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150 Years of Women

It was a century and a half ago that women were first given the opportunity to enroll at Northwestern as undergraduates. To mark the 150th anniversary of coeducation we are championing our remarkable community of individuals, who have taken risks, charted their own course and inspired change throughout our history and today.

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150 years of women at northwestern
Northwestern alumna Karen DeCrow led the National Organization for Women in the mid-1970s, when she campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, defended Title IX and ran the first Take Back the Night march.

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now president karen decrow
Growing up in a Milwaukee housing project, Patty Loew didn’t meet many other Native American people. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Loew would occasionally spend summers on a reservation with relatives, but it wasn’t until her late teens that she started developing a connection to her Native identity.

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native scholar patty loew medill journalism
When Claudia López ’19 PhD began her doctorate in political science at Northwestern in 2011, she was already well known in her native Colombia as an activist, political researcher and fearless investigative reporter. Before López was awarded her degree last June, she had also served four years as a Colombian senator, beat cancer, run as the vice presidential candidate for the Green Alliance Party in 2018, triumphed over stereotypes as a proud lesbian and inspired a new generation of voters.

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claudia lopez mayor-elect bogota, colombia