How Women Have Shaped the State

Women in Minnesota: Weaving the Web of Society in the North Star State

Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

Gomez-Bethke, Irene (1935–2021)

“We are one race—the Human Race.” These are the words of Irene Gomez-Bethke, a daughter of Mexican parents who immigrated to Minnesota. Throughout her life, she played a leadership role in bending the arc of history toward social justice, serving as Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights, guiding boards and commissions as a volunteer, and co-founding both Centro Cultural Chicano and Instituto de Arte y Cultura.

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her lifetime achievement award

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her lifetime achievement award

Irene Gomez-Bethke with a lifetime achievement award from Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Latino Law Student Association, April 15, 2016. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband and children

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband and children

Irene Gomez-Bethke (first row, at right) with her husband and children during her retirement, 2010s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with one of their great grandchildren

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with one of their great grandchildren

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband, Jack, and Jesse A. Lopez (one of their twenty-two great grandchildren), ca. 2000s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with Walter Mondale

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with Walter Mondale

Irene Gomez-Bethke with Walter Mondale (center) and Jack A. Bethke (right), ca. 1982. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke with Rudy and Lola Perpich

Irene Gomez-Bethke with Rudy and Lola Perpich

Irene Gomez-Bethke with then-candidate-for-governor Rudy Perpich and his wife, Lola Perpich, ca. 1980s. Left to right are Jack L. Bethke, Jesse Bethke, Raquel Cervantes, Irene Gomez-Bethke, Rudy Perpich, Jack. A. Bethke, Lola Perpich, and Manuel J. Cervantes. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke at a community event

Irene Gomez-Bethke at a community event

Irene Gomez-Bethke (first row, at left) receiving an award at a community event, ca. 1980s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke at her college graduation

Irene Gomez-Bethke at her college graduation

Irene Gomez-Bethke (center) in the audience of her Metropolitan State University graduation ceremony in St. Paul, 1980s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke in Oklahoma City

Irene Gomez-Bethke in Oklahoma City

Irene Gomez-Bethke (right) and a colleague representing a committee at a meeting in Oklahoma City, 1970s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

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