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When she ran for Congress in 1970, Bella Abzug loved to hammer home the slogan: "Women Belong in the House - The House of Representatives."

"I was running not because I happened to be a woman but because I was a woman," said the feminist icon, one of 25 women inducted Saturday into the National Women's Hall of Fame.Someday women will be honored for their efforts and won't need such awards, she said.

"We won't have to have a Hall of Fame. Every woman's mirror in the home will be the Hall of Fame," she said.

Abzug served two terms as a congresswoman from New York, helped found the National Women's Political Caucus and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1976. At 74, she now heads a nonprofit group dedicated to women's issues, the Women USA Fund.

Seven of the nine living inductees attended the ceremony. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph did not. Winfrey had a scheduling conflict and Rudolph, the first American woman and first black to win three Olympic gold medals in track and field, is seriously ill with cancer.

"I feel humbled and honored to be inducted . . . with such a distinguished group," Winfrey said in a statement read at the ceremony.

Geraldine Ferraro, the former congresswoman and 1984 vice presidential candidate, was on hand for the honor. She said her candidacy 10 years ago opened a door for women in politics "that never will be closed."

"In the future, you're going to see women running for the presidential primary, and if that happens, you're going to see women may be winning," she said.

Also attending were: Dr. Antonia Novello, first woman and first Hispanic American named U.S. surgeon general; philanthropist Helen Hunt; Catherine East, a career federal employee who helped push the Equal Rights Amendment through Congress in 1972; Muriel Siebert, who in 1967 became the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange; and the Rev. Betty Bone Schiess, one of the first women to be ordained as an Episcopal priest in America in 1974.

While there are now 2,000 women priests, the church has not fully accepted the idea, Schiess said.

Women priests are "treading water - ecclesiastical water. I think it's fair to say we're marginalized."

The 1994 class of inductees was the second largest in the hall's 25-year history. Last year, 35 women were inducted.

Before 1993, the inductee list had included no more than four women because the hall required that only two living and two dead women be inducted per year.

The rules were changed because board members felt they were pitting the accomplishments of women and their importance in history against each other, and that contradicts the hall's ideology, hall officials have said.