'Nice Girls' Finish First

'Nice Girls' Finish First

Author wins award named for Gloria Gartz, who gave Pasadena women a place to be seen and heard

By Ellen Snortland 07/17/2014

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Acouple of months ago, Pasadena Women’s City Club member Dr. Lois Frankel called me and left a message saying she had good news. Frankel is the author of the “Nice Girls” book series, exemplified by “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers.” When I called her back, she said, “You’ve won the 2014 Gloria Gartz Award!”   


“Yay,” I screamed, possibly hurting Frankel’s ear, “I am so honored … and I’ve got a really stupid question: Who is Gloria Gartz?” I’d already guessed that Gloria is another unknown woman in a pantheon of great and often forgotten or anonymous women.


Let me back up. There are so many wonderful, envy-inducing things about Pasadena: the purple blossoms of the Jacaranda lined streets, the weather, the wafting of orange and lemon blossoms year-round, the Rose Bowl, the Bogaards, City Hall, the neighborhoods, the architecture … and last but not least, the people! And right at the juncture of great people and great residential architecture is the iconic Prairie-style 1906 Blinn House. What does all that have to do with Gloria Gartz? She gave the Blinn House — now a historical registry home — to the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, which she started in 1945 and is now celebrating its 70th anniversary. Apparently, very nice women do give other women houses!


Gartz believed in the political, civic and social power of women. She supported the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and was instrumental in helping to launch AARP. She helped hundreds of other women to thrive and serve the Pasadena community. The Gloria Gartz Award is given annually to a woman who demonstrates “outstanding leadership and generosity as well as a commitment to celebrating diversity and empowering other women.”


I think Gloria would have agreed with the Virginia Woolf quote from “A Room of One’s Own,” “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Similarly, women need a space of their own as a physical and symbolic offset to all of the private clubs, golf courses, corporate board rooms, churches, government agencies and more that might as well hang “No Girls Allowed” signs on their front doors — all the places that use various justifications to exclude women from almost everywhere but the home. 


Of course, there could have been a “No Boys Allowed” sign on the door of the Women’s City Club, which, under the circumstances, seems only fair. However, that is not how WCC members roll.


Maybe Frankel’s next book can be “Nice Girls Didn’t Used to Win Awards: Burying the Taboo of Public Recognition for Women’s Contribution to Everything, Everywhere.” I heard author Robin Morgan say that men give each other awards and prizes for lots of things, even bad hair. Morgan felt women need to acknowledge each other more, and not anticipate that women will volunteer or do good deeds because of their gender or “nice” quotient. Historically, it has been considered crass and unfeminine for women to be credited openly.


Gloria Gartz gave us a house in Pasadena, her name and a place to be seen and heard. A place to not be anonymous, which again points back to Virginia Woolf: “Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” Come and help us all be less anonymous!


You can still attend the Gloria Gartz Award “co-ed” evening of good food, dancing and inspiration on Saturday, July 26. Call (626) 796-0560 or email wccpas@sbcglobal.net for tickets and more information.

Ellen Snortland and Lisa Gaeta are co-authors of the newly released “The Safety Godmothers: The ABCs of Awareness, Boundaries and Confidence.”  http://tinyurl.com/SG-Amazon

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