The month of March is dedicated to celebrating, among other things, Women’s History Month. To show our support for the amazing women of New Jersey — in a similar fashion to how we presented our Black History Month profiles — Best of NJ has put together a series dedicated to highlighting the achievements of inspiring women with strong Garden State ties. Each profile spotlights a single individual who has accomplished something remarkable.

We’ll be highlighting a new set of candidates each year, and Best of NJ readers can help determine who we feature next! If you have a suggestion for an inspirational or influential female figure with strong ties to New Jersey, share it with us on Facebook or Twitter. Then, be sure to come back during Women’s History Month to see if your submission made the list!

Women’s History NJ: The Complete Series


Women's History NJ: Judy Blume

Judy Blume

Author Judy Blume was born on February 12, 1938, in Elizabeth, NJ. Blume’s parents encouraged her creativity as a child, persuading her to participate in a variety of activities, including piano and dance lessons. She also enjoyed reading and would always create stories in her head. Blume attended Battin High School, an all-girls school in her hometown, before enrolling at Boston University…

Women's History NJ: Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix

Educator and activist Dorothea Lynde Dix (more commonly referred to as Dorothea Dix) was born in Hampden, Maine on April 4, 1802. Dix was the oldest of three children. Her father, Joseph, was a religious man who distributed religious tracts that his oldest daughter stitched and pasted together, which she strongly disliked. Dix was only 14 when she began teaching in Worcester, Massachusetts…

Women's History NJ: Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Historical author and reformer Antoinette Louisa Brown (later Antoinette Brown Blackwell) was born in Henrietta, New York on May 20, 1825. The youngest of seven children, Blackwell always had a thirst for knowledge, going so far as to follow her older siblings to school each day when she was just three-years-old. She was a hard worker and, as a child, preferred reading and writing and men’s farm chores over housework…

Women's History NJ: Esther Salas

Esther Salas

Judge Esther Salas was born on December 29, 1968, in Monterey Park, California. Her mother, Aurelia, was from Cuba, and her father was from Mexico. When Salas was just five-years-old, Aurelia moved the kids to Union City. As the youngest of five, things were tough early on; then when she was 10-years-old, her home in Union City burned down, and her family lost everything…

Women's History NJ: Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon

Actress Susan Abagail Tomalin (now Susan Sarandon) was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York on October 4, 1946. She is the oldest child of five girls and four boys. Her father, Phillip, worked as a television producer and advertising executive in the city. When Sarandon was young, her family relocated to Edison, NJ. After graduating from Edison High School in 1964, she enrolled at The Catholic University of America…

Women's History NJ: Clara Barton

Clara Barton

Clarissa Harlowe Barton, aka Clara Barton, was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts, on Christmas Day in 1821. When she was just a few years old, she attended school and excelled in her English studies. In fact, Barton was always an intelligent child, and at just 17-years-old, she received her first teacher’s certificate. In 1852, Clara Barton opened the first free school in New Jersey, in Bordentown…

Women's History NJ: Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd

American soccer player Carli Lloyd was born on July 16, 1982, in Delran Township, the same place where she then grew up. At five-years-old, Lloyd started playing soccer and developed a deep passion for the sport immediately. She’d regularly play pick-up games with friends and practice for hours in her free time. Once Lloyd entered high school, she became a star on the school’s soccer team…

Women's History NJ: Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich

Best-selling author Janet Schneider (now Janet Evanovich) was born on April 22, 1943, in South River, where she grew up. Evanovich had an active imagination as a child and always enjoyed reading. Some of her favorite stories included Nancy Drew mysteries and Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comic books. After graduating from South River High School, Evanovich enrolled at Douglass College in New Brunswick…

Women's History NJ: Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Popular American actress Anne Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 12, 1982. Her father, Gerald, is a lawyer and her mother, Kathleen, was an actress who inspired her daughter to pursue a career in acting. Hathaway, her parents and her two brothers moved to Millburn when she was six-years-old. She attended public school in the Garden State, where she excelled in the performing arts…

Women's History NJ: Alice Paul

Alice Paul

Monumental historical activist and suffragist Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885, in Mount Laurel. She grew up in a Quaker family, which significantly influenced her decision to study at Swarthmore College, a Pennsylvania school founded by Hicksite Quakers, after completing private school in Moorestown. She graduated from Swarthmore in 1905 with a bachelor’s degree in biology…


Bonus Stories Featuring Amazing Women


Women's History NJ: AOWIE

AOWIE Hosts Annual Empowering Conference for Entrepreneurs

A month of honoring empowering and inspirational women wouldn’t be complete without a conference hosted by the Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs (AOWIE). The group strives to assist female – and male – entrepreneurs in their pursuit of success. Men and women with innovative dreams traveled from various parts of the country to be a part of the supportive, informational and motivating event…


  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Carly Weaver / Best of NJ
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