Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Storyteller: Marjorie Margolies
Advocate, Change Agent, Congresswoman, Founder of a Nonprofit, Friend, Journalist, Mother, Storyteller are words that describe the life and work of Marjorie Margolies.
The third Night Out With Meaning was held on May 4, 2011. Marjorie Margolies weaved her experiences as Congresswoman, broadcast journalist, adoptive mother, Director and Deputy Chair of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference On Women and her recent role as founder and president of Women’s Campaign International – a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in political, market and civic process in 20 countries. Marjorie started WCI in 1998 to “make sure there were more women at the table.”
Marjorie was born in Philadelphia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. She was a broadcast journalist for over twenty-four years, winning five Emmy Awards for her work. In 1970, at age 28, she covered a story on Korean orphans and was so moved by the experience that she became the first single woman in the United States to adopt a foreign child, a Korean girl. Several years later she adopted a Vietnamese girl. In 1976, she testified before Congress and was credited with helping change legislation on adoption and immigration practices incorporated into the 1976 Immigration and Nationalities Act. She also published three books, including They Came to Stay (1976), relating her experiences as an adoptive parent and a supporter of immigrant families. Figuring in the number of refugee families that she sponsored over the years, Marjorie estimates that her household had provided for 25 children.
In 1992 she ran for an open seat in Congress for Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district, a largely suburban district outside Philadelphia and became a member of the 103rd Congress. Marjorie’s first vote on major legislation was for the Family and Medical Leave Act. In 1993, she joined women colleagues in the House who effectively pushed for more funding and research for breast and cervical cancer and making preventive tools available to more women.
After her term in Congress, She was the Chair of the National Women’s Business Council, and the Director and Deputy Chair of the United States delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. Marjorie currently serves as the founder and chair of WCI, and is a professor at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.