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Faye Wattleton

Faye Wattleton
File:Faye Wattleton 2009.jpg
Wattleton in 2009
Born (1943-07-08) July 8, 1943 (age 72)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Feminist activist
Author and regular news commentator.

Faye Wattleton (born Alyce Faye Wattleton, July 8, 1943) is the first African-American and youngest president ever elected to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and is also the first woman since Margaret Sanger to hold the position.[1][2] She is best known for her contributions to the family planning and reproductive health, as well as the pro-choice movement.

Early life and education

Wattleton was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1943, the only child of a construction worker father[3] and a mother who was a seamstress and a Church of God minister. During her childhood, her mother's calling meant that the family traveled frequently, and Wattleton saw the emotional effect her mother's preaching had on the congregation. Although her mother never approved of her work in reproductive rights,[4] Wattleton considers the principle of nonjudgment espoused by the faith of her upbringing to have had a deep impact on her future work in family planning.[5]

Entering Ohio State University at the age of 17, she was awarded a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1964, and went on to teach at a nursing school in Dayton, Ohio for two years. She earned her Master of Science degree in maternal and infant care, with certification as a nurse-midwife, from Columbia University in 1967.[6] She has received 13 honorary doctoral degrees.

Later career

During her presidency at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, from 1978 to 1992, Wattleton transformed the organization into the politically engaged entity that it is today, while at the same time dramatically increasing its health-care services. Anticipating that the 1980s would bring many political challenges, Wattleton restructured the organization so that it could respond to the new environment created by the Ronald Reagan administration and the rise of the Religious Right. She also led Planned Parenthood's growth as a health-care provider. By the time she left the organization, it had more than 170 affiliates in 49 states and Washington, D.C., and operated more than 800 health centers.[7]

In 1986, the American Humanist Association named her Humanist of the Year.[8] In 1990, Wattleton, along with 15 other African American men and women, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.[9]

In 1992, Wattleton received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[10]

She was a 1993 inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[11] In 1996, she published her autobiography, Life on the Line. Recently, she served as the President of the Center for the Advancement of Women. Currently, she is the managing director at an international consulting firm.[7]

She has a grown daughter named Felicia Gordon, who studied law at New York University. Wattleton and her husband divorced when their daughter was 6 years old.[4]


  1. ^ "History & Successes". Planned Parenthood. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "About Faye". Faye Wattleton. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Alyce Faye Wattleton Biography". The HistoryMakers. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Jesse Green. "What I've Learned ... From My Daughter". O, the Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Rachel Port. "A Conversation With Faye Wattleton: Part 2, Belief and Mission". Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Jone Johnson Lewis. "Faye Wattleton". Women's History. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Rachel Port. "A Conversation With Faye Wattleton: Part 4, Looking Back". Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Humanists of the Year". American Humanist Association. Retrieved 26 December 2012. Faye Wattleton - 1986 
  9. ^ Kathryn Cullen-DuPont (1 August 2000). Encyclopedia of women's history in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8160-4100-8. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Women's Issues". The Fischer Ross Group, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 



External links

Template:National Women's Hall of Fame