Writing Women Back into History

I cannot believe I failed to honor International Women’s Day yesterday.  Luckily, it’s Women’s History Month too.  I just learned about the National Women’s History Project, and their theme this year is Writing Women Back into History.  Love it!

Not only have women been written out of history – a favorite of mine is Jane Addams, a very note-worthy woman most never hear of at all – but we also tend to either de-value our own contributions to our world or to humbly soldier on without recognition.

Skirts worn by some of the strongest, coolest women I know

Now, I hate recognition for its own sake, personally.  I don’t like awards, and prefer a simple thank you, but the problem with that is that some of us crave recognition (and there’s nothing wrong with that at all!), and through the process of recognition, we inspire others.   And THAT is what makes this world go ’round, when each of us sets out to lift others up and make our own corner of the universe a little better than it was before us.

Interesting that this post comes a few hours before the firehouse’s annual meeting, where a whole year’s worth of awards will be presented tonight. 

A teacher and two nurses, three of my inspiring relatives

I adore Laurel Thatcher Ulrich‘s quote, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”   I’m pretty sure everyone who had a hand in raising me would grin and nod along.  I wasn’t a BAD girl…  I never skipped school, never even got sent to detention, but I was a challenge.  Heck, even several of  my officers in the fire service would find that quote fitting…

What women inspire you?  Is there someone in your history traditions who doesn’t get the press she should?

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18 comments on “Writing Women Back into History

  1. Grace says:

    I am more the everyday woman supporter then the historical although I do have a soft spot for Eleanor Roosevelt. I had a neighbor Nancy Kilhaney growing up I wanted to be just like her, she was a stay at home mom who cooked and cleaned and took care of her husband her dad her 5 children and sewed and crafted and always smiled. She was one of my hero’s My Aunt Elaine—she gave birth to 5 living children one died at age 4 of leukemia, 3 more had cystic fibrosis, the last one dying one week after my mother in 1994, then 2 years later she was gone with ovarian cancer. She took care of those girls, she was involved in her community and her church and she was an inspiration to me always. There have been others also, but those 2 ladies are my heros!

  2. jen says:

    Jane is all over chicago! And the hull house isn’t far from nat’s neighborhood, they are supposed to be restoring the hull house. 😀 she even has an expressway named after her here

  3. Marjie says:

    So, this explains your comment on my garden post about my Grammy! Yes, she was a legend all by herself! As for your quote? Well, my own mother would have said of me 31 years ago that I was a fiery tempered, cold hearted b***h with ice water running through my veins. I call it rational. It has served me well. And my grandmother? Well, on her deathbed, she told me I had style, regardless of what anyone else said, and I should wear cabbage roses sometimes. So, there you go: wear cabbage roses!

  4. Blond Duck says:

    I think we should recongize more women in our community, not just writers and artists but nurses and teachers and mothers. There are so many women who do inspirational things and never get any notice…

  5. gaylen says:

    Loved Marjie’s comment. Cabbage roses indeed!

    I don’t know that any woman inspire me – although I strive to be better than my mother was at raising kids. I guess it’s an inspiration of sorts. 😦 g

  6. AlisonH says:

    I have a grandmother whom I never got to know before she died, who, despite having rheumatoid arthritis, headed the county Red Cross chapter knitting for the troops and with all three of her sons off to war, knitted twelve hours a day, feeling like if she just worked hard enough at it her sons would come sooner and safely.

    They all made it back home.

  7. Bubblesknits says:

    My maternal grandmother. She was such a kind-hearted, giving woman. She always felt every single person was deserving of kindness, no matter their color, religion, or personal choices. When my grandfather had his first heart attack and was brain damaged, she started working and caring for the both of them. She’d never worked outside of the home before (except for catering weddings), but she rolled up her sleeves and managed. I remember how tired she was, but she hardly ever complained. I miss that woman so much. She passed when I was 12 or so, but the inspiration she gave others is still living strong.

  8. Julie says:

    My mom was and continues to be a great inspiration to me. When my brother and I were young in the early and mid sixties, Mom decided to go back to work. Even though we were not Catholic, we lived in a mostly Catholic neighborhood with the church right down the street. Mom was one of the first ladies to go to work, though she found a way to still make cookies for bake sales, costumes for Halloween (the best costumes!) and turn out wonderful parties. Now at 72 she is working two jobs and has more energy than I have. Mom Is creative and giving and one person I can count on. Love you, Ma!

  9. Julie says:

    Where was that first picture taken?

  10. anniebananie says:

    Women who currently inspire me or have inspired me:

    My mother
    My grandmothers
    My friends
    My daughter
    Uppity women
    My sisters
    My cousin Lynn
    My cousin Francee

    It’s a small sphere, but it’s meaningful to me.

  11. nichole says:

    My Nana… enough said! 🙂

    Wonderful post!!!

  12. Sue says:

    I’m having a tough time with this one. During the genealogical research women don’t get mentioned much. Everything is done through the male line.

    When I was growing up I wanted to be a vet. No one in my family encouraged me. I had a high school biology teacher who was the only one that supported my dream. He was male. It’s probably the reason I’m not a vet today.

    My grandfather’s oldest sister was someone I admired a lot. She was a portrait artist until she began losing her sight. She also divorced an abusive husband and lived with a man she wasn’t married to for many years until he died. That wasn’t acceptable back then. She seemed to live life by her own rules and I liked that.

  13. Kathy says:

    There are many women in my life who have had a hand in shaping and molding lil ole me. 🙂 My great-grandmothers (who have only been gone about 15 yrs) and my grandmothers are just a few.
    I’m afraid I’m going to step out of the box and honor my friends who have unknownly filled those shoes and now give me strength and encouragement.
    And one of those is the author of this lovely post :).

  14. Anita says:

    You inspire me! 🙂

  15. kathy b says:

    I was just talking to my Jewish neighbor about my all girl Catholic High school nuns. They were Daughters of Charity and they knew how to teach young women to believe in themselves. Amazing from a group of women the Church represses and treats as subordinates. Yet they got us all believing our thoughts and our actions made a difference. They are unsung heroes.

  16. Mary says:

    I would have to say my mother influenced me the most. She was British; born in London in 1909 and live until she was 90. As a young girl, she said she complained endlessly to her father that as a female she didn’t have the same opportunities as men, yet she worked from the age of 14 to help support her family. In WWII, she was ambulance driver in London during the Blitz and held a second job during that period as a “trunk” (long distance) operator working the bowels of Westminster. She met and married my U.S. born father (a war bride) when she was in her late 30s and dedicated her life to her family from that point on. We moved many times as an Air Force family, but my mother made it all happen seamlessly with a great attitude and a spirit of adventure. On top of that, she was well-read, especially interested in history, and was an extremely gifted seamstress and knitter. Hard to believe she would have been 100 last year. An extraordinary woman.

  17. Abby says:

    The women who flew planes and worked in the factories during World War II have always inspired me. It’s nice to see Congress recognize them, at long last.

  18. Mr Puffy says:

    Never sent to detention or skipped class! Ah, but then you didn’t have the beach to tempt you. Don’t know if I ever mentioned that I dropped out of high school….

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