Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Women “in” History: Misty Copeland

I say women “in” history because Misty is still hot on the scene of ballet, so I can’t say that she’s faded into the woodwork of history yet. But she did make history and she will be remembered. Because she is talented and beautiful and smart and groundbreaking and she has such a great attitude. She inspires me so much. She is doing great things and will continue to do great things.

She

  • was only the third African American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.
  • was also the first African American female soloist in twenty years for American Ballet Theatre.
  • didn’t start learning ballet until the age of 13 and yet became super successful anyways.
  •  started en pointe three months later. (This might not mean a lot to you, but en pointe is hard, really hard. I used to be a ballerina and I never made it there. For more on it, here’s the Wikipedia article.)
  • played Clare in The Chocolate Nutcracker.
  • has toured in China.
  • has had many roles in famous shows.
  • has had some crossover work in music videos.
  • gives back to the community.
  • has the possibility of becoming the first African American female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.
  • is developing her own product line of dance wear made to fit people of all shapes and sizes.


Others said

  • “It’s not like she’s going, ‘Hey, look at me.’ But she can be so ethereal, you just have to.” – Craig Salstein.
  • “I am a huge fan of Misty Copeland! She is not only a phenomenal ballet dancer, but she is intelligent, driven, and such an inspiration to me, and millions of dancers all over the world. She beat the odds, and is living her dream, in spite of so many challenges. She is the epitome of the type of dancer my show was created to spotlight, and represent. I’m honored to have her on our radio show!”  – Ashani Mfuko

She said

  • “The challenges of being one of the few black women in this field, gave me this determination not to give up.”
  • “It’s just so important to see that it’s possible and to see that someone can make it. Now that I’m here, I can set an example and hopefully make things easier for the next black [ballet] dancer.”
  • “Some black women give up and don’t do classical ballet dance. I want them to know that times are changing. The more people we have auditioning, they can’t deny talent.”


Awards

  • Los Angeles Spotlight Award
  • Best Young Dancer in the Greater Los Angeles Area
  • ABT’s National Coca Cola Scholar
  • Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts

Misty’s website can be found here. Her twitter is here. Her Facebook page is here.

There’s so much more of her personality that I don’t know how to include without copying and pasting whole interviews with her. I really like these interviews with her to get a feel for what a cool person she is.

Sources (Not already mentioned)

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Women in History: Olive Ann Beech

She

  • co-founded an aircraft company with her husband and ran it during parts of his life when he was sick and then after he died.
  • was the first woman in charge of a major aircraft company.
  • was a wife and a mother.
  • was nicknamed “The First Lady of Aviation.”
  • helped support the arts and education during her lifetime.

Others said

  • “Your selection… signals recognition of your contribution to the quality of life in Kansas. Your civic and community involvement has enriched the lives of countless Kansans. We are all grateful for your efforts.” -Governor Carlin

She said

  • “I like to have around me people who find ways to do things, not tell me why they can’t be done.”
  • “You have to sit on your own blisters.”
  • “I would say I was very fortunate throughout my life that I didn’t have to do anything that I didn’t like. I enjoyed what I did.”

Awards

  • Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy (the first woman to receive this)
  • American National Business Hall of Fame (only person from Kansas to receive this)
  • National Aviation Hall of Fame
  • One of 12 Most Distinguished Women in America
  • Woman of the Year in Aviation
  • Outstanding Woman in the Field of Business
  • One of the 10 highest-ranking women executives in major corporations
  • Bendix Trophy
  • Kansan of the Year
  • NASA Space Shuttle Study Committee nomination
  • Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame
  • 1981 Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Wichita State University
  • Business Hall of Fame of Junior Achievement of Wichita

Books (Note, I haven’t read, I’ve just found them)

The Salvation Army in Wichita has an Olive Ann Beech Hall.

If you go to Wichita State University, you might be eligible for the Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech Collection Endowed Fund.

There is also the Olive Ann Beech Scholarship for Primary Care in Kansas.

Southwestern College has the Olive Ann Beech Science Center.

Sources

P.S., I haven’t decided yet on whether or not I’m changing my name – I’m leaning towards yes right now, but if you have a bit of time to pop over here and give me feedback, that would be greatly appreciated.

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Women in History: Mabel MacFerran Rockwell

Mabel was a woman of science and perhaps it is especially fitting to honor women of science because it is a field that (to some extent) even today people still think is a man’s field. I have to admit that I, myself, do not understand science well, so I’m going to do my best to paraphrase and summarize her scientific achievements, but if you want more of the technical terms, feel free to click on the links, by all means. I didn’t find tons of information on her – she lived a relatively quiet life, but her achievements in science are no small thing to me.

She

  • studied electrical engineering.
  • graduated first in her class at MIT.
  • worked with the military during WWII.
  • was a wife and a mother.
  • was the only woman to work on the Boulder and Hoover Dams.
  • created missile guidance systems.
  • worked on submarines.

Awards

  • Woman Engineer of the Year
  • Achievement Award

Sources

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Women in History: Kathrine “K” Switzer

While her accomplishment was in sports, it was still a pretty significant accomplishment. It opened the door for women to be in races and run in all sorts of events everywhere. It was a significant breakthrough and one that should be celebrated.

She

  • was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with a number at age 20.
  • had an official try (unsuccessfully) to forcibly remove her from the Boston Marathon.
  • helped to get the Boston Marathon to allow women.
  • works to create opportunities for women in sports and to give women equal standing in sports.
  • helped get the women’s marathon recognized as an Olympic sport.
  • has run 35 marathons.
  • placed first in the New York City 1974 marathon.
  • had to run with men’s teams.
  • started the Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit.
  • is an author.
  • is a TV commenter.
  • is a wife.


Others said

  • “If any woman could do it, you could, but you would have to prove it to me. If you ran the distance in practice, I’d be the first to take you to Boston.” – Arnie Briggs
  • “Aw hell, kid, you can do it. You’re tough, you’ve trained, you’ll do great!” – Kathrine’s Dad
  • “Get the hell out of my race and give me that number!” – Jock Semple


She said

  • “It is important for me to finish the race.”
  • “Arnie, I’m not sure where you stand in this now. But no matter what, I have to finish this race. Even if you can’t, I have to–even on my hands and knees. If I don’t finish, people will say women can’t do it, and they will say I was just doing this for the publicity or something. So you need to do whatever you want to do, but I’m finishing.”
  • “Running in the marathon that day changed everything. From then on, I had a focus in life.”
  • “I thought other women weren’t interested in sports and I thought they didn’t get it. It wasn’t until after Jock tried to tackle me that I realized the reason other women weren’t there is that they hadn’t had the same opportunities that I’d had or the encouragement from their family, dad or coach.”
  • “Men are not better athletes than women. They are different athletes. Talent is everywhere; it’s just waiting for an opportunity.”


Awards

  • inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame
  • Runner of the Decade
  • Billie Jean King Award
  • Abebe Bikila Award
  • One of the Visionaries of the Century
  • Fred Lebow Award
  • inducted into the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame
  • Emmy Award
  • Honor Fellow
  • New York State Regents Medal of Excellence
  • Pioneer Award in Sports Management
  • Ambassador Award

Books (Note, I haven’t read these, I just found them)

She’s still alive and she has a blog if you’d like to read it.

You can find her on Linked In. Personally, I would love to connect with her and talk with her and if she ever finds this, I would love to connect with her on Linked In.

Sources

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Women in History: Jane Addams

She

  • founded the Hull House, which was the first (and best known) settlement house in the US.
  • was a sociologist.
  • was a philosopher.
  • was an author.
  • was a suffragist and a pacifist.
  • was the first woman from America (second woman overall) to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • traveled to Europe.
  • was a Christian.
  • helped start the Progressive Party.
  • was the first vice-president for the Playground Association of America.
  • was a charter member (and the most well-known woman member at the time) of the American Sociological Society.
  • was the national chairman of the Woman’s Peace Party.
  • was president of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (after serving, she would remain honorary president for her whole life).
  • worked for labor reform.
  • was a charter member for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • was vice-president for the National American Women Suffrage Association.
  • helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
  • served on Chicago’s Board of Education and within that chaired the School Management Committee.
  • helped found the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy.
  • was the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.
  • was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Yale.
  • read every book in her village library.
  • helped to form courts for juveniles.
  • was pro-life!
  • helped found the National Child Labor Committee.


Others said

  • “Miss Addams shines, so respectful of everyone’s views, so eager to understand and sympathize, so patient of anarchy and even ego, yet always there, strong, wise and in the lead. No ‘managing’, no keeping dark and bringing things subtly to pass, just a radiating wisdom and power of judgement.” – Emily Balch
  • “Jane Addams has been able to do more probably than any other living woman to popularize pacifism and to introduce radicalism into colleges, settlements, and respectable circles. The influence of her radical proteges, who consider Hull House their home center, reaches out all over the world.” – Elizabeth Dilling (and actually meant to be a criticism)
  • “Jane Addams is a woman of indomitable energy and persistence, of enthusiasm and adaptability; intellectually she is strong and possesses a keen sense of a humour. She is a slender, delicate, pink-cheeked woman with a face as fine as a cameo and a manner unassuming and attractive.” The Indianapolis Journal
  • “Miss Addams has been called “the greatest woman in the world,” the “mother of social service,” “the greatest woman internationalist” and the ‘first citizen of Chicago.'” – The New York Times
  • “In honoring Miss Addams we also pay homage to the work which women can do for the cause of peace and fraternity among nations. Miss Addams does not speak much, but her quiet, kind-hearted personality creates an atmosphere of good-will, which instinctively calls forth the best in all.” – Halfdan Kort
  • “I do not base her greatness on Hull House, important as that contribution is. Far more remarkable is the human trait of sticking to that project all her life. She made it a success. She stuck through when it was a success. That is a rare thing to do–to stick to a success.” – Carrie Chapman Catt

She said

  • “I am not one of those who believe – broadly speaking – that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.”
  • “It is good for a social worker to be an artist too.”
  • “We have all accepted bread from someone, at least until we were fourteen.”
  • “Talk of reprisal and aggression can only increase the spirit of bitterness.”

“As women we are the custodians of the life of the ages and we will no longer consent to its reckless destruction. We are particularly charged with the future of childhood, the care of the helpless and the unfortunate, and we will no longer endure without protest that added burden of maimed and invalid men and poverty-stricken women and orphans which war places on us.”

“Hundreds of poor laboring men and women are being thrown into jails and police stations because of their political beliefs. In fact, an attempt is being made to deport an entire political party.

These men and women, who in some respects are more American in ideals than the agents of the government who are tracking them down, are thrust into cells so crowded they cannot lie down.

And what is it these radicals seek? It is the right of free speech and free thought; nothing more than is guaranteed to them under the Constitution of the United States, but repudiated because of the war.

It is a dangerous situation we face at the present time, with the rule of the few overcoming the voice of the many. It is doubly dangerous because we are trying to suppress something upon which our very country was founded – liberty.

The cure for the spirit of unrest in this country is conciliation and education – not hysteria. Free speech is the greatest safety valve of our United States. Let us give these people a chance to explain their beliefs and desires. Let us end this suppression and spirit of intolerance which is making of America another autocracy.”

Awards

  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Honorary Degree from Yale
  • Took second in a poll by Independent (a magazine) titled “Who Was the Most Useful American”
  • M. Carey Thomas Prize

Books (Note, I haven’t read these, I just found them)

There is the Jane Addams Hull House Association.

There is the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.

There is the Jane Addams Hull-House  Museum.

There is the Jane Addams College of Social Work.

There is the Jane Addams Resource Corporation.

There is the Jane Addams Senior Caucus.

There is the Jane Addams Book Shop.

There is the Jane Addams School for Democracy.

There is the Jane Addams Recreation Trail.

There is a Jane Addams Memorial Park.

There are also elementary, middle, and high schools named after her.

Sources:

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Women in History: Genevieve Cline

She

  • was the first women federal judge.
  • served as a judge on the United States Customs Court.
  • was a chair for the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs committee on Legislative and State Institutions.
  • advocated both for women’s issues (more equal treatment under law and suffrage) and consumer protection.
  • was the  Cleveland Federation of Women’s Clubs’ president.
  • was the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs’ chairman.
  • was the first woman in charge of appraising goods for U.S. Customs Service.
  • lobbied in Columbus and in the nation’s capitol.

Others said

  • that she was a “brilliant and forceful speaker.” (Magazine article about her)

She said

  • “The law is a jealous mistress. It needs one’s whole allegiance.”
  •  “There is no gender in the law. No one ever says ‘man lawyer’ so why say ‘woman lawyer’?”

Books (Note, haven’t read them, just found them):

As you can see, I couldn’t find a lot out there on her, but I think she’s an important figure for being the first woman federal judge. Women like her paved the way for female Supreme Court Justices and other women in positions of power in the judicial system.

Sources

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Women in History: Fannie Lou Hamer

She

  • lived from 1917-1977.
  • was the youngest of 20.
  • was a Christian.
  • was pro-life! She considered abortion to be “legal murder.”
  • was a voting and civil rights activist.
  • played a huge role in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer.
  • was Vice-Chair for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
  • went to the National Democratic Convention to challenge the delegation from Mississippi.
  • was married.
  • was forcibly sterilized because she was a black woman. She was never told and never asked.
  • adopted two children with her husband.
  • after hearing Rev. James Bevel’s appeal that they should register to vote, she volunteered first despite knowing that a black woman registering to vote in the South could have horrible consequences.
  • was known for singing Christian hymns to the group of people she was with in order to keep morale high.
  • was sought out by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) because of her reputation.
  • was arrested for not complying with a whites only restaurant policy.
  • was beaten so badly in jail she almost died and she became permanently disabled.
  • lost her job as a sharecropper for her activism.
  • had death threats all the time.
  • was shot at.
  • continued despite these hardships.
  • ran for Congress twice.
  • criticized the Vietnam war.
  • has had compositions about her and in her honor composed.
  • was eventually able to register to vote and then helped others learn to pass the test that was an obstacle for voting.
  • sued the county for school desegregation.
  • helped start a Head Start program in her community.
  • helped to found the National Women’s Political Caucus.
  • worked as the SNCC Field Secretary.
  • helped form the Freedom Farms.
  • helped start a Pig Bank, a way of providing poor families with piglets.
  • testified in court on behalf of black, single mothers and helped them win rights to employment.

Others have said

  • “None of us would be where we are now had she not been there then.” – Andrew Young

“Mrs. Hamer always spoke from the heart. When she spoke at Atlantic City in front of the national TV, she spoke the same way, what you felt when she spoke and when she sang was someone who was opening up her soul and really telling you what she felt.  I think one of the most beautiful things about the movement in Mississippi was that it enabled a person like Mrs. Hamer to emerge.” – Bob Moses

She said

  • “I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared – but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they [white people] could do was kill me, and it seemed they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember.”
  • “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
  • “We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats, ’cause all of us is tired.”
  • “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
  • ”Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed.  But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.  I’m not backing off.”
  • “A white mother is no different from a black mother. The only thing is they haven’t had as many problems. But we cry the same tears.”
  • “With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful ’cause that’s what really happens.”
  • “Christ was a revolutionary person. That’s what God is all about, and that’s where I get my strength.”
  • “Christianity is being concerned about your fellow man, not building a million-dollar church while people are starving right around the corner.”
  • “We have to make it work. Ain’t nothing going to be handed to you on a silver platter, nothing. That’s not just black people, that’s people in general, masses. See, I’m with the masses…. You’ve got to fight. Every step of the way, you’ve got to fight.”
  • “I’m not going to try that thing. I got a black husband, six-feet-three, 240 pounds, with a 14 shoe, that I don’t want to be liberated from. But we are here to work side by side with this black man in trying to bring liberation to all people.”
  • “We still love these children. And after these babies are born we are not going to disband these children from our families … . I think these children have a right to live. And I think that these mothers have a right to support them in a decent way … . We are dealing with human beings.”
  • “No. What would I look like fighting for equality with the white man?  I don’t want to go down that low.  I want the true democracy that’ll raise me and that white man up… raise America up.”
  • “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.”

“All of this is on account we want to register [sic], to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings – in America?”

“Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people’s lives? Senator Humphrey, I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote. I had to leave the plantation where I worked in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take [the nomination] this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I’m going to pray to Jesus for you.”

“We have to realize just how grave the problem is in the United States today, and I think the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the eleventh and twelfth verses help us to know…what it is we are up against. It says, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ This is what I think about when I think of my own work in the fight for freedom.”

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

There is also the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy. (Note, I found two websites for it, so I’m not sure which is the real one/which is the most current.)

There is also a Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee.

There is also a Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, as Fannie did die of Breast Cancer.

Also, the Fannie Lou Hamer Statue Drive exists to try and get a full size statue of her in her hometown.

Sources:

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Shirin Ebadi

She

  • was born in Iran
  • used to be a judge and an attorney there.
  • works to better the lives of children and women in the Middle East.
  • has been imprisoned and tortured.
  • doesn’t let any of this stop her from doing what’s right.
  • was the 11th woman and the first person from Iran and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • did not have her acceptance speech broadcast in Iran (supposedly for not wearing a headscarf, but I think most people can figure out the real reason).
  • had her Nobel Peace Prize stolen by the government.
  • lives in exile.
  • was the first woman judge in Iran. (And then was removed, as women judges were later banned.)
  • established the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child, which promotes the principles in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • established the Defenders of Human Rights Center, which provides defense for people accused of political crimes, educates Iranians about human rights, and reports on the condition of human rights in Iran, despite constant struggles against the Iranian government.
  • has been critical of the US government.
  • is a wife.
  • is a mother to two daughters.
  • evaded at least two attempts on her life.
  • has written books.
  • helped draft a law against child abuse that was later passed.
  • helped found the Nobel Women’s Initiative.
  • started the Million Signatures Campaign to end legal discrimination against women in Iran.

Others have said

  • “As a lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist, she has spoken out clearly and strongly in her country, Iran, and far beyond its borders. She has stood up as a sound professional, a courageous person, and has never heeded the threats to her own safety.” – Nobel Peace Prize Committee
  • “Both in her research and as an activist, she is known for promoting peaceful, democratic solutions to serious problems in society. She takes an active part in the public debate and is well-known and admired by the general public in her country for her defence in court of victims of the conservative faction’s attack on freedom of speech and political freedom.” -Nobel Committee Profile
  • “the worst nightmare of Iran’s hardline clerics” (From an Article in The Guardian)

She said

  • They should ask for their rights, but they should do it peacefully. Obviously the regime wants people to be violent because it gives them an excuse to crack down. People must not give them that excuse.”
  • “A human being divested of all dignity, a human being deprived of human rights, a human being gripped by starvation, a human being beaten by famine, war and illness, a humiliated human being and a plundered human being is not in any position or state to recover the rights he or she has lost.”
  • “The worst solution is a military attack. Democracy is not merchandise to be exported to a country, democracy cannot be purchased and sent to another country.”
  • “The best thing that a student can do is study well — and then go back to Iran.”
  • “Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death, but I have learned to overcome my fear.”
  • “I compare my situation to a person on board a ship. When there is a shipwreck the passenger then falls in the ocean and has no choice but to keep swimming. What happened in our society was that the laws overturned every right that women had. I had no choice. I could not get tired, I could not lose hope. I cannot afford to do that.”
  • “Democracy is like a flower. You must water it daily and check the light if you want to keep it alive. You can’t pour a bucket of water in your flower pot and go back to it a month later.”
  • “If no one speaks out when a government violates human rights and uses oppression, this oppression continues. But when people are informed, they gradually become aware, and when they become aware, they begin to object. No change happens in society unless people become aware.”
  • “That’s when I felt that human rights were being neglected. … Undemocratic countries are more dangerous than a nuclear bomb. It’s undemocratic countries that jeopardise international peace.”
  • “I maintain that nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence.”
  • “When there is injustice to one people and there is no way of receiving justice and when several generations live under the poverty line and there is no hope for the improvement of their lives, they may forget their sanity because of hopelessness. And thus they may resort to violence.”

“Undoubtedly, my selection will be an inspiration to the masses of women who are striving to realize their rights, not only in Iran but throughout the region – rights taken away from them through the passage of history. This selection will make women in Iran, and much further afield, believe in themselves. Women constitute half of the population of every country. To disregard women and bar them from active participation in political, social, economic and cultural life would in fact be tantamount to depriving the entire population of every society of half its capability. The patriarchal culture and the discrimination against women, particularly in the Islamic countries, cannot continue for ever.”

“Whenever women protest and ask for their rights, they are silenced with the argument that the laws are justified under Islam. It is an unfounded argument. It is not Islam at fault, but rather the patriarchal culture that uses its own interpretations to justify whatever it wants. It utilizes psychology to say that women are emotional. It utilizes medical science to say that men’s brains are formed in such a way that they are better able to understand concepts. These are all hypotheses. None of this has been proven. Needless to say, the dominant culture is going to insist on an interpretation of religion that happens to favor men. Before the revolution, there were the first 100 female judges in Iran. I was one of them. After the 1979 revolution, they argued that women cannot be judges, and they made us all into peons in the ministry of justice. But women resisted. We wrote essays, held protests, and organized conferences to insist that women being judges was not incompatible with Islam. After twenty years, they finally accepted the argument and said, OK, women can be judges. So, as you can see, one day they interpret Islam in such a way that women cannot be judges and the next day they manage to reverse themselves.”

“How can you defy fear? Fear is a human instinct, just like hunger. Whether you like it or not, you become hungry. Similarly with fear. But I have learned to train myself to live with this fear. Every time I am fearful I think to myself, the reason they do this is to discourage me from doing what I do. Hence, if I discontinue my work I will have succumbed to my fears.”

“In my memoir, I wanted to introduce American women to Iranian women and our lives. I’m not from the highest echelons of society, nor the lowest. I’m a women who is a lawyer, who is a professor at a university, who won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, I cook. And even when I’m about to go to prison, one of the first things I do is to make enough food and put it in the fridge for my family.”

Awards

  • 2003 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Rafto prize
  • Voted 12th leading public intellectual in 2005
  • Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award
  • International Democracy Award
  • UCI Citizen Peacebuilding Award

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

I think that anyone who is willing to stand up for the rights of women and children in the face of such an oppressive regime should be hailed someone to look up to. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to stand up in a place like Iran, where you will face possible imprisonment and even potentially death.

Sources:

3 Comments »

Women in History: Lena Bryant

So, I have to say that there is not a lot of information about this woman out there. She is an entrepreneur, which I think successful women entrepreneurs do a lot for women too, even if their effect maybe isn’t as pronounced as someone who fought for suffrage. But they opened the doors for women to successfully run businesses today. And, in Lena Bryant’s case, she changed clothing manufacturing for the better.

She

  • started Lane Bryant.
  • was an immigrant.
  • was supposed to marry the man who paid for her to come to America, then refused and took a sewing job in a factory.
  • eventually married and had one son.
  • was widowed shortly after her son was born.
  • needed to find a way to support her young son.
  • took up selling her sewing out of her apartment.
  • eventually rented a store front on 5th Avenue that she lived in the back of.
  • made the first commercial maternity dress and it was a huge hit between women of all classes.
  • married again sometime after opening her storefront and went on to have three more kids with him.
  • had to overcome the fact that pregnancy was not mentioned in press, which made advertising this dress hard, but at one point she got it into a paper and the dress completely sold out one day after that.
  • created the first mail-order catalog to also help overcome this problem. They had one for maternity wear and one for plus-size wear.
  • also designed plus size clothing – another big seller and another first too. She was the first mass manufacturer of plus sized clothing.
  • measured 4,500 women and surveyed 200,000 women before designing her plus-size clothing to figure out what real women, not models, needed.
  • made 5 million dollars by 1923.
  • really cared about people. When any of her customers had been in any kind of natural disaster, she would work with the Red Cross to assist them by replacing their wardrobe.
  • also want to make sure her employees were taken care of, something unusual for the time. She provided for her employees above and beyond what was the norm. She offered medical benefits, life insurance, profit sharing, pensions, and disability insurance to her employees.

Additional fun fact: The name Lane Bryant comes from the bank misspelling her name.

So I hoped you learn a little more about someone who I feel like has a well known company, even if she herself is not that well known. I didn’t find much information on her to be honest. However, her company continues to be successful, even to today. And I think she’s important because look at everything she was able to do. She saw women’s needs and she met them. And sure, maybe it seems like a trivial need, but people need clothes to wear. And not only that, but she helped people. She put people before profits. And she wanted to make sure her employees were taken care of too.

Sources:

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Women in History: Jeannette Rankin

Let me introduce you to another woman. Jeannette Rankin. It’s a name I had never heard before a few days ago.

She

  • lived from 1880 – 1973.
  • graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.
  • was the first woman to speak in front of Montana’s legislature.
  • was the first woman in U.S. Congress.
  • was the first woman elected in a Western democracy to a national government body.
  • was a Republican
  • represented Montana – twice (once from 1917-1919, then again from 1941-1943).
  • lobbied Congress in between her two terms.
  • ran as an independent once in between to prove that she wasn’t being bribed to step down, even though she knew she would lose.
  • is the only woman to have ever represented Montana in Congress.
  • was a pacifist.
  • voted against entering both World War I, living out her pacifist beliefs.
  • was hated by the press for these votes and it lost her some support.
  • still supported the war effort anyway through Liberty Bonds.
  • was the only Congress member voting against entering World War II.
  • needed a police escort after that vote.
  • killed her own political career by standing so firm to her pacifist beliefs, but she stood her ground.
  • opposed the Korean War.
  • opposed the Vietnam War and let a march of the Jeannette Rankin Brigade on Washington to this effect.
  • almost ran again to work against the Vietnam War, but died before she had the chance.
  • introduced a bill to give women their own citizenship, apart from their husbands.
  • helped to get a Committee on Woman Suffrage started in Congress and was then made a part of it.
  • worked as a school teacher for a little while.
  • entered social work after she saw how people lived in the slums of Boston.
  • argued that by not allowing women to vote that they were being taxed without representation (sound familiar?).
  • wrote a weekly newspaper column.
  • worked, at one point, for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
  • was involved in the passage of women’s suffrage in Montana.
  • was elected before the 19th amendment passed.
  • attempted to get funding for health clinics, midwife education (awesome!), and visiting nurse programs.
  • wanted to reduce infant mortality, reduce maternal mortality, see prohibition enacted, and end child labor.
  • campaigned for and helped to get the following bills passed the Child Labour Amendment, Independent Citizenship, and the Maternity and Infancy Protection Act.
  • was the first person who introduced the GI Bill.
  • was a founding member of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
  • was accused of being a communist.
  • founded the Georgia Peace Society.
  • travelled to India seven times.
  • subscribed to Ghandi’s philosophy of non-violence.
  • was awarded the The World’s Outstanding Living Feminist.
  • formed the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, a non-profit that gives scholarships to low-income women to further their education, with the money from her property after her death.
  • has a statue in the United State’s Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Others’ remarks

She said

I knew that we were asked to vote for a commercial war, that none of the idealistic hopes would be carried out, and I was aware of the falseness of much of the propaganda. It was easy to stand against the pressure of the militarists, but very difficult to go against the friends and dear ones who felt that I was making a needless sacrifice by voting against the war, since my vote would not be a decisive one…. I said I would listen to those who wanted war and would not vote until the last opportunity and if I could see any reason for going to war I would change it. (Gale – Free Resources – Women’s History – Biographies – Jeannette Rankin)

The peace problem is a woman’s problem. Disarmament will not be won without their aid. So long as they shirk…something will be radically wanting in the peace activities of the public and the state…I am aware that men are disposed to look down on the temperamental pacifism of women (which in spite of all the exceptions is a psychological fact) as something that the manly man would scorn to imitate. However, there is no other way that I can see in which peace can be realized except through forbearance from fighting on the part of men as well as women…Therefore peace is a woman’s job. (Peace is a Woman’s Job: Who Was Jeanette Rankin, History and Bio)

American mothers’ sons have died on foreign battlefields to support profiteers in their luxury living. All the businesses that engage in war profiteering should be made to pay each employee, owner, director, trustee or what have you, the minimum soldier’s wage. And everyone should be given a tin cup and a bread card and subsist on the same food the soldier does. The same goes for the President and all the representatives in Congress, and they should also be given the honor of carrying the flag in battle so they can feel they’re doing their bit. (Jeannette Rankin, Suffragist and Pacifist: She Speaks for Me by Jeanmarie Simpson)

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

You can learn more about the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and the scholarships they offer at this website.

If you believe in peace and want to continue to work, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center was founded in her honor and memory.

The United States Institute for Peace also has a Jeannette Rankin Library Program.

I think what she did is very important because without her, it’s likely that many of the elected women we see today would not be in office. As it is, Congress doesn’t have enough women, but they had to start somewhere. I think Jeannette did a fine job for being the first.

Sources:

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