Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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Biography
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  Rita Arditti
  Human Rights Activist
  Boston WWD Event 2005
 
  Founder of activist groups Science for the People and the Women's Community Cancer Project
 
Biography  up to top

As a Sephardic Jew growing up in a country that was 95% Catholic, Rita Arditti knew what it meant to be a "minority within a minority". Born in Argentina in 1934 to parents who were Turkish immigrants, Rita was aware as a young child that, "To be a Sephardic Jew in Argentina is to be invisible." It was, in part, that awareness of invisibility that helped to develop Rita's political consciousness.

While researching genetics at Brandeis University and later at Harvard, Rita helped found two activist groups: Science for the People, and the Women's Community Cancer Project.

In the 1980's Rita's interest in the intersection of science and politics moved to the human rights arena when she agreed to translate for a Boston tour of the grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Rita was moved by the women's search for grandchildren who had disappeared under Argentina's military dictatorship from 1976-83. During annual visits to Argentina, Rita decided to write a book about their struggle to find children who might be living under assumed identities. With the publication of Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, the story of the missing became an international one. The first in depth study of the grandmother's work, Searching for Life helped to publicize a quest that was often fraught with danger. In 2001 the grandmothers were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rita's book was part of the supporting documentation offered for that nomination.

 
What She Said  up to top
ON FAMILY UPBRINGING
"My grandmother, my mother's mother spoke Ladino." ...More 
ON ROLE MODELS
"I had some teachers in elementary school that I admired greatly. They seemed so respected by others and I liked that." ...More 
ON BEING A WOMAN ACTIVIST
"Too much injustice and violence ... has forced me to become an activist." ...More 
ON TRADITIONAL ROLES
"The grandmothers [of the Plaza de Mayo] and also the mothers access the public sphere on the basis of their traditional roles: mothers and grandmothers." ...More 
ON WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
"Science for the People had a feminist caucus. I worked with that organization for many years in the late sixties and early seventies, we wanted to raise consciousness about the politics of science and the myth of a value-free science." ...More 
ON PATH TO ACTIVISM
"What contributed to my becoming an activist was...being a Sephardic Jew in Argentina..." ...More 
ON IMPACT ON WORLD
"I think people never thought about issues like identity and the right to identity, which is one of the big contributions of the grandmothers [of the Plaza de Mayo]." ...More 
ON IMPACT ON SELF
"What I have learned after having contact with these women [the grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo] for so many years is that you don't give up." ...More 
 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
Articles, Brochures, other papers Papers 

Peace and Justice award from the Cambridge Peace Commission, October 24, 1999

Peace and Justice award from the Cambridge Peace Commission, October 24, 1999

Review of Arditti’s book published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Copyright 2005, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Reprinted with permission.

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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rita Arditti." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prarditti>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rita Arditti," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prarditti>.