Women in Politics and Government
Frances Perkins (1880-1965)
Frances Perkins received an M.A. in Social Economics from Columbia University in 1910. After holding a series of positions, including executive secretary of the Consumers’ League of New York, executive secretary of the New York Committee on Safety, and executive director of the New York Council of Organization for War Service, she was appointed to New York’s State Industrial Commission by Governor Alfred E. Smith.
Franklin Roosevelt appointed her as state industrial commissioner in 1929 and then as the first female appointed to a cabinet position, as Secretary of Labor. She was directly involved with crafting many of the most significant policies of the New Deal, including the Public Works Administration Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Social Security Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Belle Moskowitz (1877-1933)
Social reformer, Belle Moskowitz, was one of the first women to exercise major influence in an American political party. For more than twenty years, she worked as a settlement worker and a labor mediator. She later became one of New York governor Alfred E. Smith’s closest advisers. When Smith ran for President in 1928, Moskowitz served as Director of Publicity for the National Democratic Committee and was the only woman on the Executive Committee of the party. At that time, she was considered the most powerful woman in the national Democratic Party.