National Women's History Museum presents de Pizan Honors Gala

WASHINGTON, DC, October 21, 2011– Talent is timeless. The National Women’s History Museum inaugurates a unique awards evening – the Christine de Pizan Honors Gala – to celebrate the legend of pioneering women of the past by showcasing their achievements alongside the contributions of their modern inheritors. The 2011 honorees are: Hedy Lamarr and Marissa Mayer in the fields of telecommunications and technology; Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Cathy Hughes for accomplishments in media and communications; and Admiral Grace Hopper and Helen Greiner for their work in computer technology and digital innovation.

Meryl Streep, the Museum’s spokeswoman, serves as host of the Gala on Wednesday, November 16, which takes place in the Amphitheater of the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004. A reception begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by the honors ceremony at 7:00 p.m. VIP ticket holders will continue with an intimate dinner following the award presentations.

She lived in the South during the Jim Crow era, but Ida Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) did not hesitate to use her newspaper to speak out against the injustices suffered by her African-American community. When her news office in Memphis was burned, she moved to a larger stage – Chicago – and continued fighting for civil rights as a journalist, suffragist and founding member of the NAACP. Accepting the award in her name is Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, the nation’s largest broadcast company owned and operated by an African-American. Radio One is a dominant presence in talk radio, music and news – a voice that engages the listening audience, starts conversations, promotes thought, and illuminates our times.

Her beauty and charisma made Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) an international screen actress in the 1930s and 1940s. During World War II, Lamarr also worked clandestinely as a research scientist to pioneer a radio anti-jamming device that would prove crucial during the Cold War. Her research is now recognized as fundamental to today’s wireless technology. Lamarr’s award is shared by Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer hired by Google in 1999. Now Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services at Google, Mayer has launched more than 100 of the company’s iconic features and products. If you’re looking at Google, you’re looking at what Marissa Mayer can do.

Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992) was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale, giving her entrée to secret research programs with the U.S. Navy during World War II and the highest levels of their technology, including the development of the electronic computer prototype. Dr. Hopper was one of the first to predict that computers would someday be a presence in most American homes. Helen Greiner accepts the de Pizan Award in technology and innovation in her honor. Greiner is the founder of iRobot, a company that delivers robots to industrial, military and consumer markets. Her research in unmanned vehicle systems has contributed to programs at NASA, CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Lab and MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Currently, she is the CEO of CyPhyWorks, a robotics company founded in 2008.

No actor has received more Academy Award nominations than Meryl Streep, a distinction that underscores the quality of her dramatic career. Her vivid portrayals of women from all walks of life and through all of its stages resonate everywhere in the realm of theater.

Tickets for the de Pizan Honors Gala are available at To become a gala sponsor and for more information, please contact Kate Clinton at or call 703-461-1920.


About the National Women’s History Museum

Founded in 1996, The National Women’s History Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation’s history, currently located online at Legislation is underway to purchase federally owned land on which to build the National Women’s History Museum. The site will border several of the nation’s most iconic museums on the National Mall. A coalition of 41 business and professional women’s organizations representing eight million members supports NWHM’s efforts for a permanent site, along with 50,000 members who have supported the Museum. Meryl Streep is the Museum’s spokeswoman and has publically advocated for building the Museum near the National Mall. NWHM is a 501(c) (3) organization.


About Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan was the first Western woman to write about women’s history in 1405. She is best known as the author of The Book of the City of Ladies, which she wrote to combat existing ideas about women’s nature. The book has given de Pizan the distinction of being the first woman recognized as a chronicler of women’s history. The NWHM is dedicated to continuing de Pizan’s work of documenting women’s achievements and is proud to present the Honors in her name.


Media Contact:

RSVP for media tickets, photos, interviews, please contact:

Jan Du Plain – 202-486-7004





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