“Unlike the American revolution, which began with the “shot heard round the world,” the rebellion of Seneca Falls — steeped in moral conviction and rooted in the abolitionist movement — dropped like a stone in the middle of a placid lake, causing ripples of change. No governments were overthrown, no lives were lost in bloody battles, no single enemy was identified and vanquished. The disputed territory was the human heart and the contest played itself out in every American institution: our homes, our churches, our schools, and ultimately in the provinces of power.”
Geraldine Ferraro, 1935-2011
Women’s History Month could not be wrapped up more perfectly than celebrating Ms. Geraldine Ferraro’s legacy. Ferraro was a champion of women, fighting endlessly to improve the lives and increase legal rights for women. She became the first woman to be nominated for vice president when Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate in 1984. Although they didn’t win, Ferraro saw the good in running for office, stating, “Every time a woman runs, women win” (although Palin and Bachmann may have ruined that). Later, when she was helping Hillary Clinton run for office in 2008, she didn’t shy away from the issues of race and gender that inevitably became a part of the Democratic primaries – her comments were repudiated and she stepped down, but she did not take them back. President Obama summed up Ferraro’s work perfectly in saying, “Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life.”
Geraldine Ferraro: V.P. candidate inspired a generation of women
In honor of Geraldine Ferraro’s lifelong work for the rights of women, let us remember and embrace:
“We’ve chosen the path to equality; don’t let them turn us around.”
“Woman’s ability to earn money is better protection against the tyranny and brutality of men than her ability to vote.”
Photo: McHenry County Turning Point
My woman of honor this week might be a little less familiar to you, but Ms. Victoria Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee, became the first women to establish a banking and brokerage firm on Wall Street called Woodhull, Claflin & Company around 1870. It should be noted that this was a time when women were expected to be managing money from the home, not in a bank. This was a huge step in the women rights movement. But this was just the first step. In 1870, Victoria decided to run for presidency – the first woman in U.S. history to do so. Obviously, she didn’t win, and considering that she supported ideas such as free love when women weren’t even allowed to vote, that’s not too surprising. Victoria didn’t let that stop her. In 1871, she became the first woman to deliver a memorial to the House Judiciary Committee – about women suffrage. The leaders of the Women Suffrage Movement were so impressed that they asked her to speak at their convention – the following day. The speech Victoria delivered at the convention catapulted her into suffrage leadership – in fact, she became known in newspapers as “the ablest advocate on Women Suffrage.”
Unfortunately, having that much sway in such a tumultuous time meant that she had powerful enemies, and these enemies didn’t stop until they had taken Victoria out of the game. Victoria was cornered during a speech at Steinway Hall, where she was badgered into sharing that she was a free lover, which turned the crowd against her. Things went downhill from there, but Victoria remains a champion of women rights to me. She proclaimed that women should be free to love whomever they choose, emphasizing the injustice of shaming women for doing what men do without consequence. That’s my kind of lady.
Read more about Victoria Woodhull:
“Women must rise from their position as ministers to the passions of men to be their equals. Their entire system of education must be changed. They must be trained like men, [to be] independent individuals, and not mere appendages or adjuncts of men, forming but one member of society. They must be the companions of men from choice, never from necessity.”
This has always been a man’s world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate.
Photo: Cultural and Critical Theory Library
Simone de Beauvoir’s works have fascinated me for years. Although I’m not a philosopher, I am interested in sociology and the way certain people have stood out during their time in history – and Beauvoir certainly did that. Beauvoir was an existentialist in the 1900s and wrote prolifically on philosophy, politics, and social issues. One of her most well-known works, The Second Sex, published in 1949, detailed women’s oppression and remains a foundational work of contemporary feminism. According to Trinity College, the treatise was “the definitive declaration of women’s independence.” She is certainly a woman to celebrate.
Read more about Simone de Beauvoir: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauvoir/
One is not born a woman, one becomes one.
As we all know, March is Women’s History Month. In honor of women worldwide, we’re going to post about historical women throughout this month.
“The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it.”
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
To start the celebration, Id like to honor Ms. Susan B. Anthony. I won’t always post about someone as well-known as Ms. Anthony, but I felt like she was an ideal start to our month-long celebration. She dedicated her life to the women’s suffrage movement. She and fellow suffragist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, worked for 50 years to push the suffrage movement, and their actions paved the way to the 19th Amendment in 1920. She’s a hero!
“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball — the further I am rolled the more I gain.”