The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Barbara Walters

Barbara_Walters_512Television journalist Barbara Walters is retiring today. When we hear her name, we may first think of her interviews with “fascinating” celebrities and of her reign at The View. But before that, Barbara played a major role in trailblazing opportunities for woman. In the early 1960s, before the Women’s Movement, it was believed that women wouldn’t be taken seriously reporting “hard news.” Barbara fought that stereotype by first appearing on The Today Show as the regular “Today Girl”, handling light assignments and the weather—the only place for a woman on television news. She says that back then “there was no glass ceiling—it was steel.” Within a year she had become a reporter-at-large—developing, writing, and editing her own reports and interviews. walterstodayAlthough an important contributor at Today, she wasn’t made the first female co-host until 1974. Two years later, at ABC, Barbara became the first female co-anchor of any network evening news (to the open dismay of the male anchor). In 1977, she achieved a joint interview with Egypt’s President, Anwar Al Sadat, and Israel’s Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that started her on the path as a prime interviewer of powerful and controversial world leaders.

Even though Barbara is retiring today, I have a feeling it’s not the last we’ll be seeing of this pushy cookie.

 

Barbara Walters Quotes:

• I was the kind nobody thought could make it. I had a funny Boston accent. I couldn’t pronounce my R’s. I wasn’t a beauty.

If it’s a woman it’s caustic, if it’s a man it’s authoritative. If it’s a woman it’s too pushy, if it’s a man it’s aggressive in the best sense of the word.

• Most of us have trouble juggling. The woman who says she doesn’t is someone whom I admire but have never met.

• I got the reputation of being a good journalist, but also of being a pushy cookie.

• Success can make you go one of two ways. It can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out.

• To feel valued, to know, even if only once in a while, that you can do a job well is an absolutely marvelous feeling.

If you’d like to hear from Barbara Walters about her struggles against discrimination  and her true feelings about “Baba Wawa,” go here for interview videos.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: MAKERS.com

makers.com

While researching the modern women’s movement for a novel, I came across a remarkable documentary called MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Using interviews, it told the story of the social revolution by American women who fought for their share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy.

That documentary led me to MAKERS.com, self-described as “a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories—both known and unknown—from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow.” This ongoing initiative aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.

Yep, video interviews with thousands of Nerdy Chicks!

Founded by Dyllan McGee (her story here) and developed by AOL and PBS, MAKERS.com introduces you to strong, committed women from such categories as: Groundbreakers, Politics, Arts, Science & Tech, etc.

Here’s just a sample of these very Quotable Nerdy Chicks:

Anna Maria Chavez, CEO, Girl Scouts of USA

• Don’t let other people create your persona. Don’t let other people paint the picture of who you represent.

• We need to bring a more diverse thinking around the business table, around the government table, around any table where tough decisions are being made.

Erin Brockovich, environmental activist

• Someone, somewhere, went out on a limb. They created a law. They changed a life. They made a difference.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, first Latina elected to Congress

• Is this a great country or what? To think that a Cuban refuge could come to the United States, not know a word of English…I’m now a member of Congress. I’ll always have that little niche in the history books.

If you were born after 1960, you owe it to yourself to better understand how women’s roles in America evolved from the 1950s to today. Meet the courageous women who stood up and demanded to be heard by clicking here and watch MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Six more documentaries will be released later this year.