Pioneer of women’s rights Aileen Hernandez passed away at the age of 90. She was one of the first African-American women to fight against sex discrimination in the government. She was the President of the National Organisation for Women through which she organised the iconic “Women’s Strike for Equality” marches in August 1970.
Here are some things to know about this iconic woman:
1. She grew up in Brooklyn and attended Howard University. When she arrived in Washington to attend university with her father, she was told to find a ‘black cab’ to get her to university, i.e a taxi driver who was not white.
2. Her first job was with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, and she ended up working there for a decade.
3. However, she was unhappy that the union did not give equal salary to its female and male workers. So she left her job to help the Democratic Senator from California, Alan Cranston, in his re-election campaign. Soon after, she became the Assistant Chief at the California State Division of Fair Employment Practices.
4. She was the only woman to be named commissioner to the inaugural Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Lyndon B.Johnson. She resigned after two years because of the organisation’s lack of coherent action.
5. She ran a consulting firm which dealt with cases regarding discrimination.
6. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
As President of NOW, she sought to make the organisation more inclusive.
“I believe very firmly that Black women are like no other women in the world. And one of the things that makes us so different is that we have managed to survive in one of the most hostile worlds there ever was, and we survive,” she said in one of her speeches.