The National Women’s Hall of Fame is saddened and heartbroken to have lost 2002 Inductee Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020. She worked tirelessly to eliminate gender-based stereotyping in legislation and was a champion for justice. Ginsberg was the second woman to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court and became known for her scholarly, balanced opinions and forthright personal courage. Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
Justice Bader Ginsburg is not the only Inductee that has passed this year. Over the summer, the National Women’s Hall of Fame lost three outstanding women: 2019 Inductee Flossie Wong-Staal, 2001 Inductee Emily Howell Warner, and 1993 Inductee Elaine Roulet.
Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal was a world-renowned molecular biologist and virologist. She was one of the pioneers in research on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the causative agent of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Dr. Wong-Staal was fascinated with the idea that retroviruses could be potential pathogens in human disease. This notion, though initially not very popular among leading scientists, was later validated in the case of AIDS and certain human leukemias. Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal published more than 400 papers on the subject of human retroviruses and AIDS. In addition to her research and writings. Dr. Wong-Staal also enjoyed mentoring young scientists from all over the world. Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal passed away on July 8, 2020 due to complications from pneumonia at age of 73.
At age 18, Emily Howell Warner decided on a career in piloting after a flight to Gunnison, Colorado. Ms. Warner made aviation history almost every time she climbed aboard an airliner. She was the first female pilot for a scheduled U.S. carrier, the first female captain, and the first woman member of the Airline Pilots Association. In 1986, Emily Howell Warner commanded the first all-female flight crew in the United States of America. She pioneered the way for today’s women pilots. Emily Howell Warner sought to motivate the next generation with the message that determination and persistence will lead to success. At the age of 80, Emily Howell Warner passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on July 3, 2020.
Sister Elaine Roulet helped some of society’s most disadvantaged people: the children of women in prison. In 1980, she became the founder and executive director of Providence House, Inc. as well as the director of the Children’s Center at Bedford Hills. These organizations helped battered and homeless women, provided temporary housing, and offered parenting and infant centers. The Bedford Hills program became the national model for prisons, overturning conventional wisdom about prisons, women and their children. Sister Roulet helped female inmates bond with their children. On August 13, 2020, she passed away due to heart failure at the age of 89.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Flossie Wong-Staal, Emily Howell Warner, and Elaine Roulet were determined to pursue justice and advance the role women’s roles in society. They all were resolute and persisted to help better other people’s lives and professions through their selfless actions. We thank each of these women for their contributions. Through their legacy and the work of The National Women’s Hall Fame each Inductees’ life, work, and legacies will live on for generations to come.