Georgia Women of Achievement, a statewide organization, is dedicated to publicizing, researching, and providing educational materials about the accomplishments of outstanding women in Georgia history. The need for such an organization was first suggested in 1988 by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, and two years later a group of Wesleyan College alumnae and other influential Georgians founded Georgia Women of Achievement. Inductees at the first ceremony in March 1992 were Martha Berry, Lucy Craft Laney, Juliette Gordon Low, Sara Branham Matthews, and Flannery O’Connor.
Nominees for Georgia Women of Achievement must meet the criteria established by a board of selections that includes historians, teachers, and leaders in the field of Georgia history. Nominees must have been deceased for at least ten years, and they must also be native to or clearly identified with Georgia, have made exceptional contributions, and possess a life story that inspires others to make use of their own talents. Nominations from organizations and individuals are accepted before the first of October each year; the board of selections reviews all nominations a year in advance.
The organization’s projects include a Web site, a traveling exhibit featuring many of the honorees, a speakers’ bureau, resource guides for middle and high school teachers (approximately 1,000 were distributed in 2006), and an annual induction ceremony. In March, which is women’s history month, the organization holds a ceremony, usually at Wesleyan College in Macon, to formally induct the outstanding women selected for that year. Beginning in 2002, videos featuring honorees’ biographies, photos, and artifacts were added to the program. Middle and high school students attend the ceremony; they are sponsored by local companies at no cost to the students.
At the core of Georgia Women of Achievement’s mission is its Web site, an online museum devoted to the honorees; the museum “space” is where visitors can discover the remarkable life stories of outstanding Georgia women.