Previously published in Examiner
Part 1 of the Geraldine Ferraro series
This series of women in high ranking positions is a major series that will be broken down into several parts. Geraldine Ferraro is the beginning of the series, then we will go onto the Queens of England, the one and only Female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, The Female Governor generals of Canada, and the one and only female Prime Minister of Canada, Right Honorable Kim Campbell. As you know Montrealers do not have a vice president nor president, our system id based on the British system has prime ministers.
In the 1980’s women were making inroads in many areas once considered for males only. American women wondered, could a woman actually become the Vice President of the United States? Geraldine Ferraro was the woman who tried to make this happen.
Geraldine Ferraro – The early years
Geraldine Ferraro was born on August 26, 1935, in Newburgh, N.Y. to a first generation Italian mother who worked as a seamstress and an Italian immigrant father and restauranteur. Geraldine became the sole surviving sibling after both her brothers died; one during infancy and the other barely three years old. Geraldine met the ugly face of death yet again; her father died of a heart attack when she was but eight years old.
Antonetta, Geraldine’s mother, invested the family savings and lost it through some bad investments. Geraldine and her mother had to relocate to a low rental in South Bronx. Now that they were financially distressed, Antonetta worked in the garment factory to make ends meet.
Geraldine attended a parochial school, Mount Saint Mary’s in Newburgh. She had to transfer to another parochial school in South Bronx when they relocated. By the time she was 12, she was living-in at her newest parochial school, Marymount Academy in Tarrytown, N.Y. Her education was funded by rental income the family still had in Italy.
Geraldine was very bright. She skipped the seventh grade and was a member of the honor society and very active in many clubs and sports. Geraldine graduated in 1952 and was voted “the mostly likely to succeed” by her peers.
Antonetta inspired Geraldine to continue her education even though she was facing the social mores of the time. Her own uncle remarked, “Why bother? She’s pretty. She’s a girl. She’ll get married.”
Again we see evidence of males trying to keep women down.