Over the past 39 years, some of Dallas most outstanding women and a few very good men have served on the Women’s Issues Network Board. As America approaches the century mark next year for women having won the basic right to vote and with so many women are now positioned to serve in leadership positions, including the highest office of the land, it seems appropriate to remember and to thank some of the leaders of WIN who did not get to enjoy this milestone. They did their part in difficult times and now we, the ones who benefit from their good fight, thank them and pledge to not let their service have been in vain as we push to keep their progress in place even as fear and excessive greed try to reverse this history.
A salute to a few of the Women’s Issues stalwarts (all past president or vice-president of WIN) who are no longer with us:
Vivian Castleberry - Legendary journalist, author, and champion of women; Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and advisor to leaders in Texas and the world for more than 60 years. Founder of WIN, Women’s Center of Dallas, Dallas Women’s Foundation and Castleberry Peace Institute.
Virginia (Ginny) Whitehill - forty + years of civic activism focused on raising the status of women - co-founder of the following: Women’s Center of Dallas, Dallas Women’s Coalition, The Family Place: Women’s Issues Network.
Dan Weiser - political strategist and active political expert in redistricting trials. President of the board of Media Projects and served on the Cultural affairs Commission for the City of Dallas, Dallas Council of World Affairs, and Save Open Space. Numerous awards for promoting women in political world when that was a rare and wonderful thing to do!
Barbara Materka - President of League of Women Voters, Chair of North Texas Planned Parenthood, Women’s Council of Dallas County and leading advocate to fight the poll tax and Veteran Feminist of America.
Irene Ramirez - an aerospace engineer and former stater chair of the Texas AAUW.
Kay Cole - co-founder of Scientific Communications; president of Women’s Southwest Federal Credit Union, Dallas Women’s foundation Circle of Honor; passionate chair of Women’s Equality Day for many years.
Cathy Doyle - Executive Director of the Constantin Foundation, DMA Development Officer, Board of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Junior League of Dallas.
Susan Abrahamson - search firm executive and active feminist; past president of WIN.
Gloria de La Cruz - career in telecommunications; served as a member of Mayor’s Hispanic Task Force for former Dallas mayor Annette Strauss; leader and advocate for Hispanic and women’s organizations.
Formed in 1980, WIN has continuously worked for women’s rights and equality.
Although women's voting rights are taken for granted today, they were earned through a long brutal campaign by women that began in the 1700's and culminated nearly 150 years later when the 19th Amendment was passed on August 26, 1920.
Until that time, women were not allowed the right to own property, to have legal claim to the money they earned, nor the right to vote. Clothes, jewelry, and land were owned by their husbands or fathers. Bibles were one of their few possessions that they could hand down to their children.