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Women’s History Month: Do You Know? Architect Norma Sklarek and Lawyer Clara Shortridge Foltz

Gayle Anderson was live in West Hollywood, where for Women's History Month, we learn about architect Norma Merrik Sklarek,  described in some circles as “the Rosa Parks of Architects. Among her many projects, the West Hollywood Blue Whale at the Pacific Design Center. Sklarek is credited with contributing to the architectural design of the building.

Also, we learn about lawyer Clara Shortridge Foltz, the first woman to practice law in California; the first woman admitted to Hastings College of Law; the first deputy district attorney in the country; and the creator of the public defender system.

The Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles ( famous for high profile criminal court cases including the O.J. Simpson trial ), which thousands drive and / or walk past in downtown Los Angeles near City Hall is named for this pioneering woman.

To learn more about both these pioneering women, the Los Angeles Public Library is an important resource. For more on architect Norma Merrick Sklarek, take a look at: Women Trailblazers of California: Pioneers to the Present / Gloria G. Harris and Hannah S. Cohen. From fearless pioneers and determined reformers to professionals from every walk of life, Harris, and Cohen chronicle the triumphs and disappointments of diverse women who dared to take risks and break down barriers. 

To learn more about Lawyer Clara Shortridge Foltz, take a look at the Los Angeles Public Library Blog.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to email Gayle at

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