Women’s Hall Inductees 2007

Cal Ripken Jr., and Tony Gwynn were front page news when they made baseballs’ Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Maybe it’s a sign of progress stagnation that you probably weren’t aware of this:

SENECA FALLS — For most of her adult life, Swanee Hunt has given away half of her annual income, a commitment she started in 1981, when she earned $70,000.

The daughter of the late Texas oil magnate H.L. Hunt grew much wealthier as her stake in Hunt Oil Co. skyrocketed, and so did the charitable foundation she launched 26 years ago to help poor and powerless people around the globe. So far, her donations exceed $120 million…

Today, Hunt is scheduled to be enshrined in the National Women’s Hall of Fame along with Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art dean of engineering Eleanor Baum, Minnesota environmental advocate Winona LaDuke and University of Rochester astronomer Judith Pipher. Julia Child, the teacher of French cuisine, who died in August 2004, is among five women being honored posthumously.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame. Heard of it? Heard of Seneca Falls?

Established in 1969 in Seneca Falls, a western New York village where the first known women’s rights convention was held, the hall acclaims women who have made valuable contributions to society and especially to the freedom of women.

And we should care because

Hunt, 57, a former Clinton administration ambassador to Austria who directs Harvard University’s Women and Public Policy Program, took a divergent path from her father, an arch-conservative with a disdain for philanthropy who was one of the richest men in the world when he died in 1974.

“His politics and mine are quite different, but there’s another part of him that would say, ‘you go girl!”‘ she said. “He just wouldn’t be so happy about where I was going.”

There’s always hope when people think for themselves.


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