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Stephanie Spanarkel's posts

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.

Aug 1st 2012

MAKERS Showcases Artist, Health-Care Advocate


The growing MAKERS.com gallery of groundbreaking role models now features more than 115 profiles, with more stories added each week. Debuting this week: an artist and an advocate for health care for the poor.

An artist and business owner, Julie Rofman is a Venice-based painter, sculptor, and jewelry designer whose colorful beadwork bracelets have sold online and in more than 100 stores worldwide. Inspired by Native American bead weaving and Bauhaus designs, she works with artisans in Guatemala to create her trademark handwoven cuffs with a modern twist. She holds a master of fine arts from California State University, Long Beach, and a bachelor of fine arts from Tulane University.

Ophelia Dahl is an American health-care advocate who has fought for the rights of the poor and sick for more than 20 years. The daughter of two accomplished parents, author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal, Dahl was raised in a unique environment of creativity and exploration. As a teenager, she travelled to Haiti to volunteer at Eye Care Haiti, where she met her business partner Paul Farmer. As Executive Director of Partners in Health, a non-profit organization that advocates for health care in developing nations, Dahl has led projects in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Russia, the urban U.S., Rwanda, Lesotho and Malawi. In 2011, both Dahl and Farmer were named as two of three Bostonians of the Year by the Boston Globe in recognition of their efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Learn more about Ophelia by watching this video:

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

Jul 25th 2012

MAKERS Profiles Entrepreneur Partners, Body Builder


The MAKERS.com library now includes nearly 115 videos showcasing women trailblazers of the past half century. This week, see the stories of two friends turned retail entrepreneurs who founded an Internet startup and the woman who put the sport of women's bodybuilding on the map.

Longtime friends Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson are two of the founding partners of Gilt Groupe. Launched in 2007, the ecommerce startup specializes in bringing luxury sample sales to the online community through 36-hour deals. Originally offering discounts on designer women's clothing and accessories, Gilt Groupe has since expanded to over 1,000 employees and now includes Gilt Man, Gilt City, Gilt Taste, Jetsetter, and Park and Bond. In 2012, Maybank and Wilson released a book documenting their journeys and encouraging entrepreneurship, particularly amongst women, "By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop."

Rachel McLish is a female bodybuilding champion, actress and author. When she earned the inaugural Ms. Olympia bodybuilding title in 1980, she put the sport of women's bodybuilding on the map and became an international role model for women's and girls' fitness. Fashion-model beautiful, she dispelled commonly held notions about female bodybuilders as being necessarily masculine and unattractive. She was a leader in making physical fitness as much a part of women's lives as it had always been for men.

Learn more about McLish by watching this video:






Also this week on MAKERS.com, read Gloria Steinem's blog about astronaut Sally Ride, who died this week at age 61.

Jul 20th 2012

MAKERS Profiles Two Fighters


The newest video profiles on MAKERS.com spotlight a boxer and an activist who fights for the rights of disadvantaged children.

Marlen Esparza is the first woman to qualify for the Olympics in the first year that women's boxing was made an official event. Outside of the Olympics, she has won several other competitions, including the bronze medal in the 2006 World Championship and the gold in the 2008 Pan American Games.

Marian Wright Edelman is a renowned activist who established the Children's Defense Fund in 1973. She has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of disadvantaged children for the last 40 years. She also worked on poverty with Dr. Martin Luther King and formed the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund.

Learn more about Marian by watching this video:

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