Episode #5 of the EWI Legacy Stories Project features women's empowerment activist Ann Stone. Ann co-founded the National Women's History Museum and has founded and worked on the boards of several other civil rights organizations; she is also the second member of EWI.
Ann Stone met Marga Fripp in Romania. Marga was running her women's empowerment organization, and Ann was on assignment from the state department. Ann recalls their first interaction: "I actually walked into the middle of a press conference [Marga] was having, and she had me sit down and join the press conference! We'd never met, and here I am sitting across from her at the table with the press all around."
Ann began training women on success skills, negotiation, communication, and advocacy in the late 70s because of a personal experience working at a conservative company. She traveled to over 60 countries for the state department and conducted seminars for women through an organization she co-founded in 40 states. Ann helped found the National Women's History Museum in 1996 and continues to advocate for women's history.
After the press conference, the pair connected several more times. "We were in sync about things that needed to be done not only in Romania but that I had seen around the world because women had the same problems everywhere. It was not unique to any one locality."
Ann became like an adoptive mother to Marga following her family's immigration to the US. Ann supported Marga and encouraged her to start an empowerment group for other immigrant women. Ann was the second member of EWI, the first chair of the board, and an active board member for over a decade.
Following Marga's family's hasty immigration to the US, Ann became like an adoptive mother to Marga. She supported Marga through her challenges as an immigrant and encouraged Marga to start an organization to help other immigrant women. Ann was the second member of EWI and key in launching the program.
Previous Empowered Women International Legacy interviews have shared the struggle to fund the early program. Ann hosted fundraising events in her home and used EWI's early successes to convince donors of the program's efficacy.
What does Ann think is vital for people to understand about the Empowered Women International program? "EWI provides a real service…They don't treat immigrants or individuals as a mass block. They really do look at individuals as individuals – really spend time to figure out what it is that's going to advance that person."
Ann's interview provides a second perspective on the first days of the Empowered Women International program and starting a small non-profit program. Her anecdotes about her work in women's empowerment highlight the importance of women's history and advocacy.
Where to find Ann's Work: