Archive - January 2, 2024

The Peace Corps On Day One: Women And The Mad Men At HQ

The Peace Corps On Day One: Women And The Mad Men At HQ

Arriving for work on or before March 1, 1961, the day President Kennedy signed the executive order establishing the Peace Corps, were a few women who were early “volunteer staffers” and who would become famous in those first years of the agency. The majority of these women were well connected by family or friends to Shriver and eager to work at the Peace Corps, the shining star of Kennedy’s administration. The Peace Corps was the ‘hot’ agency and everyone, of course, wanted to be connected to Kennedy–if they couldn’t be in the White House–they wanted to be with Shriver and the Peace Corps. The women at the time were mostly ‘second class’ citizens in the world-of-work. They were not, for example, sitting at the ‘big conference table” at Senior Staff meetings. Looking at old black-and-photos of Peace Corps HQ meetings, you might see that Elizabeth (Betty) Forsling Harris had wedged herself into . . .

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