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Celebrate Colorado Women Essay Contest

The Center for Colorado Women’s History and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will host an essay contest to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2019. Denver metro students in grades 3 through 8 are invited to learn about women who have made a difference in history, so that they can use them as inspiration to create a better tomorrow.

A winner from each category will be invited to attend an afternoon tea with Denver’s Margaret “Molly” Brown to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11, at 4:30 pm, at the Center for Colorado Women’s History at the Byers-Evans House.

Nominations are Now Closed for the Induction Class of 2020. The New Inductees Will be Announced in the Fall of 2019

Denver7 Journalist Anne Trujillo will be the Emcee for the 2020 Induction. This is the second time Denver7 has been proud to work with CWHF to honor Colorado’s amazing women. Anne Trujillo hosted the 2018 induction gala, which honored six contemporary women and four historical women.

Nominations are generated by the citizens of Colorado who put forward a wide variety of extraordinary women for consideration.

“Women, and especially young girls, need role models who share a similar drive and vision in life, education, business, and personal development,” says Beth Barela, chair of CWHF. “Too many of today’s girls and young women still struggle with low self-esteem, the deeply rooted belief that they “can’t,” or that certain obstacles are insurmountable. Having role models to study, emulate, and help them find ways to succeed is critical in women being able to create a healthy, happy, productive future for themselves.”

Nominations are now closed.

Check Out Our Latest Partnership with Girl Scouts of Colorado!

Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) have joined forces to create a patch for Girl Scouts of all ages. The history of women isn’t taught in Colorado schools. Since the Girl Scouts provide opportunities for girls to learn by exploring their interests, passions and dreams, the exposure to great Colorado women —both historic and contemporary — provides role models to begin to fill that gap.

CWHF highlights extraordinary women, their accomplishments and impact on Colorado, the United States and even the world. Hall inductees are women who, through grit and grace, have advanced the roles of today’s women to levels of heightened recognition and models of inspiration. “Who better than CWHF to provide an adventure in learning about contemporary and historic Colorado women,” asks Beth Barela, CWHF board chair.

How to Earn the Patch!

CWHF Wins Multiple Awards for Season One Film Series

CWHF-Produced Films win again
at the Heartland Emmys in 2019

July, 2019 CWHF won another Heartland Emmy in the Public/Current/Community Affairs – Program category for Marilyn Van Derbur Atler film: An Incest Survivor’s Odysseya season one film from 2018. CWHF was also nominated in the Music category.

Left: Hall Dana Crawford with Betty Heid, Executive Producer

Above Right: Former Hall Film and Board Chair, now Executive Producer Betty Heid above with Hall Inductee, Marilyn Van Derbur Atler. Top right, Bill Ranshaw, Enchanted Road Productions, Lisa Downing, Musical Composer. Bottom Right – Rick Higgins, Enchanted Road Productions.  Becky Martinez, Writer, Lisa Downing Musical Composer, Betty Heid, Executive Producer, and Bill Ranshaw, Enchanted Road Productions. 

The CWHF-produced films began in 2018 viewing on RMPBS:

  • In March of 2018, we premiered a CWHF-produced film series featuring five Inductees on Rocky Mountain PBS. The category for Best Music Composition/Arrangement won the Heartland Emmy award for the film, “Saving the Soul of Denver” featuring CWHF Inductee Dana Crawford, a visionary preservationist and developer who worked to preserve historic downtown Denver.
  • Also shown in season One was Hall Inductee Marilyn Van Derbur Atler’s Film, “An Incest Survivor’s Odyssey” won the Los Angeles Film Festival for Most Inspiring Woman in Film. Season one Links – Film Library Page
  • The Marilyn Van Derbur Atler film “An Incest Survivor’s Odyssey” was also nominated in the category of  Musical Compostion in 2019 at the Heartland Emmy Awards.

The Hall  is extremely grateful for former Film and Board Chair and  current executive producer Betty Heid, composer and pianist Lisa Downing, Rebecca Martinez, and Enchanted Road Productions Bill Ranshaw and Rick Higgins who handled production of these films and deserve this recognition.

2014 Hall Inductee Penny Hamilton wins award for essay sharing her battle with breast cancer

Penny Rafferty Hamilton, PhD

It was a sudden, unexpected blurt from her long-time radiologist that led Penny Hamilton to discover she likely had breast cancer.

The rapid-fire sentence: “We probably found breast cancer,” stung her ears that day in October 2017. But it wasn’t unfamiliar as Hamilton first received a breast cancer diagnosis 10 years earlier.

Today, Hamilton is a two-time breast cancer survivor. And it has led her to share some important perceptions. Read full article: 

Penny Hamilton has been a general aviation pilot for 23 years, marking her as one of a select group of women in her field. Hamilton has worked for decades to encourage women to choose aviation as a career and break down the barriers that keep women from taking to the skies.



Lauren Young CasteelThe 2019 Lowry Foundation Speaker Series featured Lauren Y. Casteel President & CEO

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado in April. Lauren Y. Casteel is the first person in Colorado to lead three foundations and possesses more than 20 years of philanthropic leadership as well as a career-long dedication to inclusiveness. Lauren is an experienced and recognized advocate for women, children, youth, and families in Colorado.  Throughout her career, Lauren has earned numerous accolades. Most recently, she received the Anti Defamation League Mountain States Region’s 2018 Civil Rights Award; she received the 2016 Monte Pascoe Civic Leadership Award, presented annually by Denver’s Mayor to a member of the community; she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in 2015 by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce; and in 2014, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.


Hall Inductee Hattie McDaniel Featured in Our Community Now Publication: Our Coloradans Then: Hattie McDaniel, the First Black Woman to Win an Academy Award 

Hattie McDaniel

Theatre and show business run deep in Colorado’s roots, just as the Gold Rush does. For Hattie McDaniel, show business was in her blood, literally. She was born to former slaves, Susan Holbert and Henry McDaniel, and was the youngest of 13 children. In fact, her brother, Sam, played a butler in a Three Stooges film and her sister, Etta, was also an actress. So you see, McDaniel was made for the arts. Read More

Women’s College alumna Betty Heid is
winning awards for putting Colorado women
in the spotlight

The documentaries Betty Heid produces always have a turning point. There’s a moment when the soon-to-be-successful Colorado women she features get the opportunity to reach their full potential. Big Impact on the Big Screen



Let’s Talk About Colorado’s Amazing Female Astronauts

NASA may not have been properly prepared for the first-ever all-women spacewalk, which was supposed to take place on March 29. But we’re honoring Colorado’s female astronauts and their contributions to NASA anyway. Colorado’s Amazing Female Astronauts



News from the Western Slope – Celebrating Women: Mary Rait

Mary Rait was a woman so prepared and knowledgeable, even college students were intimidated. She was a pioneer in the Grand Valley and Women’s history across the state. She started out as a high school teacher, and then was invited to teach at the newly formed Mesa College. She’s fairly well known in the history of the Valley, but not by those outside of the Western Slope. Priscilla Walker is trying to change that. She is a board member for the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, but many of the inductees are from the Front Range. In fact, out of 162, only 5 are from the Western Slope. But many women, like Mary, deserve to be on that list. While her nomination is pending for the 2020 year, Western Slopers can continue to be inspired by her, a truly “first rate” woman.

Honoring Historic Colorado Women Through Public Art

“There are a lot of pieces of public art that have women in them, but they aren’t specific women,” she said. “So they’re either allegorical or they are representative of a genre of women. So there’s a really great statue in front of the Colorado History Museum that’s about Colorado teachers. But it’s not a specific person.”

Carrie MaKenna stands in front of a statue dedicated to dancer Maria Mosina in the lobby of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.


9news writes about Hall Inductees Janet Bonnema and Sandra Rothenberg

Colorado woman Janet Bonnema fought for equal opportunities after she was denied a job on a major highway construction project due to her gender. Bonnema filed a discrimination suit and was represented by Hall Inductee Sandra Rothenberg.


Northeast Notes: Forever young – a story of two women – by Julie Richman

Julie Richman, daughter of Ellie Greenberg writes about her mom and another inspiring woman in her life. Northeast Notes – Woodmen Gazette