GERALDINE FERRARO THE GREAT AMERICAN POLITICIAN AND ATTORNEY.
Everyone is a hero and remembered for different deeds. Geraldine Ferraro is greatly remembered as the first woman to vie for vice presidency of a big political party in The United States of America in 1984. She was also an Attorney and an active politician in the Democratic Party. Her vying came sixty-four years after women gained the right to vote in America. Ferraro was born on the 26th day of August 1935 to Antonietta and Dominick Ferraro. She was born as a third born in New York City. Her father was an Italian immigrant working at the night club in Newburgh.
Ferraro did not rise to fame because of her family background. She was from a humble background where his father worked at a nightclub. At the age of eight she lost her father who had been arrested for operating a numbers racket. He father was charged and the day he was to appear in court he suffered a heart attack. Following her father’s death, the family had to relocate to Bronx and later to Queens. Her mother worked at a tailoring and garment industry.
Despite all the challenges in her childhood, Ferraro was a bright student and attended the Marymount high school in New York. After skipping from 6th to the 8th grade, it is important to note that she graduated high school at the age of sixteen which is commendable. Many graduate at the age of eighteen and more so this was not the case during her time some could even graduate high school with 20 years or more. She taught English at New York City Public School and did law classes as part time. She graduated in 1960 with a law degree from Fordham University. It is the law degree that made her a good attorney and to excel in politics.
After studies, she married John Zaccaro. Many question why she is not called Geraldine Zacarro. She retained the name Ferraro to honor her mother. She had three children with her husband namely Laura John Jr. and Donna. Her husband had a real estate business where Geraldine Ferraro practiced her law career from 1961 to 1974 before she was employed to work as the assistant District’s Attorney of Queens County. She created two special units while serving at the DA that is the Confidential Unit and the Special Victims unit. Ferraro cared much on the social wellbeing of people that is why she specialized on issues related to racism, child abuse, sex crimes and domestic violence. She also worked in the Advisory council for the four years.
Her political career was at peak when she vied for the post of congress in the Queens County. She won the nominations against the male aspirants and later won the elections by 54% votes in 1978. She went on with her liberal and feminist views while in the congress. She was among those against economic oppression and discrimination of housewives with working class women. In 1982 she was an author of the Equity act which increate the retirement benefits and funds for the elderly.
While serving as a congress woman, she was also an active member of the democratic party. She participated in the Hunt Commission which revised the terms of selecting delegates in the party. In 1982 she was elected as the secretary in the democratic party and had a seat in the house steering committee. In 1984 she became the chair of the Democratic party which then motivated her to contest for the position of vice presidency. Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferro to be her Vice when he was running for the seat of presidency because he had seen her great efforts in the house of congress and was confident that she was going to deliver in case he won. Democrats had hopes in her since she had several assets and reputation thus by nominating her, she would help close the gender gap in the party and America at large. Despite losing to Reagan with 36%, Ferraro really tried since she was the first woman to contest for such a big seat. She then retired from her seat as a congress woman in 1985 and wrote a book on her campaign for the Vice Presidency seat.
Breaking the grounds of politics does not mean victory however it means a big change to the culture of endorsing men for bigger posts. Despite losing to Reagan, when Ferraro went back to her county Minnesota, she was celebrated and greeted by many since she had made history. The arena was full and ready to listen to her speech with an implication she moved many and they were proud of her.
Geraldine is among the three women who have ever made it to the top positions in presidency. Hilary Clinton is the greatest one since she was the first woman to vie for presidency in a big party that is Democratic Party in 2016. Sarah Pain was nominated in 2008 for the position of vice presidency and Geraldine as well for the same post in 1984. The three women are history makers in politics because it is not easy to make it in a world where women only begun to vote in the 20th century. Perhaps Geraldine’s nomination for Vice Presidency is what inspired other women to vie for bigger posts. Having an excellent knowledge in law, it is no doubt that Ferraro made strong arguments in the House of Congress which led to passing of different acts including the Equality acts. She was in the limelight in 2016 when she made it public that she supported Hilary Clinton. Also in 2008 she supported Sarah Palin. It is no doubt she wanted women to excel. Geraldine Ferraro died at the age of 75 on march 26th 2011.
Geraldine is important to the Americans especially the women who were inspired by her strong career in politics. After the struggle by women who pioneered the right to vote the likes of Julia Ward Howe, Margret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson it was indeed great to have a woman come out to vie for Vice presidency even though it took long. She changed the political outlook for women because she almost made it to the top and she was an Italian American, it implied if more elite women came out they could be successful. Even though many have never recognized her by mentioning, it is evident that she changed politics for women since afterwards many women vied for the congress seat than before and Hilary Clinton came out to challenge the seat of presidency later on. As attorney as well she made important reforms by setting up the two units and being in charge. Social welfare is important and championing for the right of children, sexual assault victims and domestic violence means our leaders and the citizens need to emulate her.
Conclusively, she was a great woman and both men and women should emulate her ways of changing America to a better country that it is now. Women need to come out and be strong like she did to face the rest of congress members and politicians in vying for bigger posts in politics and the government. If Geraldine Ferraro made it yet she was an Italian American, then other groups of Americans can make it be it Chinese Americans, African Americans and so on.
Ferraro, Geraldine, Linda Bird Francke, and Marie Wilson. Ferraro: My Story. Northwestern University Press, 2004.
Ferraro, Geraldine A. “Bridging the wage gap: Pay equity and job evaluations.” American Psychologist 39, no. 10 (1984): 1166.
Bellah, Robert N. “The meaning of reputation in American society.” California Law Review 74, no. 3 (1986): 743-751.