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August 2004

• Did you know?
• News from Past and Present WREI Fellows
• WREI to honor Ann Dibble Jordan with 2004 American Woman Award
• WREI staffers help found DC-based groups for younger feminists
• Saluting the Magnificent Seven!


Did you know?
The ancient Olympic Games forbade women from participating. After a woman named Callipateria shockingly disguised herself as a trainer to watch her son compete, the Greeks instituted a new rule that required athletes and trainers to strip before they entered the stadium.

The Heraea Games were initiated by married women for the maidens to vie athletically. Though women were allowed to compete in the Olympic Stadium, their course was shortened by one-sixth of the men’s course length.


WREI to honor Ann Dibble Jordan with 2004 American Woman Award

On September 29th, WREI's 2004 American Woman Award Gala will celebrate Ann Dibble Jordan, who represents America's proud-and largely female-tradition of social and community service. For many years, a professor of social work at the University of Chicago, she now applies the wisdom and practical experience gained in her professional career to benefit hospitals, universities, symphonies, art galleries, and charities, many of them here in Washington, DC.

For information about WREI’s 27th annual gala at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington—and for a list of the fabulous prizes already collected for WREI’s celebrated silent auction—visit WREI through the link below. Discounted tickets are available to students, seniors, veterans, members of the military, and employees of non-profit organizations.


Saluting the Magnificent Seven!

The Class of 2004 was feted by family, friends, and federal legislators on June 22nd at WREI’s annual Capitol Hill salute. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Congress-women Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Carolyn Maloney (New York) were on hand to extol the program and praise “their” Fellow. Over 100 guests gathered in the LBJ Room of the U.S. Capitol to hear from the seven Fellows and their sponsors, including WREI Board member and CWA Secretary/Treasurer Barbara Easterling and WREI Advisory Council member Mayada Logue of Altria.

News from Past and Present WREI Fellows

During her 1993-94 Fellowship, RITI PATEL, a third year medical student at Boston University’s School of Medicine, worked on health care financing and delivery at the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee (now the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee). Riti earned her M.D. and went on to a residency in cardiology. Last year, she left her position at the cardiology division of Beth Israel Hospital in New York to open her own practice in Philadelphia and to get married. Her new husband is a transplant pulmonologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Both are hoping to find time in extremely busy schedules to become more involved in the local political scene.

JULIE OKONIEWSKI (Class of 2002) e-mailed from Poughkeepsie, NY, where she is running a two-week Summer Youth Advocacy Program for 13-18 year-olds from varied socio-economic backgrounds and cultures to teach them about grassroots organizing and civic participation. Julie has arranged visits with local elected officials and is teaching her twelve “campers” how to use theater, art, music and creative writing as tools to convey a social/political message. This project grows from Julie’s work as a counselor with the Grand Street Settlement, where she started a 9 to 12 year-old girls group. A graduate of NYU in social work and community development, she went on to earn a master’s in urban affairs from Hunter College, interning in the Brooklyn office of Rep. Nydia Velazquez. As a WREI Fellow, she moved to Washington to cover women’s issues for the Congresswoman on Capitol Hill, and then accepted a professional staff position there.

SANDRA PURCELL CARTER wrote from her soon-to-be-sold home/ranch/farm in Sunray, TX, while “going through 37-plus years of things accumulated when a family is too busy—or at least did other more interesting things—than weed and throw away.” She will be following husband Morris to Farmington, NM, where he consults for a company that grows popcorn on the Navajo Reservation.

During her 1983-84 Fellowship, Sandy covered childcare legislation for Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-KA), while pursuing a master’s in education counseling at West Texas State University. She returned to Sunray to work as an education consultant and spent last year, before retiring, as a school counselor, where she “loved being back with the children again!” The proud grandmother of five, Sandy speaks admiringly of daughter Lynn in Austin, who juggles family and a law practice. Sadly, her son died six years ago, her “greatest sorrow.”

In August, REENA SHAH (Class of 2004) will move from working for a lawmaker (Senator Barbara Mikulski) to learning the law. She has just been named the first recipient of the prestigious Benjamin Civiletti Scholarship at the University of Maryland School of Law. This award—which covers all tuition and expenses for three years--recognizes her past accomplishments in public service and her future leadership potential in the field of law.


WREI staffers help found DC-based groups for younger feminists

Over the last few months, a group of younger DC feminists, between 18 and 40, have organized into two groups to advocate and forward issues and viewpoints specific to women in that age group. Two WREI staff members, Monica Jacobe, who has been with WREI for three years, and Rayma Baran, who came to WREI this June, are among the founders of these new groups.

The Younger Women's Taskforce falls under the umbrella of the National Council of Women's Organizations and is open to younger women working in women's organizations in DC. The group is currently planning a founding "meet-up" for this January or February, to bring women from all over the country to plan an issue agenda and mission statement.

The Young Women's Partnership (which plans a name change soon) is focusing specifically on workplace issues for yonger women in all fields. Membership is open to interested younger women. The group is beginning work on a job satisfaction and advancement study because they want real data from which to advocate for younger women on the job.

Monica has joined both groups and is working on the convention planning committee for the Taskforce. Rayma has joined the Taskforce and is sitting on several other committees that have ongoing business.