Celebrating Women Trailblazers: Tribute to Dotty Lynch

When my mother was a little girl, “good” women stayed home with their children and it was believed that only spinsters and women of questionable character worked for a living. Whether or not you identify with the term feminist, as women, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Shere Hite, Lynne Segal and so many more – all of the women who spoke out, stood up to fight and paved the way for us to live independently, pursue meaningful work and be our own people, not the property of the men in our lives.

I didn’t know Dotty Lynch, but I do know, respect and admire Jan Piercy. Jan is an amazing woman, whose professional work makes the world a better place and whose personal warmth makes her a friend and mentor to so many of us.   I wept when I read her letter honoring Dotty Lynch: wept that Jan had lost a friend, wept that I never had the chance to meet Dotty and wept because I am long overdue to write a promised biography of one of the phenomenal women who shaped my life, a commitment which I renewed after wiping away my tears. Jan writes so eloquently about Dotty and her work; both words and content are inspiring. I am reminded of how long the road has been for women’s rights and how far we have yet to travel to reach ‘equality’.

With Jan’s permission, I’m reprinting her letter and links to Dotty’s obituaries here.  I hope you are moved and that you will feel inspired to reach out and celebrate the women in your life – those who helped shape you and those younger than you who are just beginning to make their way in the world.


Dear friends and colleagues,

I am bc’ing a virtual universe — some who knew Dotty, and many who did not. Forgive me for this “broadcast” email — yet I hope you will send it yet further! Dotty’s life has made a huge difference that I want the world to acknowledge! I am forwarding obituaries of a remarkable person whose passing needs to be taken in and whose life needs to be carried on.

Dotty and I met during the McGovern campaign — to date myself to a time some of you copied were not yet born! Dotty and her husband Morgan were cherished friends to Glenn, Lissa and me. Any of you copied who did know her should pause here and count your blessings. You knew a trailblazer. She was so understated that the younger among us probably never realized how much she had changed and advanced coverage of women in politics. She moved mountains!!

Forgive me if this is an unwelcome overload in your inbox. I am sending because I find myself constantly startled to come across individuals who truly have made a difference in expanding the universe for women that I did not realize had done so. (Dorothy Stuck and Nan Snow’s book, Roberta. the amazing story of Sen Fullbright’s mother, is a case in point: she is a story in herself, and should be an icon in history, yet is not.)

Dotty is a person who “moved the needle” and advanced the cause in her entire career, always “talking truth to power” and forging forward for women thru the sheer excellence of her plying her craft that in itself broke barriers. She also mentored expansively — interns, colleagues, students, friends. Although I have known her for decades, I did not realize the full range of her reach until I began to read all the emails flooding in, documenting the lives she touched one by one as well as thru her broader outreach in teaching, writing and mentoring.

Some of you copied are early in your lives/careers, and I want you to have this example of a great way to forge trails. Others of you are already wayshowers. And some of you are individuals making a difference in the families you raise, which is itself the foundation for all else.

Again, pardon me for broadcast email, but I loved Dotty, and I believe her story is one everyone copied can take to heart in different ways. And, I want to thank each of you  for my good fortune in knowing you, and to thank you while I can.

Warm regards,
Jan Piercy
Senior Advisor, Enclude

Politico obit:  CBS News Veteran Dotty Lynch Dies

Washington Post Obit: Dotty Lynch, Political Pollster Dies at 69


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