Wave-making women

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

When a woman is in need, it's often another woman that comes to her aid. As we celebrate Women's History Month, Capital Style would like to introduce you to five women -- some you may never have heard of, but who have made a difference in the lives of women.

Mary Lyon, 1797-1849

Lyon was a pioneer in women's education. A teacher who struggled to pay for her own schooling, Lyon resolved to find a new method for women's education. She created Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, an endowed institution for women with high academic standards. Students worked to keep tuition affordable. The seminary (now Mount Holyoke College), which opened in 1837 in South Hadley, Mass., became the role model for women's education in America.

Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906

Anthony was a tireless advocate for women's rights. She was one of the founders of the American Equal Rights Association. She edited the National Woman Suffrage Association's newspaper, lectured extensively for the right to vote and organized other women to work for the cause. Although the constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote was introduced after her death, it was nicknamed the Anthony Amendment.

Mary Dennett, 1872-1947

Dennett was an early pioneer for sex education and birth control. She formed the Voluntary Parenthood League to advocate for changes that would exempt birth control information from obscenity laws. She also opposed laws that forbid birth control information from being sent in the mail. She was indicted and tried for distributing the pamphlet The Sex Side of Life. Her trial would ultimately prove to be a landmark censorship case that led to dramatic changes in the legal definition of obscenity.

Clara Hale 1905-1992

Hale dedicated her life to helping children of drug-addicted mothers and babies born with AIDS. When Hale witnessed the ill effects of heroin addiction in her Harlem neighborhood, she reached out to the affected woman and children. She began by taking the children into her home and raising them as if they were her own. In 1969, she created Hale House, the first official home for babies born of drug addiction.

Cindy Marano, 1947-2005

Marano wanted to see women achieve economic self-sufficiency and equal pay for equal work. She dedicated her life to advocating for public policies that would create job training, vocational education and literacy programs to help women. She regularly testified before Congress and helped shape many federal laws.