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10 women inducted at the National Women's Hall of Fame

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Kelly Walker
/
For WXXI News
The National Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Ten women whose influence continues to be felt in the fields of science, the arts and civil rights are the newest inductees into the National Women's Hall of Fame. They include dance pioneer Martha Graham and Feminist Majority founder Eleanor Smeal. 

Also chosen to be inducted on Saturday were the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Nancy Brinker, and Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. 

The 46-year-old hall honors a new group every two years. The ceremony was held at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls. The  ceremony was held not far from the site of the first women’s rights convention in the United States which happened in 1848.  

The other honorees are: Olympic skater Tenley Albright, who later became a surgeon; Marcia Greenberger, who established the National Women's Law Center; University of Rochester Medical Center scientist Barbara Iglewski; immune system researcher Philippa Marrack; media expert Jean Kilbourne; and Junior League founder Mary Harriman Rumsey.  

Barbara Iglewski, a scientist at the University of Rochester who did groundbreaking work in microbiology says it's important that the new generation realizes the fight for equality is not over.

"One of the things that disturbs me the most is young women today, many of them will say to me, but we have everything, we have every choice, everything is great, we don't have to fight any more. But we do and we must change the inequalities and the disparities."

That theme, that progress has been made but much work is left to be done, was echoed by Carlotta Walls LaNier. In 1957, when she was 14, LaNier became the youngest member of the so-called "Little Rock-Nine." They were African American students who integrated a high school in Arkansas.

"Unfortunately we still have a long way to go when realizing the true freedom to be all that we can be and be respected for our ideals," LaNier told the gathering.

Eleanor Smeal, the founder of  The Feminist Majority and a former president of the National Organization for women and publisher of Ms. magazine, said the fight for equal rights for women must continue not only in the U.S., but all over the world.

"As we fight here in the United States don't forget the feminists on the front line of Afghanistan, of Iran, all over the place; they might be covered up, they might be beaten, they might be shot, but they are there, fighting for women's rights and will be there standing shoulder to shoulder with them," Smeal shouted to the crowd.

Organizers at the National Women's Hall of Fame are in the midst of an effort to raise money to move the hall into the former Seneca Knitting Mill in the next couple of years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.