A Shout-Out to Dr. Gerda Lerner

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“Women’s history is women’s right – an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” So Dr. Gerda Lerner was quoted in the official memorandum from President Jimmy Carter making Women’s History Week (which has later become Women’s History Month) a national event.

Twenty-eight years later, on June 5, 2008, at Harvard University’s commencement, Dr. Gerda Lerner was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters. The citation she received reads in part:

“Credited with the development of the curriculum of women’s history at numerous academic institutions, Lerner is widely recognized as having introduced women’s history as a formal academic field. A past president of the Organization of American Historians, she is also well known as an advocate of civil and women’s rights and was a founding member of the National Organization for Women.”

In other words, without Dr. Lerner’s innovation and insistence that Women’s History is a discipline on its own, and her work to help establish the Women’s Movement, the world of feminism as we know would not have come to be.

You can learn more about Dr. Lerner in Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution. A hearty congratulations to Dr. Lerner, and a warm thank you for all she has done and continues to do to bring women’s history to life and to light.

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