March 8, 2017

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and around the world communities are declaring it to be “A Day Without a Woman.” In the wake of the immense global success of the women’s marches in January, this new grassroots effort aims to recognize the “enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system—while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity,” according to organizers.

The College is marking the #DayWithoutAWoman campaign by spotlighting the contributions Wellesley alumnae have made that have changed—and improved—how we live and work. From groundbreakers to creative geniuses, from risk takers to innovators, we present a small group of alumnae to represent Wellesley’s long history of women who made a difference.

Get involved by posting the Wellesley women who inspire you to social media with #DayWithoutAWoman and tag #Wellesley. If you forgot to wear red to show your solidarity, you can pick up a red Wellesley College sticker in El Table in the basement of Green Hall or outside the Office of the Provost at Green Hall 345. (Organizers say red is the color of “revolutionary love and sacrifice.”)

Learn more about International Women’s Day.


Without Wellesley Women...

crossed oars

Rowing in college would still be men-only.

The first women’s crew team was established by Wellesley women.

American flag

America would still be breathtaking, but we wouldn’t be singing about it.

Katharine Lee Bates, Class of 1880, wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.”


The stars would have no names.

Annie Jump Cannon, Class of 1884, created a star classification system.


There would be no Buicks traveling the streets of China.

As a vice president of General Motors, Shirley Young ’55 was instrumental in launching the automaker’s operations in China.


Doctors would still be treating women like men.

Vivian Pinn ’62 was the first director of the Office of Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.


Harry wouldn’t have met Sally.

Journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, director, and blogger Nora Ephron ’62 wrote the rom-com classic When Harry Met Sally...

NPR logo

NPR wouldn’t be on the air.

Linda Wertheimer ’65 and Cokie Roberts ’64, along with Nina Totenberg, are considered the founding mothers of National Public Radio.

empty picture frame

The Met would have no photography department.

Maria Morris Hambourg ’71 created and curated the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zipcar logo

You might be running errands on foot; ZipCars wouldn’t exist.

Robin Chase ’80 cofounded the car-sharing company Zipcar.


An Einstein prediction would still be just a prediction.

Nergis Mavalvala ’90 helped prove one of Einstein's predictions of relativity.