Longtime Republican and feminist Kathleen Ridder died this week at the age of 94.
She was a native New Yorker who moved to Minnesota in 1943 after marrying into the family behind the Knight-Ridder media empire, which owned newspapers in St. Paul and Duluth.
Back in New York, her mother had supported the family by running a dress shop. Ridder was active in GOP politics, served on the Metropolitan Council and wrote a memoir called "Shaping My Feminist Life."
In 1998, she told MPR News about her support for the Equal Rights Amendment.
"When it failed, I began to reevaluate ... even with the ERA, if women were going to have equal opportunity and be able to live a full life, they had to be able to get into the marketplace ... We live in a capitalistic system, money is the reward that you get for your work.
Once again, back with mother — the women in the shop. Because they worked, they were independent, they could do what they wanted ... I kept thinking it's the laws that are inhibiting women to be independent. We couldn't have checking accounts unless we'd gotten our husband's consent to that, pension laws were very disadvantageous ...
After the ERA failed, I went to Washington ... We had a conference called Women, Economy and Public Policy, which dealt with the fact that public policy affected the economic status of women."
To hear the entire interview with Ridder, click the audio player above.