This Week in History


Honor for children's television activist Peggy Charren

September 29, 1995
Charren, Peggy - still image [media]
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Winner of the 1995 Presidential Medal of Freedom and the "Women That Make a Difference Award" from the International Women’s Forum, Peggy Charren, founder of Action for Children's Television, took on the entire television industry—and won.

Institution: Peggy Charren

Frustrated with the educationally anemic cartoons filling her children's afternoons, education advocate and founder of Action for Children's Television (ACT), Peggy Charren began to push television stations and law makers to demand and develop more diverse and stimulating children's programming. On September 29, 1995, Charren received a Presidential Medal of Freedom acknowledging her almost three decades of advocacy.

Charren began her career in television as the director of the film department at station WPIX-TV in New York City, but she became concerned about the lack of educational children's programming after the birth of her two daughters. She gathered a few other women with young children, and in 1968 formed a non-profit organization called Action for Children's Television (ACT), which advocated for higher quality, less commercialized children's television programming. They used the law to challenge the broadcast industry and appealed to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission for better alternatives in children's television. Their efforts ultimately led to the passing of the Children's Television Act of 1990.

Responding to the efforts of ACT, Congress passed the Children's Television Act in 1990, which required each station to provide programs created specifically to educate children.

To learn more about Peggy Charren, visit Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia and Women Who Dared.

Sources: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, pp. 211-213; JWA Women Who Dared:

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Honor for children's television activist Peggy Charren." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <>.