Susan Scanlan ’69 is one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” recognized by Women’s eNews for 2015. She was profiled in the category “Seven Who Give Life to Movements” for working to improve the lives of women and girls.
Scanlan began her career on Capitol Hill in 1972 as a legislative assistant to Rep. Charlie Wilson, co-authoring legislation that admitted women to the military academies in 1974 and established Women’s History Month in March.
Along with two members of Congress, Elizabeth Holtzman and Margaret Heckler, Scanlan co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and its information and policy analysis arm, the Women’s Research and Education Institute (WREI), in 1977. In 1990, she launched WREI’s Women in the Military project, which advocates for the rights and responsibilities of military women and female veterans. The project earned Scanlan membership on the Advisory Committee on Employment and Training for Veterans at the Department of Labor under President Bill Clinton.
In 2003, she received the Women’s Leadership Award from the International Women’s Democracy Center, along with Sen. John Kerry.
From 2005 to 2013, Scanlan chaired the National Council of Women’s Organizations, a coalition of 240 women’s advocacy groups representing 12 million American women.
Still president of the WREI today, Scanlan’s newest project is the women’s sexual health equity campaign Even the Score and its fight for a Food and Drug Administration-approved female form of Viagra.
“There are twenty-six drugs approved to increase sexual pleasure in men, but can you guess how many there are for women? Zero,” Scanlan said according to Women’s eNews.
After more than 40 years advocating for women’s rights, Scanlan was recently recruited by the State Department to speak on women’s political empowerment.
“I have met with women leaders in Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Swaziland to share strategies about running campaigns, encouraging the female vote, harnessing the media and developing a message,” Scanlan said. “Women bring a unique, invaluable and informed perspective to the ballot box, the classroom, the boss’s office and to public discourse.”
Read more about Scanlan and other women leaders recognized by Women’s eNews here.