What Women Can Do for America—Geraldine Ferraro and the 1984 Presidential Campaign
In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro (1935–2011) became the first woman nominated for national office by a major political party when presidential nominee Walter Mondale announced her selection as his running mate. At the time, Ferraro was one of 24 women serving in Congress. Today, there are 130 women. On display in this special installation, part of the Center for Women's History, is the dress Ferraro wore during the announcement along with campaign buttons.
Ferraro’s candidacy represented a political watershed for women in politics. Only a century earlier, Victoria Woodhull and Belva Lockwood had been the first two women to run for president. Declaring her support for equal pay, the Equal Rights Amendment, and an end to the nuclear arms race, Ferraro faced scrutiny of her husband’s finances, questions about her clothes and hair, and accusations of tokenism. Yet she understood what the momentous occasion of her candidacy represented to the nation apart from her qualifications to hold the nation’s second highest office.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.