A History
of the


Geraldine Ferraro

Author of the foreword to A History of the American Suffragist Movement

Geraldine Ferraro Geraldine Ferraro at the Democratic National Convention, 1984 (UPI/Corbis-Bettmann)  

"Knowing what to write about something that happened 150 years ago in a small New York town is not easy. I was asked to reflect on the events at Seneca Falls and describe just what they have meant to me and more generally what they have meant for American women. Evaluating the impact of those days reminded me of the many celebrated achievements of women. But the exhilaration of those triumphs is bittersweet when I consider how much we stand to lose if we are complacent. One thing is certain: that remarkable occasion and the courageous leaders who challenged the status quo deserve more than a footnote in American history....

Unlike the American revolution, which began with the "shot heard round the world," the rebellion of Seneca Falls--steeped in moral conviction and rooted in the abolitionist movement--dropped like a stone in the middle of a placid lake, causing ripples of change. No governments were overthrown, no lives were lost in bloody battles, no single enemy was identified and vanquished. The disputed territory was the human heart and the contest played itself out in every American institution: our homes, our churches, our schools, and ultimately in the provinces of power."

Excerpt from Ms. Ferraro's foreword

About Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine A. Ferraro earned a place in history as the first woman vice-presidential candidate on a national party ticket.

Ms. Ferraro was first elected to Congress from New York's Ninth Congressional District in Queens in 1978 and served three terms in the House of Representatives. Her committee assignments in Congress included the Public Works Committee, Post Office and Civil Service Committee, and Budget Committee, where she was a strong voice against the Reagan Administration's economic policies. Ms. Ferraro also served on the Select Committee on Aging where she was an advocate for the elderly, fighting proposed cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

In Congress, Ferraro spearheaded efforts to achieve passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also sponsored the Women's Economic Equity Act, which ended pension discrimination against women, provided job options for displaced homemakers and enabled homemakers to open IRA's.

Ms. Ferraro is a co-host of Crossfire, a political interview program which airs nightly on CNN. She is also a partner in the CEO Perspective Group, a consulting firm which advises top executives. In 1994, she was appointed the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission by President Clinton and served in that position through 1996. She served as a public delegate in February 1993 and was also the alternate United States delegate to the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in June 1993 and Vice-Chair of the U.S. Delegation at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, September 1995.

An active participant in the nation's foreign policy debate, she serves as a Board member of the National Democratic Institute of International Affairs and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Before entering politics, Ms. Ferraro taught elementary school in the New York Public Schools for five years. During that time, she also put herself through Fordham Law School at night. After spending thirteen years at home raising her three children, she joined the Queens County District Attorney's Office. There, she started the Special Victims Bureau, supervising the prosecution of sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence and violent crimes against senior citizens.

Ms. Ferraro has honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities nationwide. She currently serves as a board member of the Fordham Law School Board of Visitors, the New York Easter Seal Society, the National Italian American Foundation, the Board of Advocates to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Board of Advisors of the National Breast Cancer Research Fund and the Pension Rights Center. She also serves on the Board of New York Bancorp.

In addition to numerous articles, Ms. Ferraro has written two books, Ferraro, My Story, which recounts the '84 campaign, and Geraldine Ferraro: Changing History.

Ms. Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York. She and her husband, realtor John Zaccaro, have three children, Donna, John, and Laura.

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