Today’s public loves their lists, whether it is Forbes’s World’s Billionaires, Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, or People’s Most Beautiful. With much of the same fervor, the women of the Nixon administration also became the subject of media attention.
In a Spotlight on Women in Public Affairs article, Barbara Franklin, Staff Assistant to President Nixon, wrote on the accomplishments of the Nixon administration in promoting women’s advancement in government. In the article she discusses President Nixon’s vocal support, specific women appointments under his directive, and calls for the reader’s assistance in the recruitment of more highly qualified women.

Spotlight of Women in Public Affairs is one example of the progressive publications that emerged during the Nixon administration, which focused on women in high-level government positions. Following in its footsteps, the National Journal recently published a Women of Washington list on the 25 most influential women under 35 in governmental venues like think tanks, agencies and most notably, Congress. A remarkable achievement in and of itself, the women of the Nixon era left a considerable legacy for future generations of ambitious policy-making women to fulfill and redefine. One cannot forget that it was the Nixon administration that was responsible for laying the groundwork for the large number of women appointments in federal services, especially within the White House.

Below are short profiles of several women leaders who exemplified success based on intelligence and work ethic, and who ultimately contributed to opening up employment opportunities for women in America. 

Barbara Franklin – Staff Assistant to the President

Virginia R. Allan – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Chairman of President Nixon’s Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities

Catherine May Bedell – Chairman of U.S. Tariff Commission

Helen Delich Bentley – Chairman of Federal Maritime Commission

Romana Banuelos – Treasurer of the United States

Isabel A. Burgess – Member of National Transportation Safety Board

Maxine Daly – Regional Director of U.S. Department of Labor

Ruth Bates Harris – Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Patricia Reilly Hitt – Assistant Secretary for Community and Field Services, Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Patricia M. King – Deputy Director, Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Elizabeth Duncan Koontz – Deputy Assistant Secretary, Special Counselor to Secretary of Labor

Charlotte T. Reid – Federal Communications Commissioner

Jayne Baker Spain – Vice Chairman, US Civil Service Commission

Dr. Jean E. Spencer – Assistant to the Vice President

Gloria E. A. Toote – Assistant Director of ACTION

Margaret Gessner Twyman – Director, Secretariat of US Advisory Commission on International Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State

Antonina Phyllis Uccello – Director, Office of Consumer Affairs, US Department of Transportation

Ethel Bent Walsh – Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity commission

Dr. Marina von Neumann Whitman – Member of President’s Council of Economic Advisors