Geraldine Ferraro: V.P. candidate inspired a generation of women
Geraldine Ferraro, who passed on Saturday, broke political ground when she ran for the vice presidency on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale in 1984. They lost to Reagan-Bush, but she inspired a generation of women to go into politics.
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“Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life,” President Obama said in a statement. “Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live.”Skip to next paragraph
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“Though we were one-time political opponents, I am happy to say Gerry and I became friends in time – a friendship marked by respect and affection,” said former president George H. W. Bush. “I admired Gerry in many ways, not the least of which was the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics.”
“She inspired women across the country to reach their own greatness as they strengthened our country,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Her service in the House is a source of pride to all of us in Congress.”
Sarah Palin, who became the second woman to be nominated as vice president by a major political party, got to know Ferraro during last year’s elections.
“When I had the honor of working alongside Geraldine on election night last year, we both discussed the role of women in politics and our excited expectation that someday that final glass ceiling would be shattered by the election of a woman president,” the former Alaska governor, who ran as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, wrote on Facebook. “She was an amazing woman who dedicated her life to public service as a teacher, prosecutor, Congresswoman, and Vice Presidential candidate. She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more.”
Praise from a former Republican Speaker
“We came to Congress at the same time and I had great admiration when she was when picked to be the first woman Vice Presidential candidate for a major party,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “She was a very smart, very hardworking, wonderful person with a deep love for her family and for America.”
Those who broke political ground with Ferraro were especially touched by her passing.
“I came to Congress two years before Gerry,” remembers Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) of Maryland. “There were only 17 women in Congress at the time – women like Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Holtzman. We became friends. We were the early birds. We weren't afraid to ruffle feathers.”
Today, there are 76 women in the US House of Representatives and 17 women in the US Senate.
In her nomination acceptance speech in 1984, Ferraro sent a strong message to future generations:
“By choosing a woman to run for our nation’s second highest office, you sent a powerful signal to all Americans. There are no doors we cannot unlock. We will place no limits on achievement. If we can do this, we can do anything.”
IN PICTURES: Notable women in US politics