In honor of women’s history month, I wanted to highlight some women who are often overlooked in our history books and common knowledge. These women serve as my role models and have helped to pave a path for generations to come.
Today we introduce Oveta Culp Hobby: Media Mogul, Courageous Colonel, and Groundbreaking Cabinet Secretary. Mrs. Hobby is from my hometown of Houston, but, unfortunately, she’s merely known as William P. Hobby’s wife. Oveta was groundbreaking editor of the Houston Post who advocated for diversity and hired the first female news reporter, Kay Bailey Hutchinson. After the outbreak of World War II, the War Department recruited her to head the Women’s Interest Section, which was primarily focused on answering women’s questions on the war effort. Oveta learned women were interested in aiding in the war effort, and thus, began organizing the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp. She fought for equal wages and fair treatment for the women in the military. Eventually through her perseverance the Corp was fully inducted in to the military as the Women’s Army Corp, and Oveta was sworn in as the first female colonel. After the war, Oveta earned the Distinguished Service Medal making her the first woman to win such a recognition. In 1953, Eisenhower appointed her to his cabinet as the first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. She oversaw the release of the polio vaccine. After she retired from public office, she continued running the Houston Post and being an philantropist with the city.
Oveta Culp Hobby broke barriers for women in journalism, military and political power. Happy Women’s History Month!