Celebrating the women of Erie County; hard work inspires student

Mar 18 • Opinion • 525

Women play a huge part in history whether they are recognized or not. Apple Macintosh’s interface elements were largely developed by a woman named Susan Kare.
As we know now, technology is a substantial player in our everyday lives, especially with classes moving online.
Many of the intricacies that underlie the most major achievements have a woman involved, if not running the whole thing. This week I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize women from the Erie area who have transformed the world.
A group of 30 Erie women formed a group in 1871 known as “The Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor, and a Home for the Friendless.” Member Sarah Reed took initiative to implement the group’s philosophy into the community by founding the Sarah Reed Children’s Center and Sarah Reed Senior Living.
Sarah Reed Senior Living is an outgrowth of the “Home for the Friendless,” which was Erie’s first social service agency. According to the Children’s Center’s website, the agency now serves over 900 children and adolescents every day. Programs within the community include care and treatment of children, families and seniors, all thanks to Sarah Reed.
Also dedicating her life to service, Gertrude Barber believed that there was a place for students with intellectual disabilities to be able to learn. As an administrator of the Erie School District, in 1952 she decided to create that educational opportunity rather than turn away young men and women.
Decades later, that classroom has transformed into an organization that combines research with training and education to give disabled students the best education possible at the Barber National Institute.
More recently I had the privilege to talk with Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, who emphasized the need for women in politics, and reflecting upon the past, another role model who came to mind was Judy Lynch.
Lynch made history in 1981 when she was elected the first woman to be Erie County executive. With a total of over 40 years of political service, Lynch served her community with dignity and set the bar for the other women in Erie to follow.
Similarly, Joyce Savocchio is the first woman elected mayor of Erie. From being the first woman member of the Erie City Council to mayor of Erie, she is a true trailblazer for women everywhere.
The woman I hold dearest to my heart, however, is Ida Tarbell. Tarbell was a renowned journalist who pioneered investigative journalism when she reported on the Rockefeller oil industry.
Being one of the first women to graduate from Allegheny College, Tarbell went on to create new business methods that changed the journalistic world. She brought many issues to light, resulting in reforms and overdue progressive movement.
Tarbell made doors out of glass ceilings, and prominently positioned women in a place that made it possible to succeed as a journalist, something I am thankful for every day of my life.

CHLOE FORBES
forbes004@gannon.edu

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