International Women’s Day: It may be a surprise to some that women of the past often hid behind a man for any ambition that they may have had. Did you know the following?
George Elliot was not really a George, but a Mary Ann Evans. Known for her writing such books as Silas Marner, she hid behind another name…a male name. In the nineteenth century, women writers often used male pen-names so that reviewers wouldn’t be prejudiced against them as women. Charlotte and Emily Bronte published under the names Currer and Ellis Bell, and the famous French novelist George Sand was also a woman, Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin.
Prejudiced? Yes, we have our prejudices…and women have had to fight that battle for a very long time. It may seem strange to our young people today when they see women holding signs up about equal pay. It hasn’t been long in this country that women fought to simply vote. We might ask how many did not use that right and privilege in our past election?
We ride on the backs of those who have gone before us. What a shame to let them down. Minority women …and men…also fight the battle of prejudice. Recently, I heard the term “white privilege” and if people felt guilty because they just happened to be born white. The person being asked this question looked puzzled and did not know what to say to the interviewer. If they had been thinking quickly, they might have answered something to the effect…”What country are we speaking of in relationship to white privilege?” It certainly depends on the country that has the majority of people. Most likely there would be “black privilege” in most African countries as far as jobs etc. We know that there is prejudice when one is the minority in certain countries to the religion that they follow. In nations with the majority are Muslims, the Christian or the Jew may be the target, of not only discrimination, but life-threatening attitudes on being infidels. People with the same religion may be targets of another brand of their same religion. So it goes on and on…the prejudice that is felt around the world for one thing or another. Gender is no exception.
Here are a few women who have stood out in history, not hiding, but making their voices heard when many were fearful to do so. (Slide show)
Today, I would like to salute the women of the world for without you there would be no world. You give birth and through you…the generations follow. You, in most cases, cook the food that goes on the table, often after a hard days work. When there is a need to help the others in your household support the family, you pitch in and often save the day. You are smart…ambitious to do your best…and you are to be commended.
Times have changed and in many ways we are better for it. In other areas of life, we are still finding our way out of the sins placed upon us as women. There is still the horrors of female sex trade, sweat shops and abused women. Women may be called the “weaker sex” because physically most of us have less physical strength than the men of the world. However, there is nothing weak about most women…in their courage and in their abilities. In this century, we just look differently and in many cases, we act differently. Modern woman can march for their rights, but often do not represent the average woman when combining rights with vulgar speech or hated rhetoric. It may be good for all of us to look to more recent history to see what women have done to keep freedom ours so that we can enjoy what we do have.
Question: Whose shoulders are we standing on for the rights and privileges we have today? One large group of women are those, like my own Mother, who dropped everything for the war effort for their brothers, husbands, and family men who were fighting in far away places during WWII. They were the Home-Front Women, better known as Rosie the Riveters. There was nothing lazy or unpatriotic about them. They knew they had a job to do…and by gosh…they were going to do it! If they didn’t know how, they knew they could learn. (Slide show)
The Holy Scriptures, that were written in a day when women were often thought of as property or definitely had their place, lifted the woman up and praised her. Even Jesus reached out to the women with the least in reputation, and did not rebuke, but simply said, “Go and sin no more.”
In Proverbs 31: 10-31, a wife, in particular, is praised for all the things she does. One will notice that she is described as a business woman. Maybe she didn’t have a real estate license, but she knew how to negotiate and buy wisely. She is also described as a woman who loves God and reaches out to others.
” An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”
As a woman, wife, mother, teacher, friend, and neighbor, I thank God for the women in my life that have shown me their love, support and example. It is not all about being on equal footing in all areas of life, but in what we can appreciate about ourselves to have had the privilege of being female.
There is no more hiding. Unlike George Elliot, my books may never be famous like hers, but I have MY name on them of which I am proud and thankful. We have freedoms and privileges that many women of the past could have only dreamed of. GO GIRL…be proud but thankful!
March 8 was International Women’s Day. This day sheds light on women and their role in the world. They are our mothers, grandmothers ,sisters, aunts, and cousins. Today Boyer Writes honors all of them for what they mean to us. However, there is much to be said on their behalf:
Abuse usually may be physical abuse, but mental abuse can be just as devastating. Calls are made to the police around the world about domestic violence. Restrictions are put into place, but nothing can protect them in a split second’s time. Little girls are also abused. Even in societies where girls are sold into prostitution, the problem is not corrected. Remove the influence of women and the ability to give birth to life from the world and the human race would end. Yet who cares for the women…to protect and love them? Women have often been called “the weaker sex”. Are they really?
Women pick up themselves and their families after years of beatings and make a new life. They start a new home after floods, hurricanes, and tornados have left them with nothing. Women I met in Guatemala took over an entire farming area when their men were murdered. These remarkable women taught the children to do embrodery, selling their goods in the market places to survive. The midwives that I met there were on call 24-7 and often walked miles through the dense countryside to help a woman give birth. The strength that is encapsulated in a tiny frame of a woman is enormous.
What do Women Want in Life?
Over the years, I have had opportunity to hear the thoughts of many women around the world on family and marriage. The Mongolian women said they wanted men in their lives that were not drunks and who were clean. This included husbands, brothers and fathers. I found this an interesting thought. Modern American women, as do all women, want to be appreciated…not necessarily by a gift or a dinner out…but to be told they are loved and appreciated. A few words or a short note is worth more than diamonds to most women. (Of course, not all.) Men forget that women want to communicate. They want to have the warm feelings. They do not judge a man by how macho he is, but how caring and tender he is in their relationship.
World Conditions and alcoholism Conditions around the world are often primitive. The floors are made of dirt. A tent is the only housing. Food is in short supply. It is heart warming to see women care for the most basic needs when she could give up in such conditions. Alcoholism in all countries places a great hardship on families. In Mongolia, there are families living under the streets, near dangerous steam heat pipes because one or more people in the family has no job because of alcoholism. Some of the children there are totally without parents. If it is not alcohol, it may be drugs in other world areas. Regardless, it is what many women face day in and day out.
Selected Women of the Past
Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree)
Sold as a slave many times, this tall woman became a giant for human rights during her life time. Not afraid to speak up and let truth be known, she said the following about the differences in treatment of white and black women of her day:
“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place, and ain’t I a woman? … I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me — and ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well — and ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me — and ain’t I woman”.
Later in her life she had a great religious experience and carried her Christian faith with her to speak anywhere she could. Having spunk is probably not the correct word for her because she had a great deal of whatever it was! She was accused one day of being a man, because she was tall. She quickly opened her blouse to let all know that she truly was a woman.
Susan B. Anthony :
“In 1872, Anthony demanded that women be given the same civil and political rights that had been extended to black men under the 14th and 15th amendments. Thus, she led a group of women to the polls in Rochester, N.Y., to test the right of women to vote. She was arrested two weeks later, found guilty of violating the voting laws and was sentenced to pay a $100 fine. She refused to pay the resulting fine, and no attempt was made to force her to do so.”
During World War II, thousands of men left the United States to fight against world domination of Nazi Germany. The women went to work in factories and served alongside the men as nurses and pilots. My mother was one of these women working in a munitions factory to help the war effort. Just as she did, women left their homes and careers to see that our men won the battles. Without them, how would the war have been won?
Women of the Future
Even as I am writing this in Honor of Women, I see a blue jay outside my window holding in her mouth a long string. She is going to use it to build a nest. “Feathering the nest” is the job of most women. Prepare the food; cook the food; clean the house; care for the children, and in some cases milk the cow. International women do this all the time.
It really does not matter if women are living in a rural area or is a modern women in a large city. All have certain responsibilities that lay at their feet. Children are taken care of throughout life and then abandon the mother or father who have given so much of their lives for their children. Nursing homes are often a proof of this.
For women who choose not to be mothers or wives, we honor their decision to make a career that is not only fulfilling, but inspirational to others in the world. The talents they have are important to the world. It is not necessary that a woman be timid. She has strengths that her quiet demeanor may not show.
The internet has brought the whole world together. There is not much that modern society can keep as a secret to living any longer. Whenever women take to the streets as they did for the vote, the world is going to know their cause. Women’s issues and societal changes are discussed in all world publications. The self-motivated woman has much to advise her in her living, but ultimately she must find within herself what makes her the woman she wants to be.
The Woman of Faith
Unfortunately when it comes to faith, it is often the woman who is left to guide the children or the family in seeking God. Writers through the centuries have praised the virtuous woman.
“…a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised : Proverbs 31 The Holy Bible
If you do not know all the women on the video, look for a list to appear later of their accomplishments under “COURAGEOUS WOMEN at the top of screen.
(For best results, enlarge to full screen and turn on sound for video.)