Who Is Geraldine Ferraro?

Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for Vice President on a major party ticket, was chosen from a field of three female contenders to be the Presidential running mate for Walter Mondale in 1980.

In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was picked as Walter Mondale's Democratic Party Vice Presidential running mate in the election for President of the United States. She was the first woman to be thus chosen by any major party in the history of the United States.

Ferraro was born in 1934 to an Italian immigrant. When she graduated from Marymount College, she accepted a teaching position, but started attending law school at night. She got married in 1960 and kept her own last name, a practice highly unusual for a woman in the United States at that time. Then she further pushed the envelope of women's roles when she had three children, and while raising them started a law practice.

She became an Assistant District Attorney of Queens, New York in 1974 and worked largely on domestic violence, child abuse and rape cases. Prior to this time, she considered herself a conservative, but these cases made her into a liberal. She later ran for a spot in the House of Representatives and to the surprise of many, won, against a conservative, Italian male in a conservative Italian neighborhood.

She served for three terms, championing causes of importance to women and children. She became Chairperson of the Democratic Platform for the 1980 convention. Then Walter Mondale chose her from among three women to become his running mate in the 1984 Presidential elections.

The campaign was torturous for Ferraro and her family. Her husband's financial situation became central to her opponents' and media's focus, distracting from her own qualifications as a candidate. Reagan and Bush won handily, but Mondale and Ferraro made a tremendous impact on the face of the Executive Office. It was now more confidently believed that one day a woman truly would be in charge at the White House.

Geraldine Ferraro is a member of the National Women's Hall Of Fame.

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