Celebrating 100 Years of First Woman in Congress
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Jeannette Rankin becoming the first woman to hold a seat in Congress. On April 2, 1917, Jeanette took her oath as a U.S. Representative. Not only was Jeannette the first woman to hold a seat in Congress but, she was elected for this position four years before women nationally had the right to vote. Montana was one of t
he first states that allowed women to vote. “We're half the people; we should be half the Congress.” said Jeannette. She used her power to help women gain equality and continue her pursuit for social justice. She even helped draft the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote. This created one of Jeannette’s most famous quotes,
“I want to be remembered as the only woman who ever voted to give
women the right to vote.”
It wasn’t easy being the first woman to run for Congress. Jeannette was often criticized and had media commenting on her physical appearance rather than her ability to lead. According to a recent article, before Jeannette’s first election, her team sent information to The New York Times about Jeanette. They in turn ran a mocking article which used this information to encourage Montanans to vote for Rankin because “if she is elected to Congress she will improve that body aesthetically, for she is said to be ‘tall, with a wealth of red hair.’” Jeannette didn’t let this affect her and persisted through all the negative press that surrounded her.
After Jeannette’s first term in Congress she went on to continue to fight for social justice and later served a second term starting in 1941. During both of her terms she voted against the United States entering war. In one of Jeannette’s most elegant quotes she said, “There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense; for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.” This made her the only person in Congress to vote against entering both world wars. “As a woman, I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else,” said Jeannette in 1941 during her congressional speech. After her time in office she continued to fight for equality and peace.
Jeannette passed away in 1973 at the age of 92 but, her legacy continues to live on. After her passing, Jeannette left part of her Georgia estate to help mature unemployed women. Jeannette’s personal assistant, Reita Rivers, along with friends Sue Bailey, Gail Dendy, Margaret Holt, and Heather Kleiner, used that money to establish the Jeannette Rankin Foundation to help adult women who face difficulties returning to school. Later we changed the name to Jeannette Women’s Scholarship Fund to better reflect our mission.
Since Jeannette’s monumental first day as the first women U.S. Representative, more than 300 women have held a seat in Congress. Although women continue to endure the negative media attention that Jeannette faced, we persist in showing America why women deserve to have a voice. As Jeanette once said, “Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn't make sense not to use both.” Every day we celebrate Jeannette and her historical legacy of fighting for women's equality and social justice. We have come a long way since 1917 but, we still have a long way to go.
To read more about Jeannette's life check out this articles:
6 Study Tips to Help You Ace Your Exams
The school year is coming to an end and we all know what that means...finals. You have worked hard all semester and only a few exams stand between you and the finish line. This can be a stressful and overwhelming time but it doesn't have to be. We have come up with these 6 tips to help you be better prepared to ace these exams. Follow these tricks and you’re sure to conquer those finals!
1. Make a calendar to plan your remaining few weeks.
Using a different marker/highlighter for each of your classes, mark your exam dates and schedule times to study starting at least one week before your exam. Spreading out your study time will allow you to study in small chunks rather than cramming all at once.
2. Have a designated study area.
Creating a space that is specific for studying, preferably at a table or desk, will help you to stay focused on studying. Make sure to pick a place with little distractions and has enough space to lay out all your study materials. DO NOT study in bed or on a couch. Your brain already associates these spots with relaxation and will not give you the focus you need when studying.
3. Listen to instrumental music.
Listening to instrumental/classical music has been proven to help stimulate your brain and increase your ability to learn. This type of music relaxes your mind and allows you to focus on your task at hand. It cuts out the distraction of singing lyrics to a song or a TV show playing in the background. TV and songs can disrupt your brain from processing the information you are trying to remember.
4. Create flash cards.
Flash cards are proven to improve a person’s ability to retain information rather than just reading and highlighting. Flash cards allow you to incorporate multiple senses making it easier to retain the information. You are reading, writing, and speaking the information. This also gives you the opportunity to test yourself and put your brain in exam mode early on.
5. Take breaks.
Studying for big exams like final exams are tiring. There is a lot of information to remember and can get overwhelming. When you start to feel stressed, walk away. Have a snack, talk to someone, go for a walk, etc. Set goals for yourself to study for 20-30 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute break. If you sit and look at your information for too long you won’t retain any of it because it all starts to get lumped together.
6. Ask for help.
If you are having trouble with a concept or problem, ask for help. Your professors/instructors are there to help you understand. Send them an email, ask them in class, or go to their office hours. They want you to do your best and will help you if you ask. There is no shame in asking for help.
Donor Spotlight - Amanda Bennett
I first got connected with JRF when I was working at UGA around 2006. I wanted to volunteer somewhere in the community and found JRF through searching a list of local organizations. I was intrigued by the volunteer opportunity and helped as a Level 1 scholarship application reader that year.
That was all it took for me to want to become more involved with JRF. I volunteered to be an application reader at whatever level they needed and I began attending fundraisers. The stories of the scholarship applicants were so diverse and inspirational. Reading those applications was actually a large part of what motivated me to go to back to school 10 years after I graduated with my undergraduate degree from UGA to pursue my Master's degree in Nonprofit Management.
I saw the huge value in what JRF was doing for its scholars and I knew I wanted to give back. When my husband and I were financially able to give enough for an annual scholarship, we started giving every year to JRF. We moved to Nashville almost three years ago, but I enjoy staying connected to JRF. I look forward to being engaged however I am able. I am humbled to be a small part of helping the JRF scholars not only achieve their dreams but also realize their potential and value.
Alexandra Dale Munro Kilpatrick’s Gift - Honoring the Legacy of a Life Well Lived
Alexandra Dale Munro Kilpatrick, better known as Alix, was an exceptionally intelligent woman whose life path drew her away from traditional educational opportunities. As the prospect of her life ending drew near, she contacted her cousin and childhood best friend, Donna Zenor, and asked her to research organizations that “enhance the lives of women through education.” She was interested in leaving a substantial portion of her estate to such an organization. Donna identified the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund. Unfortunately, Alix died suddenly and was unable to leave the funds directly to JRF. Donna initially contacted JRF’s Executive Director, Sue Lawrence on October 17, 2013. From there it was a long and winding road that Donna pursued with persistence and dedication in order to honor the dying wishes of her dear cousin and friend Alix.
Alix lived a non-traditional life. A single child whose mother was the youngest of nine children of immigrant Norwegian parents, Alix was born in Phoenix, Arizona. However, she lived life on the world stage. She worked in a theater in Paris, France, and for a number of years she flew for American Airlines. She later settled in rural New Hampshire with her husband, Bob Kilpatrick. Alix became a master at various yoga disciplines, eventually opening a school after moving to New Zealand in her mid-fifties.
In the words of Donna; Alix was one of the most generous spirits to have ever inhabited this earth and the scholarship fund which the donor is establishing upon her death should be counted as one of the many gifts which are her legacy.
We received this transformative gift this year. We are grateful that Alix cared so deeply about the women we serve. We are grateful that Donna found us. And, we are grateful that Donna persisted through navigating the challenges of getting the funding to JRF.
This gift will transform the lives of JRF Scholars and their families for years and years to come.