The Minerva Awards 201

The Grand Finale featuring The 2010 Minerva Awards

The Minerva Awards

The Minerva Awards were created by Maria Shriver in 2010 as a way to celebrate the achievements of women, highlighting their unique contributions to the business world, education, diplomacy, charity, science, and the arts. As Shriver explains in her book “That’s Me in There”:

When I was growing up in the so-called upper class environs of New England, I noticed that while women were encouraged to become ‘refined’ and ‘gracious,’ very little was ever said about them becoming actual contributing members to society outside of their roles as hostess and mother.

“A woman who really taught me how to change that paradigm was our maid Winnie. She came from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ but never let that stop her from wanting more for herself and for her family. She worked in my parent’s home all day, and then at night went to night school for a degree in accounting. I still remember the day when she marched into my father’s study to announce that she had just graduated and was quitting to take a job as an accountant with a company dad was a shareholder in. At first he was taken aback, and didn’t know what to say. But then he stood up, came around his desk to shake her hand, and told her if she ever needed anything from him to please ask — he would be honored to be her friend. Winnie went on to become a vice president in that company before she retired. That is the kind of woman we want to honor with the Minerva Awards.”

Minerva was the ancient Greek god of husbandry and invention. Many states and nations use her statuesque figure as a symbol of women’s struggle for equality in the world. In ancient Greece it was customary for the men to give up their seats in the Parthenon for one day every year and let the women take over the leadership roles — this was called ‘Minerva’s Day.’ The modern Minerva Award looks to reward women who are role models in every nook and cranny of American culture — from the military to the religious.