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!