Talk looks at women in government in the 70s on April 19

March 09, 2012

Forty years ago Newsweek magazine proclaimed, “the person in Washington who has done the most for the women’s movement may be Richard Nixon.”

Today opinions of the Nixon administration are strongly colored by foreign policy successes and the Watergate debacle, while its accomplishments in advancing the role of women in government have been overlooked. A new book reveals how “A Few Good Women” shattered the glass ceiling and opened up opportunities for generations to come.

The public is invited to join the Honorable Barbara Hackman Franklin and archivist and historian Lee Stout, for a discussion about this time in women's history, at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, in the Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The presentation, "A Matter of Simple Justice," is also the title of the newly published book that describes Franklin’s efforts to bring more women into the executive ranks of the Nixon administration.

Written by Stout, “A Matter of Simple Justice: The Untold Story of Barbara Hackman Franklin and A Few Good Women,” focuses on Franklin’s service in the White House from 1971 to 1973 where she recruited more than 100 women into upper-level government positions -- almost four times more than in any previous administration. A pioneer in her own right, Franklin, who is also a Penn State graduate, went on to serve as the 29th U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

The book also features fascinating excerpts from interviews with prominent women and men who discuss their experiences during “The Gender Revolution.” Stout highlights the personal stories of trailblazing women such as Ambassador Anne Armstrong, Former Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Judge Cynthia Hall, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Carla Hills. Their interviews are part of the University Libraries' “A Few Good Women” Oral History Collection," described online at

This presentation also can be viewed live online from

A book signing will follow in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library. Books will be available for sale. Learn more about the book and read excerpts at online.

For more information, including physical access and special accommodations, contact Shirley Davis at 814-863-5449 or


  • Honorable Barbara Hackman Franklin and archivist and historian Lee Stout

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015