Saturday, April 29, 2017
On April 19th 1967, one woman took a stand for equal rights. Her name was Katherine Switzer. She was the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon. (Bobbi Gibb ran the race in 1966 and 1967, but these were an unofficial runs as she was not issued a number.) Katherine Switzer paid her fee and registered under her initials. She was issued a number and managed to avoid the medical exam given before the race. http://now.howstuffworks.com/2017/04/19/50-year-anniversary-kathrine-switzer-boston-marathon At one point in the race, she was accosted by a Boston Marathon official as he attempted to remove her number and physically remove her from the race. She fought him off with the help of her boyfriend and other friends that were also in the race. The photo of this attack is iconic. How far have women come in the fight to have equal rights? A simple athletic event was denied to an entire section of society because of their sex. All of the things that women in the United States today take for granted, came at a high price to the ladies of generations past. Susan B. Anthony was a pioneer in the quest for women to have the vote. She was not treated well for her sacrifices. She was ridiculed by society and accused of trying to destroy the institute of marriage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony Anthony was born a Quaker. The Quaker society was committed to social equality. Her efforts to win the vote for women put her at odds with the law in 1872 when she voted in an election in Rochester N.Y. when she was arrested. Her efforts, along with many others who made extreme sacrifices for the sake of winning the right to vote, resulted in the 19th amendment to the Constitution. This amendment finally gave women the right to vote. Margaret Sanger was another woman who fought for women’s reproductive rights, even if some of her philosophy cannot be agreed with at times. As a nurse, she had seen many women die in childbirth and in botched self-administered abortions. She was an advocate for birth control, a phrase she originated, and for family limitation. She also ran afoul of the law for distributing literature on birth control and family planning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger Another pioneer in the quest for women’s rights was Lillian Moller Gilbreth. She is perhaps better known as the mother to twelve children in the semi-autobiographical novel by Frank Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Cheaper by the Dozen. Despite her large brood of children, Gilbreth is considered the Mother of Modern Management. https://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/gilbreth.html Along with her husband Frank Gilbreth Sr., who was a fanatic and expert in time management, they founded many modern techniques for industry that are still used today. Her ideas about the psychology of time management and the workplace are the corner stone of today’s company policies. When one looks at the remarkable achievements and sacrifices of a few of the ladies of yesteryear, the most recent “Women’s March” in January looks like a three year old temper tantrum fest. Ashley Judd and Madonna made outlandish statements of irrational spew, and others worried that their “rights” were being taken away by the new administration showing their true ignorance. The female forebears of women’s equality quietly quested for equal footing. They bore the brunt and ire of a male oriented society and they defied convention. They didn’t whine, or blame others, they did what was necessary to accomplish their goals. Today’s women take for granted all the advantages that these woman struggled for in their lifetimes. Those who believe that their lives are not fair, should take some time to study history. Women have come down a very long road to the ability to do and live independently and to their own liking. Too bad the sacrifices of these extraordinary women from the past have been adulterated by those who cannot or will not appreciate them. This article was featured on the ClashDaily.com online. The only difference is they edited out the part about Margaret Sanger. Many may feel Margaret Sanger had some harsh rhetoric that is often hard to get behind. I don't always agree with her, but we cannot discount her contribution to the reproductive rights of women in a time when women had zero control over how many children they bore.