loving Yourself, National Women's Hall of Fame, Woman of the Century, Women in Politics, Women Who Rock!, Women Writers, Women's Rights