International Women’s Day- March 8th, 2010

So, on my way to class this morning, I was listening to the morning radio show and learned that today is International Women’s Day. It was initially established for women to campaign for better wages, the right to vote, etc. back in 1910. It’s strange to think about a time where a day dedicated to someone or something was started for a cause and is now recognized as a day to reflect on what all that group has done. To acknowledge all of their accomplishments.

I, for one, am quite proud of being a woman. I love that I can wear skirts and pants. I have Elizabeth Smith Miller, Amelia Jenks Bloomer (who started ‘bloomers’), and Frannie Wright to thank for that, being that these 3 are credited with starting that whole fashion trend in the early 1800’s in an attempt to aid woman’s rights. I also love that even today, it’s still a common understanding (though inaccurate) that men perform better than women in the workplace and the liking- which makes it all the more satisfying when I grind some guys work into the ground with my own. However, I don’t think that women rank higher than men, only equal potential. It’s only been the past 120 years or so that woman, as a whole, have even begun to stand head-to-head with our male counterparts- we got a late start in the game of history, but I feel that we have quickly made up for lost time.

Women like Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony made much of the Underground Railroad a success story for many of the slaves running for freedom. Amelia Earhart showed that the sky is no longer the limit for feminist aspirations. There’s Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton- all who had major roles in progressive works towards women’s rights in some way. And despite what many people believe about Hillary Clinton being the first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull Blood Martin (yes, she had 3 marriages- scandalous right?) actually ran in 1870, 50 years before women could even vote, yet there were African-American men sitting in on Congress and several State Legislatures- which I find odd, but a man’s a man I guess.

Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lucile Dupin (aka Georges Sand) blazed trails in historic literature. Sofonishba Anugissola was the first female to be acknowledges as a painter in 1559. Clara Schumann (wife of the more well known Robert Schumann) and Fanny Mendelssohn (sister of Felix Mendelssohn) were both greatly talented in musical composition like their male relatives. Yet, in all my years of piano study, I’ve never heard of them- new life goal: learn their pieces!

Women like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett helped pave the way for female comedians- while Sheila E made a name for chicks that rock (a personal fav of mine)

Another favorite group of woman claiming stake on part of the world are architects (duh). Eileen Gray’s work actually captured the eye of her archi-god, Le Corbusier (he ended up breaking into her home one night, which she designed, and painted an inappropriate mural on a large wall of her and her ex- he felt it lacked some color)- she wasn’t fond of his suggestion. Zaha Hadid is currently the most well-known female architect in today’s world.

So, in the end- there are many woman- tons more that I can’t continue to mention- that have made their mark on this world and changed the way society, of both men and women, view the female’s capabilities. For step one will always be getting the woman to see herself as something more than a housewife. Not to downplay the importance of that role, but to make her understand that she doesn’t have to stop there- that she has the potential for more. Nowadays more stay-at-home-women/moms are home-schooling their children, or have their own business run out of the house- or they are active in the arts- I think the ‘output’ part of our minds are important and that we need to exercise it constantly.

I say thanks to all the women before me who gave speeches to thousands or to one, who put their foot down, who said I am worth more than this- for if it wasn’t for them I would not be who I am today, nor who I will be tomorrow. I can only hope that I have the opportunity to have my own ‘stand my ground for what I believe in’ moment- even if it just affects my immediate surroundings.

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