Last month, the National Women’s Hall of Fame announced its 2023 Inductees. On September 30, our nation will celebrate Patricia Bath, Elouise Cobell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Peggy McIntosh, Judith Plaskow, Loretta Ross, Allucquére Rosanne “Sandy” Stone, and Anna Wessels Williams. These eight incredible women will join the 302 Inductees whose stories and accomplishments forever have a home at the Hall.
We are regularly asked how women are chosen for induction. In fact, the Hall relies on you! The public nominates deserving women who create enduring change at a national or global level and who inspire others. A diverse and independent panel of experts, called our National Panel of Judges, scores the nominations and passes them to an independent Inductee Selection Committee. That Committee makes final recommendations to the Hall’s Board of Directors.
The Hall received 487 nominations for this year’s Induction. The final class is eight women.
The math tells us that at least 479 of you are disappointed. This blog post is for you.
Unlike other Halls of Fame, our judges do not have the benefit of relying on statistics, averages, sales, and other measures that are often used to determine success. Quite simply, there are no metrics that identify whether a scientist who holds 10 patents that changed the world deserves Induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame over, for example, a scholar who wrote 10 books that changed the world.
As I travel and speak to groups, I am frequently pulled aside by someone who wants to share the story of an inspirational women they believe deserves to be inducted. I also receive emails, phone calls, and messages containing stories of women who make a difference in fields ranging from the arts to zoology. Frankly, it’s one of the best parts of my job. I love hearing about women who made a difference in your life and in the lives of countless others. I will never stop wanting to know more.
There are so many extraordinary women who deserve acknowledgment, and I join you in surprise that some of them have yet to be honored. I share your hope that these women will receive the recognition they deserve, and I hate the looks of disappointment as I explain that I can’t personally help make it happen. Hall staff play no role in choosing who is inducted. That’s by design.
The best way you can participate in the process is to… well, to participate in the process!
If there’s one lesson that every one of our 302 Inductees teaches us, it’s that we should never stop trying to create the world we want to see.
Stay involved. Follow us on social media @womenofthehall. Submit an application to join the National Panel of Judges. Continue lifting up women’s voices and stories. The more we work together to spread the message that women’s achievements deserve recognition, the more we make a difference.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hall’s first Induction Ceremony in 1973. Among the 20 women honored that first year was suffragist Susan B. Anthony. In what would become her final speech before her death in 1906, Anthony reflected on the years she had spent fighting for women’s right to vote. She concluded her remarks with the powerful line, “Failure is impossible!”
If your nomination didn’t make it through this time, please submit it again. (And note that all nominations submitted after January 2020 automatically roll over to the next cycle. Want to know if yours qualifies? Email us.)
We look forward to celebrating eight extraordinary changemakers as they are inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in September. Tickets are on sale now for the Ceremony and we will announce plans and tickets for other Induction Weekend events later this spring. This promises to be an exceptional year, and we hope you will join us!