FRANCIS PERKINS

Today's fierce female is Frances Perkins. And is written by Tim Sullivan.

Born in 1880, she earned a master's degree at Columbia before marrying economist Paul Caldwell Wilson in 1913. She defended her right to keep her maiden name in court and was the sole breadwinner in her household for many years.

After a number of years teaching in universities, she was moved to action by the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911, which killed 146 people - mostly immigrant women. She became the executive secretary for the Committee on Safety of the City of New York, moving up in government positions before being named the first Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1929. In this capacity, she reduced the allowable working hours per week for women to 48 (yikes) and helped end the use of child labor.

After he was elected President in 1932, FDR appointed Frances as the Secretary of Labor. She was the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet, and was the longest serving Secretary of Labor, serving for 12 years throughout FDR's four terms.

She oversaw much of the New Deal legislation, including implementing a federal minimum wage and creating Social Security.

She was really not one for mincing words. Enraged when the head of General Motors tried to punish workers during a union strike, she called him in the middle of the night to deliver the message "You don't deserve to be counted among decent men. You'll go to hell when you die."

Maine's unhinged governor and Trump acolyte, Paul LePage, ordered her image removed from a mural in the Maine Department of Labor headquarters, arguing that it was like "communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses." It was saved by the Maine State Museum, where it currently resides.

"Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees."

"Most of man's problems upon this planet, in the long history of the race, have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage."

"The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats."

HAGS PodcastComment