Dallas native will share the words of women April 27, May 3
By Deb Silverthorn
Shouting out about the meaningful words of women is Dana Rubin, in-person and through the publication of her “Speaking While Female: 75 Extraordinary Speeches by American Women,” an anthology of women’s speeches. Rubin will present and sign books at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Allen Public Library and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, at Interabang Books.
“Women for so long have not been on our pulpits, of our leadership, of professional rule — and when they were, or are, it’s not celebrated enough for the public to know. The deeper I started researching the more I was pulled in. What began as a hobby became an obsession,” said Rubin.
She is an author, editor and the founder of “Speaking While Female,” an online speech bank of the text of thousands of women’s speeches as well as some video and audio files.
A fifth-generation Texan of her late father Louis Rubin’s family and third-generation on her mother Devora Geller Rubin’s side, the author is the sister of Sandra (Jim) Panipinto, of blessed memory, and Maury (Brianna) Rubin. She graduated from Hillcrest High School, was raised at Congregation Shearith Israel and was dedicated to Young Judaea, both the youth group and its summer camps.
“I hit the lottery when it came to my parents because they always encouraged me in everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m kind of unconventional but they’ve stood behind me whatever my path,” said Rubin.
Her parents were never surprised by her success; they never doubted that wherever she was, whatever she was doing would be meaningful.
“Dana has always been interested in history and finding the story — whatever that was. It’s been wonderful to be around her for some of the interviews and as she’s put it together. I’ve always been proud of her and this is a huge accomplishment,” said Devora. Rubin’s mother is her best publicist as Devora has spread word of the book throughout The Legacy Midtown Park, where she lives, and is responsible for numerous sales.
Rubin went to Smith College; then to Yale University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history; then The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a master’s degree in English literature.
Her career began as a reporter for The San Jose Mercury News in San Jose, California, and writer for Texas Monthly. Moving to London, England, for six years, Rubin found a second career in speechwriting which required writing words for the ear, not the eye.
“Speechwriting is different from writing for print because you have to hold the audience’s attention, during a meal or whatever distraction. Speech is about vocabulary and ideas, the ability to keep the audience’s attention in a clear and organized manner,” said Rubin. She now lives in Westchester County, New York, with clients that have included Dan Rather and Martha Stewart.
Respecting many mentors, including former Hillcrest High School English teacher Liz Trice, Rubin has always believed women’s voices are strong. In speechwriting, it became clear to her that there were so few women in that arena. Through her career, her online resource and now her book and speaking engagements, she’s making sure others understand her passion.
“It’s almost as though culture has amnesia about women who used their voices to impact society, politics and the professional world. Now, more than ever, we need to read and hear these voices, to know of their expertise and knowledge and to appreciate and respect them,” said Rubin.
Through research, Rubin realized there was no anthology of women’s speeches that showed their contributions through the centuries to American history. “Speaking While Female” features 75 orations, from Anne Hutchinson’s 1637 “Heresy Trial” speech given at the General Court in Newtown Massachusetts Bay Colony to Bina Venkataraman’s 2021 commencement address at the University of Southern California, encouraging graduates to “Summon Courage.”
Among the speeches featured are four by Jewish women: Rose Schneiderman’s eulogy to the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire; Lillian Wald’s talk of conditions of poor immigrants on the Lower East Side; Betty Friedan’s “Farewell Speech to NOW”; and Judy Heumann’s words on “Becoming Disabled.” Among the speeches included are those of Susan B. Anthony, Katharine Hepburn, Temple Grandin and Oprah Winfrey.
Temple Grandin, the autistic woman who became an unlikely hero to America’s cattle industry and who was featured in a 2010 HBO movie, has spoken publicly for more than 50 years. Speech-delayed until she was 4 years old, she became a prominent author and speaker on autism and different kinds of minds as well as on animal behavior, speaking on the public stage regularly as professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
“It’s an honor to be included. Many people thought I wouldn’t amount to anything, and I want girls, women of all ages, really everyone to know they can do anything. I made my way in the ‘70s in what was definitely a ‘man’s world,’ but I worked hard and found the doors to open. Education and experience are so important. One of the greatest keys in life is to find those doors and make them open,” said Grandin, who has spoken to banking, steel mill, pharmaceutical, travel and other industry executives.
Grandin added that “women have to step up and work harder but you can make it. To know of these other women whose words, along with mine, will be read and learned — that’s just terrific.”
“We grew up learning the words of Cicero and the ancient Greeks, Abe Lincoln, the Kennedys and Martin Luther King,” said Rubin. “They’re important, but the more I searched the more I realized how little women were heard from. It wasn’t that women didn’t speak; it’s that their words aren’t in our history books, in popular culture and the media. I want everyone to know their words and their impact.”
“Speaking While Female: 75 Speeches by American Women,” available on June 7 through Amazon, is available for order now through tinyurl.com/Speaking-While-Female. Rubin’s “Speaking While Female Speech Bank” can be found at SpeakingWhileFemale.co and to engage Rubin’s professional services, visit https://speech.studio.