Janet Parnes

Meet the First Female Cabinet Secretary: Frances Perkins’ Rocky Road to Washington

Her fingerprint lies in every workplace in the country. A relentless champion for exploited workers in the early-mid 1900s, Frances Perkins pushed through programs and policies we take for granted. These include the 40-hour workweek, Unemployment Insurance, and Social Security. She fought furiously to eliminate filthy workplace conditions, fire hazards, and child labor. Frances was the force behind FDR’s New Deal and at the root of OSHA.

As Frances tells her story, you will learn about her character as well as the people, quandaries, and decisions that prepared her for Washington politics. She will reveal her secrets to building alliances and staring down bullies to make government an ally for working adults, children, and retirees.

[Recorded August 12, 2023]

Janet Parnes is the founder of Historical Portrayals by Lady J in Millis, MA where she has portrayed overlooked, influential American women for 20 years. Her portrayals transport audiences ages 7-adult into the Colonial, Federalist, Victorian, and World-War eras. She has performed at the Massachusetts State House, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, as well as museums, libraries, senior centers, schools, and historical societies across New England. Janet’s media appearances include the Boston Globe, Metro West Daily News, Patriot Ledger, and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

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