LINCOLN – Women who have broken barriers and found success are profiled in the new series “Nebraska Pathbreakers,” which premieres at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, on NET.
The first episode includes a candid interview with longtime banker Alice Dittman of Lincoln; a historical look at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.; and a conversation with artist Linda Garcia-Perez of Omaha, whose work celebrates her Chicana heritage.
In 1975, Dittman stepped into a man’s world when she became president of Cornhusker Bank in Lincoln, the first woman to do so in either Lincoln or Omaha. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in business in 1952. At the time, the doors to Harvard’s Graduate School of Business were closed to women, so Dittman enrolled at Radcliffe, a women’s college in Cambridge, Mass., where she learned from Harvard business professors.
Three months after her husband’s death from cancer, her father retired from the family business and Dittman assumed the helm of Cornhusker Bank. As president, she led the path in adopting new electronic banking technology, instituted a job-sharing program to help working mothers and expanded bank assets from $8 million to $235 million — all while raising three children as a single parent.
The next segment of “Nebraska Pathbreakers” follows Sarah Thomas and Lisa Maupin of Lincoln, who traveled with a group of Nebraska women to Washington, D.C., to attend the Women’s March.
After having lost their eligibility to vote just a year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, American women regained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. One hundred years later, women are still on the march for equality.
“This is a peaceful way to go out and say, ‘Look, we have a voice. It counts, and it should count. We need our voices to be heard. We need a place at the table,’” Maupin said.
The final segment introduces Omahan Linda Garcia-Perez, who had a long career as a children’s librarian in the city. A graduate of the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Garcia-Perez is also an artist who celebrates her Chicana heritage through her work. During her trip to Mexico as a young woman, she discovered the brilliant, colorful art of her heritage.
A second-generation American, Garcia-Perez was born in Omaha and raised in a family of 10 children. Her mother worked, so she spent most of her time with her immigrant grandparents. Spanish was spoken at home, so when she began school she struggled with English but, in that struggle, Garcia-Perez found her unique voice in the world.
“Nebraska Pathbreakers” repeats at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, and 5 p.m. Sunday, March 24, on NET. It repeats on NET’s World Channel at noon Monday, March 25, and 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26.
New ‘Nebraska Stories’ continue March 21
“Nebraska Stories,” the popular television series from NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR stations, will continue with new episodes in March beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21.
“Nebraska Stories” explores the art, nature, food, science, history and people that make Nebraska special.
On March 21, the program will feature “The Statue on the Hill,” a moving tribute to Ponca Chief Standing Bear; “Half-Way to St. Pat’s,” a visit to Greeley during its annual Irish Festival; and “A Hopping Success,” exploring how a University of Nebraska-Lincoln partnership is advancing the hops industry in the Midwest.
The series will continue March 28 with “Nebraska Star Party,” a celebration of 25 years of stargazing in the Sandhills near Valentine; “The Hat Maker,” a profile of Thedford custom hatmaker Kaycee Orr Hoffman, a second-generation milliner; and “Kindergarten Grandma,” the story of an 88-year-old former Lincoln teacher who passes on her love for learning to a new generation of students at Elliott Elementary.
“Nebraska Stories,” funded in part by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the Margaret and Martha Thomas Foundation, airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays and repeats Mondays.