Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Am Woman Hear Me Roar

March is Women's History Month and to celebrate i've done some homework on a small handful of the extraordinary women that have shaped the world we live in. The snip-its you can read below are some of the women who have inspired me in my journey and continue to do so.

Rosie the Riveter

She symbolized women's contribution to the war effort. Real-life Rosies filled factory positions while men were away (the number of American working women grew by 50 percent in four years), proving that we could excel at a "man's job."

Eleanor Roosevelt

FDR's helpmate, national reassurer during WW II, friend to working women and the downtrodden, battler against injustice, she overcame intense shyness to become a supremely public person.

Dorothy Day
1897 - 1980
She cofounded the Catholic Worker movement, a global community of laypeople who choose to live simply and express their faith by serving the poor.

Clara Barton
1821 - 1912
She was a schoolteacher who was willing to teach children without pay. When she was a Civil War nurse she was the need to help once again. She gave speeches and talked to people in the government. After eight years of hard work she formed the American Red Cross and served as its president for 23 years. Within that time, she branched out to help not just soliders but others that needed help when floods, earthquakes, and other disasters occurred.

Anne Frank
She dreamed of being remembered as a writer — and her words have had a life she couldn't have imagined when she died in a concentration camp at the age of 15. Her diary, written as she and her family hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic, reminds us of both the Holocaust's unspeakable inhumanity and the child who somehow managed to say, "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Georgia O'Keeffe
"I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me," she said. She broke with tradition so we could see a new kind of beauty through her fresh eyes.

Mary Kay Ash
She empowered and enriched thousands of women who otherwise might never have gotten a crack at self-sufficiency.

Martha Matilda Harper
1857 - 1950
A former servant girl, she thought up retail franchising in 1891 to build her network of more than 500 hair salons, owned by women she trained. She also invented the reclining shampoo chair.

Martha Stewart
The founder of a retail and media business empire that includes her eponymous magazine, Stewart is a paradigm shifter: Because of her, we'll never look at dinner, decorating, or gardening the same way again.

Coco Chanel
Her personal life was complicated, her design credo simple and elegant: "Fashion fades; only style remains the same," she said. Merci for the little black dress, the classy suit, No. 5, and plenty of je ne sais quoi.

Dorothy Draper

Founder of America's first interior design firm, Draper — for years a GH columnist, crashed a male dominated business with breezy confidence, urging women to trust themselves and have fun for cheap. "Style has nothing to do with expense," she said.

Julia Morgan

She designed Hearst Castle, among other imaginative buildings, and opened doors by hiring women as artists and architects.

Amelia Earhart
1897 - 1937
The first woman to fly across the Atlantic tragically disappeared in 1937 on what was meant to be a globe-circling flight. She accomplished a larger mission, dramatically expanding the world's notions of how high a woman can soar.

Wangari Maathai
The first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Maathai was beaten and jailed as a leader of Kenya's democracy movement. She rallies women to plant trees (more than 45 million so far, in Africa, America, and elsewhere), thus creating jobs for the poor, fighting deforestation and erosion, and creating lots of nice oxygen for all of us. She also picked up a Masters degree before returning to Nairobi, Kenya to become East Africa’s first lady PhD.

As I'm researching women in history, the information that I keep surprising myself with, is the fact that these "first's" for women took place not that long ago...and "first's" are still taking place today. (and in many parts of the world, have not even taken place yet!)
As a 25 year old, woman, college grad, entrepreneur; it never crossed my mind that "i couldn't do what i envisioned for my life" or that "i wasn't aloud to achieve a dreams or goals". So thank you women in history, you have not only created a path for women like me but you have also been an inspiration. Nobody gave them power. They just took it.

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