Topics trending on International Women’s Day included Megan Markle and the Oprah Interview, and that’s it. Wait! What? It’s only three o’clock CST, and International women’s Day isn’t even trending on Twitter? Nada! What the hell? Are there not enough notable women to continue trending? Or are those initiating the trends primarily male? Are we not a vital, consequential part of social media? Of our community? Our Country? The world? Look at the House, the Senate, our government; we are still a minority and, an inconsequential part of the decision-making process. I’ve researched the ratio between men and women, the United States versus the world, and women have a higher percentage in the populace than men; this trend is predicted to continue. However, our presence in decision-making positions falls to single digits compared to men. This must change.
With the inauguration of the first female vice-president, it is a beginning. A hundred years from now, I hope is not an event, but commonplace. For now, I’ll regale you with a few courageous women of our past.
Notable female trailblazers!
Mary Shelley, a pioneering female author who wrote Frankenstein in 1818. Mary’s mother died shortly after she was born. However, Mary Wollstonecraft is an author and considered the first feminist with her pamphlet, The Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792. Fighting for rights in the 1700s. Her mother Mary W is proud, I’m sure.
Jane Austen has a new following thanks in part to modern-romance movie adaptations of her novels. Wikipedia defines her “as the very definition of the romance author”. Born in 1755 and died in 1817.
Edith Wharton changed literature and history when she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921 for her novel, The Age of Innocence.
As a female author, I admire their works, the paths they walked in a man’s world. Unfortunately, we have a lot of work left to do – here’s an example: I use my maiden name Kolin and dropped Lori because women read books by everyone; men tend not to buy books written by women. Shame of them or shame on me?
NYPD Police Officer Isabella Goodwin 1881
The New York City police department hired women as police matrons to look after female and child prisoners in 1881. When Goodwin applied for a job with the NYPD after her husband died, Theodore Roosevelt hired her while the NYC Police Commissioner who later became President. Although she made only $1000 a year and had one day off a month, she did this for fifteen years. In 1912, a case involving a midday robbery where “taxi bandits” beat up two clerks and stole $25,000 in downtown Manhattan. Today, that’s 688,373.68. Even with 60 detectives (men) assigned to the case, no one solved the robbery. According to a New York Times article at the time, the story made national headlines and had a following across our country without social media. After going undercover, Goodwin cracked the case. Appointed as New York’s first female detective and given the rank of 1st-grade lieutenant and a raise from $1000 to $2,250/year. During her career, she specialized in exposing fortune-tellers and swindlers.
*Facts taken in part from Wikipedia.
The first female American astronaut in space was Sally Ride in 1983. She was a NASA physicist and the third woman in space, after two Russians, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, and Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya. We cannot overlook the importance of NASA mathemetician Katherine Johnson. She was a pioneering woman of color stepping out of the darkness for her place in history. My father had a deep love of the space program and the ocean, both of which are eerily similar, in my honest opinion. I, too, find myself drawn to both and can’t tell you why; is it the adventure, the discovery of what no person has experienced? I cannot say. If I thought the opportunity to explore options outside of secretarial was open to me, I would have traveled another road to success. In the seventies, women learned to type and operate business machines while men were encouraged to prepare for college. Things are better, but we have so far to go.
Suffrage: “The right to vote in political elections.”
The word itself brings to mind suffering. No say, no voice, unable to make a difference even though we were affected by our government’s law change. For my article’s purposes, we will honor and note those women who made it possible for the female population to vote of which, Tennessee was pivotal. As the 36th state to ratify the amendment, it allowed women in the United States twenty-one-years or older the right to vote. I can be proud of my state for this privilege. Should you find an opportunity to visit Nashville, please visit Centennial Park. Don’t miss the Woman’s Suffrage monument to the fearless women who ratified the 19th amendment.
My final thoughts:
In closing, thank you, courageous women, whose determination paved new roads of exploration against all odds. I hope you rest in peace as others accept the mantle to fight the good fight.
As always, thanks for stopping by my site.
See you in the bookstores! ~Kolin