Green, Edith Louise Starrett (1910–1987)
Democrat Edith Green of Oregon served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 3 January 1955 to 31 December 1975. An unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state for Oregon in 1952, Green emphasized education in her successful campaign for Congress in 1954. In her first term, she introduced and passed a bill for a $7.5 million appropriation for library services in rural areas. She played a key role in the passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, authored the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1965, and provided leadership in establishing the first federal program for undergraduate scholarships. Her amendments to the 1965 Vocational Rehabilitation Act expanded its scope to include urban youth in vocational training.
Appointed to the President's Commission on the Status of Women and chair of its Civil and Political Rights Committee in the early 1960s, Green authored and introduced the successful Equal Pay Act of 1963, a measure that had been introduced in various forms since the 1940s and that the commission endorsed. The next year, she Page 289 | Top of Articlewas the only woman in the House of Representatives who voted against including sex in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that it was neither the time nor the place for addressing discrimination on the basis of sex in employment.
A member of the Women's Equity Action League's (WEAL's) advisory board, Green was familiar with the organization's initiatives to end sex discrimination in education. In 1970, Green held the first congressional hearings on the topic and hired Bernice Sandler of WEAL to write a report on them. Green distributed thousands of copies of the report, giving advocates for educational equity a valuable tool as they worked with other activists and members of Congress. In 1971, several members of Congress introduced a variety of plans to prohibit sex discrimination in education, but it took several months to negotiate a plan for accomplishing the goal.
Green declined to run for re-election in 1974. She was a professor of government at Warner Pacific College and in 1979 was appointed to the Oregon Board of Higher Education.
Born in Trent, South Dakota, Edith Green attended Willamette University from 1927 to 1929. She began teaching in 1930 and attended college when she could afford it, receiving her bachelor of science from the University of Oregon in 1939. She left teaching in 1941 and became a radio announcer and a freelance scriptwriter.
Kaptur, Women of Congress: A Twentieth Century Odyssey (1996); Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives, Women in Congress, 1917–1990 (1991).