Ms magazine honored ten outstanding women as 2003 Women of the Year at an awards breakfast on Monday. The 2003 awards continue a tradition that began in 1982, when Ms. editors had enough of Time magazine's "Man of the Year" cover.
"In case there are still some curmudgeons who think only men produce great achievements, even they will have to think again after the Ms. 2003 Women of the Year issue is released," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms.. Smeal received a surprise honor at the awards breakfast - the first Ms. Legend Award, presented by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), for her over 30 years of leadership in the women's movement.
"In a group, the Women of the Year are impressive in a way no single woman could be. They dramatize each other's uniqueness, shatter the stereotype of female sameness, and show the multiplicity of paths toward a shared goal," said Gloria Steinem, one of the founding editors of Ms. magazine. "Over the years, the only thing they have had in common has been a desire to help other women and to credit their community of support."
"To find these women, to be touched by their accomplishments, we need only to have visited our local libraries ... watched the nightly news, or wandered out to a movie theater," said Elaine Lafferty, editor-in-chief of Ms. The 2003 Women of the Year include such outstanding women as Pamela Thomas-Graham, the CEO of CNBC and the most powerful African-American woman in cable television; Dr. Sima Samar, chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission who has fought for women's and human rights in Afghanistan; and Carla Diane Hayden, president of the American Library Association, who is fighting the USA PATRIOT Act.
"I have long been a fan and a regular reader of [Ms.] magazine, and I cannot tell you how proud I am to receive this recognition," said Hayden as she received her award. "To stand here today in the company of such accomplished women is inspiring. Like other women in this room who have worked hard to bring positive change to empower the powerless, I work with librarians and the diverse communities that they serve, to educate people about defending their civil rights and liberties ... Librarians are committed to educating our citizens about the dangers of many provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act ... Instead of being called mousy and dull, we are being called 'feisty fighters for freedom.'."
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