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Aug 8th 2012

MAKERS Spotlights Stewardess, Coal Miner


This week MAKERS.com hears from a groundbreaking stewardess who talks about her fight against the discrimination of female flight attendants and from one of the country's first female coal miners, whose case against sexual harassment in the workplace reached the Supreme Court, making major strides in the women's movement.

Barbara "Dusty" Roads is a former stewardess and union leader who led a landmark sex discrimination case in the airline industry. Growing up loving aviation, Roads started flying as a stewardess with American Airlines once she realized women could not be hired as pilots. Although she enjoyed her career, she came to question industry policies that forced stewardesses to remain unmarried and retire at the age of 32. By 1965, Roads was a lobbyist for the National Flight Attendants Union, later the ALSSA, and began to fight back. In 1968, after years of determination and hard work, the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission issued a ruling prohibiting age ceilings or marriage bans in the airline industry.

Barbara Burns was one of the first female coal miners in the country and an 'everywoman' champion against sexual harassment in the workplace. By 1975, she was a mother of two with a husband in poor health. She was eager to earn more money for her family and became one of the first female coal miners in the country. She worked her way up through the ranks to foreman before being recruited by Smoot Coal Company, Inc. as a lab technician. At Smoot, Burns found herself the target of aggressive sexual advances and stalking by her boss, the company president. Unable to take it any longer, Burns eventually sought out attorney Betty Jean Hall and filed a complaint. The case lasted until 2000, when the West Virginia Supreme Court finally ruled in her favor.

Learn more about Barbara by watching this video:


Check out MAKERS.com to learn about more amazing women.

May 30th 2012

Writer, Biologist, Supreme Court Justice Join MAKERS

Meet this week's new MAKERS: Vendela Vida, a writer, columnist and journalist; Shirley Tilghman, a molecular biologist and the first woman president of Princeton, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Vendela Vida is an American writer, columnist, journalist, and editor. She is the author of And Now You Can Go, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, andThe Lovers. She is a co-editor of The Believer, and the co-founder of 826 Velencia, a nonprofit organization that teaches creative writing to children and teenagers.

Shirley Tilghman's appointment as the first woman president of Princeton University capped a career as a celebrated teacher, world-renowned scholar, and pioneer in molecular biology. She served on the committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project and on the council that oversaw the initiative at NIH.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, broke legal and professional barriers for women as the second woman ever appointed to the high court. Although she graduated first in her class from Columbia, she found herself turned away by most law firms and judges who refused to hire a woman, according to her MAKERS profile.

Learn more about Ginsburg by watching this video:

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