March is Women's History Month in the United States, an occasion to reflect on the achievements of American women. More than 200 American women are honored at the National Women's Hall of Fame, which you can visit on the Internet at greatwomen.org...and that's our Website of the Week...
Seneca Falls, New York, is a relatively small, out-of-the-way community with a special place in history. It's where the first U.S. Women's Rights Convention was held in 1848, and since 1969 it's been home to the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Ms. Luisi-Potts said, "The criteria are that the woman's achievement has to have had enduring, broad and significant impact across the country and/or across the world."
Executive director Billie Luisi-Potts says the Hall of Fame honors a wide assortment of personalities, both living and dead, from former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, to businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker and astronaut Sally Ride: "Very comprehensive and extremely diverse - all sections of the country, all ethnicities, and I think that has always been a goal from the start, is to have the most comprehensive reflection of women's contributions to the development of the nation as was possible."
At the Hall of Fame's website, each of the 207 women inductees is featured with a biographical sketch, photo, and references for further information. Ms. Luisi-Potts says the references to books or other online resources about each of the women in the Hall of Fame were added recently in recognition of the site's main users: "We see our website as a researcher's tool. We know that the major constituencies are educators and students, who use the site very intensively. So last year we expanded the information by adding bibliographic and website citations for every inductee, and we will be expanding by putting up curricula and lesson plans, so that's coming.
Although the Women's Hall of Fame honors American women, the institution is getting some international attention and may be a model to honor women elsewhere: "Last year we were visited by two women's groups hosted by the State Department. They were primarily from African countries. And both groups went back saying they're going to see if they can figure out ways to institute women's halls of fame in their countries because they wanted women's achievement to be recognized."
The National Women's Hall of Fame inducts new members each year. This year, the honorees included Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Patricia Locke, who worked to preserve American Indian languages, and Maya Lin, the architect who designed Washington's landmark Vietnam Veterans Memorial. To learn about them -- and more than 200 other notable American women -- surf on over to GreatWomen - all one word - GreatWomen.org, or get the link from our site, VOANews.com/ourworld. INTERNET: National Women's Hall of Fame - http://www.greatwomen.org/home.php