The 2013 Women’s Equality exhibit opened this week at the State Capitol in Albany, New York. The exhibit highlights the struggle for economic equality that women have faced since the 1820s to the 1980s. The Governor toured the exhibit with members of the New York State Women’s Equality coalition. The display, located in the War Room, is part of an ongoing initiative to create museum quality exhibits for public viewing at the State Capitol.
The exhibit outlines the challenges women workers have faced since the early days of the Industrial Revolution, through the Civil War, to the Depression and World War II, and ending in the 20th century. Events from each period, like the first garment workers strike in New York City, the licensing of the nation’s first female doctor and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, will give visitors a context for the evolution of struggle for workplace equality.
In addition to brief descriptions of each period, the exhibit will also feature biographies of some of the influential women who helped shape the fight for equality in their times. The biographies and descriptions will be complemented by a display of artifacts that pertain to the exhibit’s theme.
Women featured in the exhibit:
· Lavinia Wright, co-leader of the first garment workers’ strike
· Louise Mitchell, co-leader of the first garment workers’ strike
· Jane Hunt, Seneca Falls Convention organizer
· Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, only woman to earn a Congressional Medal of Honor
· Belva Ann Lockwood, pioneering female attorney and political activist
· Rose Schneiderman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory workers’ advocate
· Belle Moskowitz, social reform activist and advisor to Governor Al Smith
· Frances Perkins, first female member of the U.S. Cabinet, served as Secretary of Labor under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman
· Eleanor Roosevelt, influential First Lady and Human Rights activist
· Pauline Newman, organizer of the women’s labor movement in New York
· Kate Mullaney, founder of the Collar Laundry Union in Troy, New York
· Luisa Moreno, immigrant workers’ rights advocate
· Mary McLeod Bethune, African American community rights activist
Sample of artifacts featured in the exhibit:
· Sewing machine from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
· ERA ratification propaganda
· Letter from Clara Barton
· Original copy of the 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments
· U.S. Navy WAVES uniform
· First women’s property rights law in New York