To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment – when women were granted the right to vote – USA TODAY has selected 100 individuals as its Women of the Century. These women have exemplified tremendous courage and grit over their lifetimes, fighting tirelessly to advance women's causes.
Women selected had a documented track record showing outstanding achievement in one of the following areas: arts, literature and media; business, nonprofits and philanthropy; civil rights; entertainment; politics; science, medicine and education; and sports.
Choosing our Women of the Century was not easy. There were hundreds of worthy candidates, many of whom spent their careers working away from the spotlight. In the end, USA TODAY put together a diverse panel of experts, listed below, to help trim the list to 100. The panel was crucial in our selection, and we are grateful for their time and effort.
Anthea M. Hartig is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the first woman to hold the position since the museum opened in 1964. Hartig oversees 257 employees, a budget of more than $40 million and a collection that includes 1.8 million objects and more than 3 shelf-miles of archives. An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is dedicated to making the nation’s richly diverse history accessible, inclusive and relevant.
Jane Hyun is a leadership strategist and author of the groundbreaking bestseller, “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians.” Often called “the interpreter,” she advises organizations who seek to leverage diversity to create innovation and full engagement of employees. Her newest book, “Flex/New Playbook for Managing Across Differences,” teaches the art of using different communication styles to engage in a multicultural environment. She is the recipient of the Marshall Goldsmith Leading Global Coaches Award as the No. 1 Coach for Cultural Fluency. She has contributed to Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and The Atlantic.
Nikki Lane is an interdisciplinary scholar trained as a cultural and linguistic anthropologist. Her work explores issues related to American popular culture, urban spatial politics, and sexual cultures throughout the African diaspora. Her first book, "The Black Queer Work of Ratchet: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the (Anti)Politics of Respectability," explores the use of the word “ratchet” in a community of Black queer women in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2020, she will join the faculty of Spelman College as an assistant professor of women’s studies/Black queer studies in the Comparative Women’s Studies Program.
Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, who holds a doctorate in American studies, is a professor of history at Howard University and since 1990 has directed its Public History Program. The former director of graduate studies has served on the executive board of the Organization of American Historians and as national director of the Association of Black Women Historians. She is one of the founders of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Association and author or editor of seven books, including "Synergy," "First Freed," "African American Women" and "Migration," as well as 21 articles. She also was co-producer of Freedom Bags, a WETA/PBS documentary that received numerous awards, including the Oscar Micheaux Best Documentary Award.
Jill Tietjen is an author, national speaker and electrical engineer. After more than 40 years in the electric utility industry, her focus is now on women’s advocacy worldwide. She has published 10 books, including two award-winning bestsellers, "Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America" and "Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies." An inductee into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame, she formerly served as CEO of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, the birthplace of women’s rights.
Maribel Perez Wadsworth
Maribel Perez Wadsworth, the president of news at Gannett and the publisher of USA TODAY, runs the news division of Gannett Media, overseeing more than 5,000 journalists across 260 local news organizations and the flagship USA TODAY. She has been with Gannett for nearly 25 years, beginning as a reporter at the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star. In 2015, she was named Gannett’s first chief strategy and transformation officer. She helped to architect the company’s digital subscription strategy and created its Innovation Lab to foster intrapreneurship and human-centered design across the organization. In 2016, then-U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Wadsworth to a two-year term on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She currently serves on the board of directors of the News Media Alliance and the International News Media Association.
Hilary N. Weaver, who holds a doctorate in social work, is a professor and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. As a social worker, educator and researcher, most of her work focuses on the importance of culture in helping processes with a particular focus on Indigenous peoples and a secondary focus on refugees. She is Lakota and has lived much of her adult life in Haudenosaunee territory in western New York. In recognition of her lifelong contributions to promote American Indians in social work education, in 2017 she became the youngest person to be awarded the American Indian Elder Award from the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators’ Association.
Cid Wilson is the president and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. He manages a staff of talented and dedicated professionals and works closely with corporate board members, Hispanic organizations, and corporate partners around the country to increase the representation of Hispanics at all levels in corporate America. Additionally, Wilson directs programs and initiatives aimed at encouraging Fortune 500 companies to include Hispanics in the areas of employment, procurement, philanthropy and governance.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USAT Women of Century judging panel