Aug. 29, 1929 – July 19, 2013

Charlotte Williams Conable of Buffalo, who helped lift women’s issues to prominence at the World Bank, died Friday in Sarasota, Fla., after a long battle with cancer. She was 83.

She was the wife of the late Barber B. Conable Jr., of Alexander, who became World Bank president after he retired from Congress in 1985. They were married 51 years.

With his wife’s influence, Barber Conable made safe motherhood and population control, particularly in Africa, key issues in the bank’s world development plans.

By 1991, his final year there, 40 percent of the billions of dollars in grants and loans approved had special components dealing with women’s health and other programs for women’s advancement.

In a major way, Mrs. Conable’s earlier work was responsible for a 2012 World Bank policy statement that said:

“Countries that create better opportunities and conditions for women and girls can raise productivity, improve outcomes for children and advance development prospects for all.”

Author of “Women at Cornell: The Myth of Equal Education (1977),” Mrs. Conable was for 10 years chairwoman of the National Advisory Committee, Women’s Rights National Historic Center, Seneca Falls.

She was a board member of the Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls; a White House Conference on Aging; and a trustee of Cornell University. She participated in United Nations International Women’s Conferences in Denmark, Kenya and Houston.

Born in Buffalo, Mrs. Conable was a graduate of Lafayette High School and earned a bachelor of science degree at Cornell, where she was president of the class of 1951, and a master’s degree in women’s studies at George Washington University.

In 1999, the State Senate named her a Woman of Distinction. Four years later, Genesee Community College awarded her an honorary doctorate for women’s advocacy.

Throughout Barber Conable’s work in Congress and the bank, the couple commuted from their home in Alexander to Washington, and later to a winter home in Sarasota, where they eventually settled.

Survivors include three daughters, Jane Schmieder, Anne and Emily; and a son, Sam.

A private memorial service will be held.

– Douglas Turner