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The stories we tell about the past matter. But what happens when an entire category of changemakers is overlooked? Fierce, a new podcast from iHeartRadio and Tribeca Studios, will shed much-needed light on the fierce women that history has undervalued. In each episode, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Jo Piazza will tell the story of one historical figure's life while connecting her legacy to a modern woman standing on her formidable shoulders today.

Fierce iHeartRadio

    • Maatschappij & cultuur

The stories we tell about the past matter. But what happens when an entire category of changemakers is overlooked? Fierce, a new podcast from iHeartRadio and Tribeca Studios, will shed much-needed light on the fierce women that history has undervalued. In each episode, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Jo Piazza will tell the story of one historical figure's life while connecting her legacy to a modern woman standing on her formidable shoulders today.

    Support Women Today: An Interview with Jennifer Palmieri

    Support Women Today: An Interview with Jennifer Palmieri

    In July of 1848, four women sat around Mary Ann M’Clintock’s kitchen table in upstate New York to draft the Declaration of Sentiments to proclaim that all women and men should be equal. In this bonus episode of Fierce we talk to former White House Communications Director Jannifer Palmieri about how she is carrying on M’Clintock’s legacy with her new book She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man's World.
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    • 16 min.
    Jeannette Rankin: The First U.S. Congresswoman

    Jeannette Rankin: The First U.S. Congresswoman

    Years before the United States ratified the 19th amendment, a woman from Montana had already infiltrated Capitol Hill. Jeannette Rankin rose through the ranks of the women’s suffrage movement, bringing an electric energy to every town she visited. Her activism earned her a place on the ballot in 1916, and she landed a seat as a congressional representative for Montana - the first woman to ever achieve this distinction in the United States. As a congressperson, Jeannette became an integral part of 20th century US history from voting against entering World War I, to battling for women’s suffrage on the floor of congress, to making herself known as a pacifist again during World War II and later, the Vietnam War. 

    At the end of the episode, Jo is joined by Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, to discuss why representation matters now more than ever.

    Main Sources

    Jeannette Rankin: A Political Woman. By: James J. Lopach, and Jean A. Luckowski. 

    Jeannette Rankin, America’s First Congresswoman, by Peter Aronson

    When Jeannette Said “No”: Montana women’s response to World War I - by Mary Murphy for Montana: The Magazine of Western History

    Suffragists Oral History Project: Jeanette Rankin: Activist for World Peace, Women’s Rights, and Democratic Government - Interviews Conducted by Malca Chall and Hannah Josephson

    Various articles found in the the digital archives of the House of Representatives and the Library of Congress Blog

    Articles from the NY Times in 1916, and United Press and the Suffragist in 1917

    From NPR, The First Woman In Congress: A Crusader For Peace by Whitney Blair Wyckoff and The Lone War Dissenter on All Things Considered from Dec of 2001


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    • 42 min.
    Christine Jorgensen: A Woman Before Her Time

    Christine Jorgensen: A Woman Before Her Time

    Christine Jorgensen never intended to become a celebrity. In 1951, Jorgensen traveled to Europe to obtain special permission to undergo a series of operations, which would help complete her medical transition from male to female, becoming the first American woman to publicly receive this type of surgery. When she returned to the states, the New York Daily News wrote about her under the headline: ’EX GI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY.’ Christine’s public persona marked a significant, though often fraught, step towards normalizing transgender identities in the US, and she came to embrace her role as a pioneer within the transgender community. But her story is still unknown to many and the fight is far from over. 

    Jo talks about the state of transgender rights with the National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah McBride, one of the many activists working today to continue the work Christine began.  

    Main Sources

    Christine Jorgensen: a Personal Autobiography - by Christine Jorgensen

    A Universal-International News report by Fred Maness with footage of Christine Jorgensen arriving at Idlewild Airport in 1951

    ‘Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty’, from the New York Daily News in December of 1952

    ‘Bronx Boy is now a Girl’ from the New York Times in December of 1952

    An interview with Christine Jorgensen conducted by the BBC in 1970

    An interview with Christine Jorgensen conducted by Hour Magazine in May of 1984

    An Associated Press article in the LA Times from June 1986 titled: ‘Famed Transsexual Christine Jorgensen Out of the Spotlight’


    Uncredited footage and interviews titled ‘Christine in Denmark Parts I and II’

    Various clips, footage, and reviews of Christine’s stage act referenced throughout the episode.


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    • 44 min.
    Madam C.J. Walker: The Self-Made Millionaire Who Raised Up Other Women

    Madam C.J. Walker: The Self-Made Millionaire Who Raised Up Other Women

    Born to freed slaves in 1867, Sarah Breedlove used her creativity, determination and brilliant mind for business to transform herself into the mogul, Madam C.J. Walker. Traveling the country with her hair products, Madam Walker employed legions of saleswomen to both grow her business and to give thousands of black women the skills and confidence to create generational wealth and follow in her footsteps.
    Following Madam Walker’s empowering story we reflect on her legacy with The Lip Bar CEO and founder Melissa Butler who cites Madam C.J. Walker as part of her inspiration in founding a makeup line that would suit people of all skin tones.

    Main Sources

    On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker - by A'Lelia Perry Bundles (Now a Netflix series starring Octavia Spencer, the book has been retitled ‘Self Made’)


    A New York Times article titled ‘Wealthiest Negro Woman’s Suburban Mansion’ published in November of 1917

    An Associated Press article on Madam C.J. Walker published in the spring of 1919


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    • 47 min.
    Dorothy Arzner: A Prolific Hollywood Director

    Dorothy Arzner: A Prolific Hollywood Director

    Dorothy Arzner wasn’t the first woman to direct films in Hollywood, but she was one of the few who endured. A female director who managed to succeed, for a time, in a man’s world. She worked her way through the studio system, first as a typist, then an editor, until she was trusted as a director. Between the silent era of the twenties and the early forties she made 16 films, and pioneered the use of the boom mic in the process. 

    Then, stay for a discussion on the difficulties that still exist for women in the film industry with Sonejuhi Sinha, who recently directed her first film after working for years as an editor, just like Dorothy.  

    Main Sources

    Directed by Dorothy Arzner - by Judith Mayne

    An extensive Interview with Dorothy Arzner conducted by Karyn Kay and Gerald Peary in 1974 - published first by ‘Cinema’ and then by ‘The British Film Institute’ in 1975.

    What Women Want: The Complex World of Dorothy Arzner and Her Cinematic Women by Donna R. Casella - Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, vol. 50 no. 1-2, 2009, p. 235-270. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/frm.0.0033.

    Kate: The life of Katharine Hepburn - by Charles Higham published in 1975

    Me: Stories of my Life - by Katharine Hepburn published in 1991


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    • 36 min.
    Grace Hopper: The Math Genius who Taught Computers to Talk

    Grace Hopper: The Math Genius who Taught Computers to Talk

    You might not know the name Grace Hopper even though it’s hard to imagine our lives without her work. Born in 1906 to a family of engineers, Grace was fascinated with the mechanics of objects from a young age. She was a no-nonsense dynamo, driven by guts and determination, so when the US entered World War II, Grace knew she had to join the war effort even though the military held few places for women. She nevertheless joined a team at Harvard that was hard at work on the Mark I, a calculating machine…or rather, the first large-scale automatic digital computer in the United States. It became Grace’s job to figure out how to program it. But Grace didn’t just program it, she taught humans to communicate with machines in a way that made every single computing leap since her time possible. 

    COBOL—the first computer language—was Grace’s great invention; a leap of imagination that did not only help America win the war, but made the computer vastly more useful than it was originally intended to be.

    Grace is the grandmama of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the technological leap that changed the world, and Jo discusses its legacy with Parisa Tabriz, a director of engineering at Google, and proud owner of a cat named Grace Hopper.  

    Main Sources 

    Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) - by Kurt Beyer

    An Oral History of Captain Grace Hopper by the Computer History Museum - Interview conducted by: Angeline Pantages - Naval Data Automation Command, in Maryland in December of 1980

    A 60 Minutes segment entitled ‘The Captain is a Lady’ from March 6, 1983


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    • 35 min.

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