Jill Ruckelshaus and the Feminist Republicans

From the 1950s to the 1970s, there used to be an influential group within the Republican Party known as the Rockefeller Republican. Named after liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller, these Republicans were fiscally conservative and advocated for pro-business policies. But on social issues like civil rights for African Americans and other minority communities and on women’s rights issues, these Rockefeller Republicans were very progressive. Among these Rockefeller Republicans were Brooklyn Dodger baseball great Jackie Robinson, Gerald and Betty Ford, Jill Ruckelshaus, and John Anderson.

Jill Ruckelshaus was known for her role as a leading Republican advocate for feminist policies and was referred to as the “Gloria Steinem of the Republican Party” for her outspoken positions on women’s issues.

Ruckelshaus was one of the founding members of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971, and served as the NWPC spokesperson to the 1972 Republican National Convention. During the 1972 convention, Ruckelshaus was influential in the adoption of a women’s rights plank in the Republican Party’s 1972 platform.

Following the 1972 presidential election, Ruckelshaus served as an assistant to Anne Armstrong and head of the Nixon White House Office of Women’s Programs. She was later appointed by President Gerald Ford as presiding officer of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year in 1975. She was also one of the four representatives in the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations World Conference of the International Women’s Year in Mexico City, which was from June 19 to July 2, in 1975.

She attended the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston and she was named as one of the members of President Jimmy Carter’s National Advisory Committee for Women, co-chaired by Bella Abzug and Carmen Delgado Votaw.

In 1980, she was appointed as a commissioner for the United States Commission on Civil Rights by President Jimmy Carter. As a Republican appointee by a Democratic president, Ruckelshaus remained as commissioner during Ronald Reagan’s first few years as President. As a liberal Republican in a very conservative Republican administration, Ruckelshaus frequently criticized the Reagan administration’s policies on women and minority groups.

Episode 6 of the Hulu miniseries “Mrs. America” focused on Jill Ruckelshaus’s role as a Republican fighting for feminist issues. It also focused on the battle during the 1970s between liberal and moderate Republicans like Jill Ruckelshaus and the emerging Christian Right as exemplified by Phyllis Schlafly.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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