Women working at a plant during wartime

“HERstory”: Celebrating Michigan Women’s Achievements

Did you know that the whooping cough vaccine was developed by doctors from Michigan? Dr. Pearl Kendrick and Dr. Grace Eldering are credited with that discovery.

Or, that trailblazing journalist Helen Thomas, who covered ten U.S. presidents as a celebrated member of the White House press corps, is from Dearborn?

An exhibit called “Michigan Women A to Z” brings those stories and more to life by focusing on the achievements of Michigan women. It’s curated by Michigan Women Forward, formerly the Michigan Women’s Foundation, to bring women’s history to communities throughout the state. At the beginning of March, Women’s History Month, it made it’s way to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan campuses.

Want to learn about notable Michigan women online? Visit MWF’s Hall of Fame. Be inspired by women past and present  at  miwf.org/herstory/hall-of-fame/.

A placard from the exhibit.“Michigan Women Forward strives to promote the significant yet often unacknowledged ‘HERstory’ of our country through the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and its traveling exhibits with the hope that others will be inspired to join the relentless fight towards gender equity in the state of Michigan and the world,” explained Meaghan Bergman, program manager, Women’s History Museum.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The exhibit is one of many ways Blue Cross employees are encouraged to recognize this historic milestone and the impact women make in their community, workplace and beyond,” explained Bridget Hurd, senior director, Diversity and Inclusion. “It’s also an opportunity to look forward.”

Bergman agreed the work is ongoing. “The right for all women to vote may have been guaranteed 100 years ago, but gender bias and discrimination still exist in Michigan and throughout the nation,” she said. “We must continue to educate, inform and celebrate women who move us forward toward true gender equity.”

Nominations are being accepted for MWF’s Hall of Fame through April 3. If you know a barrier-busting woman with Michigan ties, living or deceased, nominate her here. To bring the traveling exhibit to your community in the future, contact Bergman by emailing [email protected].

Editor’s note: Traveling exhibits to Blue Cross campuses were suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Photo credit: George Marks

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