Frances Perkins 1st Woman in the Cabinet Architect of the New Deal

Frances Perkins
1st Woman in the Cabinet
Architect of the New Deal

Women and Adversity: Frances Perkins

1st Woman in the U.S. Cabinet

Principal Architect of the New Deal

Franklin Roosevelt chose Frances Perkins to be his Secretary of Labor, the 1st woman to hold a Cabinet position. She had proven how passionate she was about workers’ rights and safety in the workplace.

Born Fannie Perkins in Boston in 1880, Fannie’s family was originally from Maine where they owned a farm. She grew up hearing stories of previous American wars and developed an appreciation for history.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a major in physics and minors in chemistry and biology and was senior class president. Her course in American economic history made her aware of the inequities in the workplace.

She changed her name to Frances, joined the Episcopal Church and dedicated her life to developing work programs, improving working conditions and assisting women in the workforce. As Secretary of Labor, she managed to help institute the minimum wage, working hour limitations and the Social Security Act.

She married Paul Wilson, an economist, in 1913, and the couple had a daughter in 1916. Frances Perkins died of a stroke in 1965.

More about Frances Perkins:

“The Woman Behind the New Deal” by Kirstin Downey

Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for several years and specialize in writing feature stories. I have more than a 1,000 bylines to my credit and have written on countless topics from autism to zoology. My columns on fashion and the Internet appeared in a Chicago area newspaper in the 90s. “Brunswick Buzz,” the column in The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. daily, ran for seven years then “Events on the North Strand” took over in October 2013, also in The Sun News.

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