(1940 - )
Barbara Boxer and Dianne
Feinstein were the first pair of women to be elected together to the
United States Senate from the same state in 1992. Boxer's election was
another successful step upward in her political career.
She was born on November 11, 1940, to Sophie and Ira
Levy, in Brooklyn, New York. In her youth she never contemplated having a
career in public office. Boxer went through the public school system and
graduated from Brooklyn College in 1962. It was here when she was a senior
that she married Stewart Boxer. She went to work so that he could attend
Fordham Law School.
Barbara Boxer experienced sex discrimination and sexual
harassment as a woman. When in colleae, her professor gave her a very low
mark on an exam and when she saw him in his office about the grade, he
made sexual advances towards her. When she wanted to become a stockbroker
on Wall Street, she discovered that they only hired men. When she ran for
supervisor on the county board in California, she was attacked for not
staying home to take care of the home and children which cost her the
They had moved to San Francisco, California, when her
husband obtained a legal position after graduating law school and passing
the bar exam. It was here that she had two children, Doug, a son, and
Nicole, a daughter. Her interests became involved in the high school
dropout rate and to provide job training for those who left. The program
called the Education Corps of Marin worked so well that the county adopted
After losing her first election, she went to work for
two years as a reporter at the Pacific Sun. She then became an aide for
Congressman John Burton and after two years, she ran again for supervisor
in Marin County which she won. This was the beginning of her successful
She served as a supervisor for six years and she became
the first woman to be president of the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
In 1983, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives
from California's Sixth District. Here too she was faced with sexual
discrimination. When House Speaker Thomas (Tip) O'Neill referred to
"the men in Congress", she sent him a letter politely asking him
to say "men and women." He answered by telling her that he would
not make the mistake again. Also, the house gym for women was totally
inferior to the men's facility.
Boxer served for ten years as a congresswoman. In that
time she exposed overcharges by Pentagon contractors, one charged $7,600
for a coffee pot. She introduced legislation for more competitive bidding
from contractors, fought for military reforms and to protect whistle
blowers in government. She exposed mismanagement in the waste program,
fought for airline cabin safety and was an advocate for domestic
priorities in the areas of health, biomedical research and education.
She was recognized for her achievements with awards
from the Anti- Defamation League, National Council of Jewish Women,
Planned Parenthood, League of Conservatism, American Police Hall of Fame,
Barbara Boxer's success in the political arena is a
model to emulate by every young woman.
Sources: This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of
American heroism included in Jewish
Heroes & Heroines of America : 150 True Stories of American Jewish
Heroism, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of
Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York,
and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.