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Going Public: Women And The Eisenhower Administration Focus Of New Book By Dr. Pam Parry

Dan Woods
Dr. Pam Parry

"Women and the Eisenhower Administration: Changing the Face of Politics" is the title of a new book being written by Dr. Pam Parry, chair of Southeast's Department of Mass Media.

She told us that, according to her research, President Eisenhower appointed more women to government than any president before him. In addition, he was supportive of women becoming a permanent part of the military. During WWII, women became part of the WAC (Women's Auxiliary Corp) to serve. When the war was over, the WAC was supposed to disband but many women wanted to continue to serve. Parry said, "There was a bill brought before Congress to  allow women to become part of the permanent military and Eisenhower, as the architect of D-Day, the Supreme Allied Commander, testified on behalf of letting women stay in the military."

After becoming president, he hired the first woman to serve as associate press secretary. Women also served in the cabinet, as under secretaries and as ambassadors. Parry said that each of the women have a chapter in the book.

One thing Parry noted is that Eisenhower was greatly influenced by his mother. She was a force in his life and showed him what women could do and the impact they could have on society. He was also an innovative thinker and did things differently than others and elevating women was something that hadn't been done previously in government and the military but Eisenhower thought it was the right thing to do.

The book looks at these women as a lens to try to see what kind of leader Eisenhower was and what we can learn about him. It also highlights the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted equal voting rights to women on August 18, 1920.

"Women and the Eisenhower Administration: Changing the Face of Politics" will be out in late 2020.