In honor of Women's History Month and the theme: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment, I wanted to briefly highlight some historical female figures. Some may sound familiar and some may not, but each are inspirational in their own way. For more information please refer to www.biography.com.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or representation."
– Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams was best known as the wife of John Adams, the First Lady and was known to be extremely opinionated and passionate. Some jokingly called her "Mr. President". Although she was away from John Adams for years at a time, she confidently and faithfully encouraged him in his role of creating the Declaration of independence. Throughout President John Adams’ career, Abigail Adams, served as an unofficial adviser to him, and their letters show him seeking her counsel on many issues, including his presidential aspirations. Adams remained a supportive spouse and confidante after her husband became the president in 1797, and her eldest son, John Quincy, would become president 7 years after her death in 1825.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
"I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their service as workers, not as women."
– Susan B. Anthony
Born on February 15, 1820, Susan B. Anthony was raised in a Quaker household and went on to work as a teacher before becoming a leading figure in the abolitionist and women's voting rights movement. She partnered with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and would eventually lead the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She was a great inspirational leader that rallied thousands of people. In 1872 she was arrested for voting because she was a woman. Her trial consisted of all men and she was not allowed to speak in her defense. She was fined $100, which she never paid. She paved the way for women's rights. A dedicated writer and lecturer, Anthony died on March 13 1906.
Nellie Bly aka "Pinky" (1864-1922)
"Energy rightly applied can accomplish anything."
- Nellie Bly
Born Elizabeth Cochran on May 5, 1864, in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania, journalist Nellie Bly began writing for The Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885. Two years later, Bly moved to New York City and began working for the New York World. In conjunction with one of her first assignments for the World, she spent 10 days at Bellevue Hospital, posing as a mental patient for an exposé. In 1890, the paper sent her on a trip around the world in a record-setting 72 days. Bly died on January 27,1922, at age 57, in New York City.
Amelia Earhart (1897- 1939)
"I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."
Aviator Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. In 1923, Earhart, fondly known as "Lady Lindy," became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license. She had several notable flights, becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, as well as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator. Since then, several theories have formed regarding Earhart's last days, many of which have been connected to various artifacts that have been found on Pacific islands—including clothing, tools and, more recently, freckle cream. Earhart was legally declared dead in 1939.
Zora Neale Hurston
"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
-Nora Neale Hurston
Born in Alabama on January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston spent her early adulthood studying at various universities and collecting folklore from the South, the Caribbean and Latin America. She published her findings in Mules and Men. Hurston was a fixture of the Harlem Renaissance, rubbing shoulders with many of its famous writers. In 1937, she published her masterwork of fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston died in Florida in 1960.
I absolutely love Women's History Month. It is a wonderful time to reflect on the power and attributes women possess and learn how we can be movers and shakers in society. Each of the women listed above had her own uniqueness and beauty about her. But they all had one thing in common, character, courage and commitment. Let's emulate these qualities as women in the workforce.