Sarah Weddington, a nationally-known attorney, is probably best known for winning the landmark case of Roe v. Wade in 1973, establishing a woman's constitutional right to options should she become pregnant. At the age of 26, she is believed to be the youngest woman ever to win a case in the United States Supreme Court. What makes Weddington's achievements especially notable is the time at which she began her legal career and how she succeeded despite gender-related obstacles. Some thirty years ago women were not permitted to have credit cards in their own names, much less expected to become attorneys. Plus, the office she worked in was referred to as "Boy's Town" since aside from herself only men worked there. But despite the challenges, Weddington always strived to do her best to work on issues affecting women.
And she didnt disappoint, accomplishing many "firsts" for women. In 1972 she was the first woman from Austin elected to the Texas House of Representatives and after serving three terms, in 1977 she became the first woman to hold the position of U.S. Department of Agriculture's General Counsel. Then from 1978 to 1981 she served as Assistant to the President of the United States. President Carter put her in charge of directing the administration's work on women's issues and leadership outreach. She also assisted in the selection of women for the federal judiciary appointments. Her accomplishments didn't end there; she later co-chaired the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Mid-decade Conference on Women in Copenhagen. Weddington also worked to implement programs that would ensure the equal treatment of women in the military, to insure a viable future by securing business loans and providing other social programs. Then from 1983 to 1985, as the first female Director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, she was the chief lobbyist for the State in Washington DC.
To top off her political achievements, Weddington also wrote the best-selling, A Question of Choice, detailing the Roe v. Wade case. And as a founding member of the Foundation for Women's Resources, she has taken an integral role in their activities, including the creation of The Womens Museum in Dallas, which opened in September 2000.
Weddington has always stood up to the challenge, giving every endeavor her all and now she has a new cause to bring attention to. Just last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and in an interview with Augsberg Now Online she stated that as long as she had cancer she was glad that her type is typically a woman's disease, since she has always worked on women's issues. She finds herself speaking about it more often and tries to support local organizations to bring about awareness of self-exams and other pertinent information to the public, especially to impoverished women, many of whom have no support.
Sarah Weddington is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor
at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is helping to shape leaders
of the future in her classes Gender-Based Discrimination and Leadership
in America. She is truly a woman to inspire.
To help a woman with breast cancer click here. Be sure to click on the links page and click on the free mammogram to help women in need receive one.
|© Melt Magazine 2003|