My friend Matt runs a website and seminar called the The Hero Workshop and I was intriqued by one of the women he had on there for his "Thirty Days of Heroes" in celebration of NaBloPoMo. (Check out the post for Aung San Suu Kyi)
So that got me thinking about all the other women heroes that go completely unsung. I have never particularly liked history; however, I've always prided myself on being a strong, independent woman. And frankly, I couldn't be as strong and independent as I am today without the work of so many amazing women before me. Having a daughter now, I'd like her to know that the world is her oyster, excuse the cliche. I want her to feel empowered and what a better way than reading and learning about some of the most empowering women in history?
So I went to google. We all know the stories of Helen Keller, Ann Frank, and Rosa Parks. But there are hundreds of women who have done some AMAZING things for not only women and children but our global community as a whole. I stumbled upon Decade by Decade of Influential Women by Discovery. Wow.
One of the first women that stood out to me was Mary McLeod Bethune. (1875-1955). Her parents were slaves and yet she triumphed above those odds to become a teacher and social reformer who, in 1904, helped develop a school solely for the betterment of young African-American women. Working as an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the National Youth Administration she was really a pioneer of sorts. Delving into politics and schooling at a time when it was standard for women to be at home raising the children. She worked diligently to improve race relations and opportunities for young African Americans, along the way she founded the National Council of Negro Women "to advance opportunities and the quality of life for African American women, their families, and communities."
It always strikes me amazing when people rise above their class, hard times, or upbringing to be a leader in a world that didn't readily accept women leaders. And especially black women leaders at that. One of the things that really caught my eye about this woman was one of her quotes:
"I leave you love, I leave you hope. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. I leave you respect for the use of power. I leave you faith. I leave you racial dignity."
If you remove the last line regarding racial dignity, you have a quote that resonates strongly throughout my life. Love. Hope. Developing confidence in one another. Respect for the use of power. Faith.
Those are the attributes that I hope to leave my children with.
2 hours ago