Most of the mainstream media lists of “outstanding” women, frankly, leave us a bit cold — too often, they are famous for being celebrities. When they are “ordinary” women doing “extraordinary” things — as in the most recent issue of Jane magazine — their exploits fail to inspire. For instance, Jane highlights a 29-year-old-woman who makes her own clothes so that she doesn’t patronize sweatshops and a 28-year-old who cooks without supporting industrial hog farms. Another “extraordinary” woman doesn’t date anyone who shops at WalMart. A 23-year-old won’t kiss a guy who eats meat or smokes.
CWA set out to find women whose contributions make the world a better place and we had a very difficult time narrowing down to a dozen choices. Our women range in age, locale, occupation and in numerous other ways are very different from each other, but they all share a commitment to Biblical Christianity and all are pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family. These are women whose deep faith is reflected in their priorities, their lifestyles and in their contributions to the world around them.
CWA is pleased to recognize the following women who, during the year 2005, made extraordinary achievements while balancing family and church commitments. They are, obviously, not alone. We could have compiled a dozen lists similar to this one, but each of the following women is deserving of honor and deserving of our recognition of their accomplishments over the past year.
Deborah Fikes – Executive Director of the Ministerial Alliance of Midland, Texas
Deborah Fikes leads the Ministerial Alliance of Midland, Texas — a group of about 200 evangelical churches and other conservative Christian organizations that fight for human rights around the world. Deborah and the Alliance have worked tirelessly to counter human rights abuses in North Korea, along with giving continued attention to the atrocities in Sudan and other human rights and religious freedom issues.
Rebecca Hagelin – Vice President, The Heritage Foundation, Communications and Marketing
In her book, Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad, Rebecca Hagelin warns parents about the numerous bad influences that invade even the most closely guarded Christian homes. Her column “Heart Beat” explores social and cultural issues through the eyes of a mother and appears on WorldNetDaily.com and Townhall.com.
Valerie Parr Hill – Businesswoman on QVC
Valerie Parr Hill balances family and a highly successful business and television career. Her home-decorating ideas, books and products have been selling on QVC for over a decade; her line of products — HeartFelt — sold more than one million items last year. Valerie’s elegant, yet inexpensive, items are carefully chosen for women who want their homes to reflect warmth and hospitality without extravagance.
Gianna Jessen – Survived an abortion and speaks publicly to support the sanctity of life
Gianna Jessen survived a saline abortion and, though left with cerebral palsy as a result of the “substandard” abortion, Gianna is a marathon runner who uses the competitions to draw attention to the grim realities of abortion. With admirable determination and relentless dedication, Gianna is an inspiration to all who need to overcome difficulties in order to achieve their goals.
Jan LaRue – Chief Counsel at Concerned Women for America
Both out front and behind the scenes, Jan LaRue was a driving force behind the successful appointment of John Roberts for Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Jan is already working on the upcoming hearings on Judge Samuel Alito and she continues to fight against obscenity and child pornography.
Faye Short – President of the RENEW Network
Faye Short, president of the RENEW Network since its inception in 1989, challenged the powerful Women’s Division (WD) of the United Methodist Church to an Open Forum to discuss differences in theology and priorities. By shining the light of truth on the WD’s publications and stances, the Renew network brought much-needed accountability.
Lisa Thompson – Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army
Lisa Thompson, who heads the Salvation Army’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons, is a whirlwind of activity in the fight against modern day slavery and uses her gifts for speaking and writing to influence policy and decision makers in Washington. She ends all of her correspondence with a call to battle, “Abolition.”
Leslee Unruh – President, Abstinence Clearinghouse
Leslee Unruh’s Abstinence Clearinghouse has had dramatic impact in changing cultural attitudes about abstinence-until-marriage. With teen pregnancies and teen abortions down, experts across the ideological perspective recognize the effectiveness of abstinence campaigns.
Marilyn White – Major in The Salvation Army, retired
Major Marilyn White, a second generation major in The Salvation Army, recently retired after many dedicated and outstanding years of service. Major White’s efforts resulted in key pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill — especially in the past year.
Wendy Wright – Executive Vice President of Concerned Women for America
Wendy Wright was an early voice warning about the harm to women from the abortion drug RU-486 and educating the public about the facts regarding the lack of results from embryonic stem cell research. Wendy is a strong voice for beneficial policies regarding women, families and the sanctity of life.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest – creator of the Blog “Reasoned Audacity” and Vice President of External Relations, Family Research Council
Charmaine Yoest holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Virginia, is a wife and the mother of five children. One of three bloggers selected this year to track the One campaign (celebrities against poverty) including attending and reporting on the Live 8 event in Ireland. “Reasoned Audacity” — politics in real life –was a finalist in the recent best in the blogosphere competition.
Deborah Young – State Director for Louisiana, Concerned Women for America
Deborah Young’s church, the 50-member House of Faith in Lafayette, LA, has reached out to some of the 7,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Deborah has led the church since her husband Paul H. Young, Jr. passed away in August 2004. Even though Deborah’s family was affected by the hurricane, she still went to the Cajundome to pray with evacuees and bring them encouragement, Bibles and study materials.