The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest.
The legendary crusade for women's suffrage began in 1848 at a historic meeting in Seneca Falls, New York. Following the convention, the demand for the vote became a centerpiece of the women’s rights movement. Activists began raising public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. The lengthy battle culminated in 1920 when the country ratified the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the Experience Cortland staff will be releasing a blog series celebrating the achievements of Cortland County women throughout history. From an Army general to a women's rights advocate, to a charity executive and Television's first Better Crocker, "Iconic Cortland County Women: Celebrating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment" will showcase the area's rich women's history.
Linda A. Mason was born in Homer, New York. An alumna from Cornell University with an M.B.A. from Yale University School of Management, Mason has dedicated her life to helping those in need, affecting hundreds of thousands of lives throughout her career.
Mason co-founded many humanitarian programs, including Bright Horizons Family Solution. The company came into existence in 1986, and has since provided care to children such as tuition programs, child-care, education advising, and student loan repayment programs. Since its inception, Bright Horizons now employs over 35,000 people and operates over 1,000 child care centers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands and India. It has been selected by Fortune magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" 19 times, and the Boston Globe has coined it "One of the Great Places to Work" every year since 2005.
Along with her work at Bright Horizons, Mason is a member of the Mercy Corps, serving as a director and is the chair of the global leadership council. As chair, she provides relief to many parts of the world including the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Mason also worked with Save the Children as a co-country director. During her time at Save the Children, she helped over 400,000 famine victims in Africa.
Despite her busy schedule, Mason found time to publish her own book, entitled The Working Mother’s Guide to Life, where she gives advice to working mothers on how to balance their lives.
Mason's accomplishments has earned her numerous accolades, including, but not limited to the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership from President Bill Clinton, Ernst & Young/USA Today "National Entrepreneur of the Year" (1996), and was listed as one of Business Week's "Best Entrepreneurs" in 1997.
There are many more women who were born in Cortland, who have attended SUNY Cortland, or who have resided in Cortland who are extremely accomplished. These women include:
- Nancy Duffy. Raised in Cortland and went on to have many accomplishments in journalism. Duffy worked for newspapers in Scranton, Pa., and Cortland, NY before working for WHEN-TV in Syracuse, which is now WTVH. A notable moment in her career was the revival of the Syracuse Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1983.
- Dr. Eileen Jaffe. Graduated SUNY Cortland in 1975. She received her bachelors in chemistry and went on to study at the University of Pennsylvania where she received a doctorate in biochemistry. Dr. Jaffe went on to work in research and development at the Fox Chase Cancer Center.
- Mary Alice Bellardini. The first female mayor of the town of Homer. Bellardini made great strides in public health. Bellardini also made efforts in historical preservation, as she was a co-founder of the Landmark Society of Cortland County.
1. “Bright Horizons Named One of FORTUNE's ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ for 18th Time.” Bright Horizons®, 14 Feb. 2019, www.brighthorizons.com/newsroom/fortune-100-best-companies-2019.
2. "File:Linda-A-Mason.jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 3 Oct 2017, 20:23 UTC. 7 Aug 2020, 16:33 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Linda-A-Mason.jpg&oldid=261424982>.
3. “Linda A. Mason: Chair, Board of Directors.” The Boston Foundation, www.tbf.org/who-we-are/people/board-of-directors/board/mason. Viewed Aug 7, 2020.
4. “Linda Mason: Director & Global Leadership Council Chair.” Mercy Corps, 2020, www.mercycorps.org/who-we-are/our-team/linda-mason.
5. Wikipedia contributors. "Linda A. Mason." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Aug. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.
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