Remembering and Honoring Madeline Mixer

June 22. 2018
ERA Staff

Equal Rights Advocates honors and remembers our friend Madeline Mixer, a gender-equality pioneer who spent decades advocating and organizing for working women. Madeline, a passionate supporter of ERA throughout her life, passed away earlier this month.

Since the 1960s, Madeline advocated for non-traditional job training and placement for women. As the director of the Women’s Bureau District IX (San Francisco) of the U.S. Department of Labor, and long after her retirement, Madeline supported women who sought jobs in nontraditional blue-collar work, in fields typically dominated by men. She was an avowed feminist, and for a time during the Reagan administration, she lost her job because of it. (Feminism was a family trait; her mother, who lived to be 101, had been a suffragist.)

Madeline co-founded the nonprofit organization Tradeswomen Inc. in 1979. The organization is still active today. She also understood the importance of communication as a way for women to support each other and organize, founding Tradeswoman Magazine, which was published for nearly two decades, and a newsletter called “Pride and a Paycheck,” which is still published.

Long-time ERA supporter and tradeswomen advocate Molly Martin said this of Madeline in tribute:

I think Madeline’s life goal was to make it possible for women to have access to jobs that could make them independent of men. Her own life experience as a divorced mother of a young child was the driving force behind her feminism. At the time women didn’t have so many options.

Noreen Farrell, ERA Executive Director, agrees, and adds: “Madeline was a pioneer and also a wondrous historian of the movement. She energized a new movement of feminists with stories of the strides she made possible.”

Madeline Mixer’s legacy of advocacy to serve the cause of gender justice highlights the importance of collaboration and resilience. She will be missed by everyone in the ERA family.

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