Museum of Motherhood

Inspiring Women: Ruth Leach Amonette

At the age of 27, Ruth Leach Amonette was elected IBM Vice President in 1943, four years after joining the company. Ms. Amonette’s promotion was, according to the IBM board of directors, “in recognition of her ability and of the increasingly important part which women are playing in the operation of the company.” She was the first woman to hold a corporate position at IBM and one of the few women at that time to hold an executive position in any large company in the U.S. After becoming vice president, she devoted herself to the advancement of women in business and industry.

Ms. Amonette became associated with IBM in February 1939, as a demonstrator at the company’s Gallery of Science and Art at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. After attending Systems Service Class 448, she was assigned to the Atlanta office as a systems service representative. In July 1940, she was promoted to instructor in the Department of Education in Endicott, New York, and in October of the same year, she was promoted to the position of Secretary of Education for Women.

In 1945, Ms. Amonette was selected as one of the eleven outstanding women of the year and received an award at the annual dinner of the Women’s National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Amonette is a graduate of the University of California.

Ms. Amonette at age 87, died in Carmel on June 21, 2004.

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