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  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    A Poem to the Women of the Past, Present, and Future

    Rosie the Riveter

    This poem is dedicated to all the women who fought for equal rights

    All around her cottage, loud rain falls.
    Only one trace of life within her walls.
    A little girl sits alone.
    She fails to light a match.
    She pleads for heat.

    With a blanket in hand,
    She closes her eyes,
    And sees a warm fire,
    A fire within,
    A fire of her own.

    A little girl sits,
    Baffled by her goals,
    Denied by society,
    And consumed by her dreams.
    Was the fire just in her imagination?

    Maybe, for now,
    But one day,
    She’ll release her fire.
    The world will ignite,
    And she’ll spread her light.

    Education for all,
    Regardless of sex.
    Voting for all,
    Regardless of sex.
    Equal rights for all.

    Sojourner Truth,
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    Oprah Winfrey,
    The list goes, but
    We thank you.

    All around our cottage,
    her light shines bright,
    Everyone is warm,
    We stand together
    And fight for our rights.

  • Woman's History

    Women in History to be Thankful For

    Women in History to be Thankful For

    by Sarah Vice, intern for GirlSpring

    I am thankful for women’s rights and for the women who stood up and spoke out in favor of those rights. You always hear people saying to give thanks for the veterans that defend our freedom, which I am thankful. I am eternally grateful to all people who stand up and fight for me. But this does not stop at war veterans. This includes the women in history and today who put their lives or livelihoods at risk just so that we can have equal rights.

    I wouldn’t be able to write this post if it were not for a long list of women who fought for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, women’s rights, and a strong sense of leadership. Some honorable mentions are below.

    Susan B. Anthony

    Some of these names might be familiar to you. That’s good. We can start with the earliest member of the list, Susan B. Anthony. Recently, the midterm elections led a flock of people to leave their “voting” stickers on her memorial stone.

    By the age of 17, Anthony was already involved with pushing anti-slavery petitions. She was young, but she knew what was right versus what was wrong. In 1863, she had nearly 400,000 people sign a petition to abolish slavery. In 1866, Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton created the American Equal Rights Association, which boasted freedom for both women and people of color. At the age of 46, Anthony began a newspaper in support of women’s rights.

    In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting. Can you imagine the bravery it would take to risk remaining in jail the rest of your days so that you could have a single vote in an election? But that’s not all it was. It was not just a single vote. It was a vote for womankind and the demand for the right to have a voice. Because of her bravery, I received the right to vote from the legal age of 18. This is one reason why I vote. Because it was not a given, it was a battle to have that right.

    Harriet Tubman

    The next woman on the list that I am thankful for is Harriet Tubman. This woman was abused from a young age. She legally belonged to someone. If that sentence doesn’t break your heart and enrage you, then you do not deserve her bravery. Tubman broke free of her chains, and instead of moving on with her newfound freedom, she chose to keep coming back for those she loved and eventually other slaves. She didn’t find the time to pity herself. She was so busy saving as many people as she could through the Underground Railroad.

    Once the Civil War began, Tubman served as a spy for the United States Army. In doing so, I am sure countless lives were spared and brought free from their bonds. Her courage goes on into fighting for women’s rights. In response to the question of why women should be given the right to vote, Tubman exclaimed that her suffering gave her the right to it. She continued her life in support of women’s activist groups and the suffragist movement.

    Clara Barton

    The list continues to pattern women of strength and courage. Clara Barton was none too shy of showing the world what women are capable of. She brought the American Red Cross to America in 1864. After years of military nursing experience, it was time for Clara to begin heading a major organization that would later become the largest disaster relief in Northern America. Even now, the name is probably familiar with recent catastrophes or blood drives.

    Though Barton’s take on the American Red Cross was dismissed by the belief that her humanitarian efforts would drag the organization down—by a male-dominated board—she resumed trying to memorialize the brave women from the war. She would later create a new foundation that would aid in local relief. It was called the National First Aid Society.

    These three women are part of a long list of independent thinkers who found a way to give us a better present and future. The list will continue to grow as young girls like yourselves are inspired by the work of others. If something seems hard now, just consider what the reward will be for those who come after you. Be selfless and selfish all the same.

    So this holiday, as you are passing the turkey around and drooling over that sweet potato pie, remember to give thanks to those who have made improvements in your life and the lives of others.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Articles, Portfolio

    5 Bad Ass Women in Military History

    5 Bad Ass Women in Military History

    by Jana Brown

    This was originally posted in May, we are re-posting in honor of Veteran’s Day.

    It’s May, which means it’s military appreciation month. In honor of some of the many kick ass women that have served in armed forces across the globe, here is a brief overview of some of their names and accomplishments.

    Cathy Williams
    Cathy Williams illegally enlisted in the US military as a man using the name William Cathay. The year was 1866, and she was the first African American woman to enlist. Williams was born a slave, and ended up joining the military after the American Civil war ended and she was freed.

    Unfortunately, shortly after joining the military she contracted smallpox, and was discovered to be a woman while she was receiving treatment for the illness. Thankfully, her doctor didn’t out her as a woman and she was discharged due to disability.

    Buffalo Calf Road Woman
    Buffalo Calf Road Woman, or Brave Woman was a Cheyenne Native American who was said to have knocked Colonel Custer off of his horse before he died in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

    During the Battle of the Rosebud, she saved her wounded brother on the battlefield. Her actions inspired and rallied the Cheyenne warriors after they began to retreat, and in turn the Cheyenne defeated General George Crook and his forces.

    Annie Fox
    During WWII, Annie Fox was the first woman to receive the Purple Heart. She was the head nurse at a hospital in Pearl Harbor during the attack.

    Instead of ceasing operations during the attack, she continued to command her nurses and staff, and performed her medical duties even during heavy bombardment. Army reports say that she worked effectively and maintained a level head throughout the duration of the attack.

    Juana Azurduy de Padilla
    Azurduy was a leader of the military during Bolivia’s struggle for independence from Peru during the 1820’s and 1830’s. As a skilled military strategist, she commanded the army on several different occasions and even organized the Leal Battalion. The Leal Battalion took part in the Battle of Ayohuma which resulted in the retreat of Argentine troops from Alto Peru.

    She was so hardcore that she led and fought all throughout her pregnancy. During a fight she excused her pregnant self to give birth on a river bank before almost immediately jumping back into action.

    Joan of Arc
    You’ve probably heard of Joan of Arc, she’s pretty famous. She is considered to be a French hero for her actions during the Hundred Years War and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.

    Joan said that she received visions from Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria telling her to assist Charles VII in overcoming the British domination during that time period.

    Charles VII (who was not yet technically king) sent her on a relief mission to the Siege of Orleans, which was then lifted nine days after her arrival. Her being there during several different battles inspired the French army to take her advice and follow her orders since her words were thought to carry divine power. She was considered to be a brilliant war strategist despite being so young; take into account that she was only 19 when she was burned at the stake after undergoing British trial.

    Please note that you can find the sources I used to research this article by clicking the links below:

    >here: https://www.ranker.com/list/american-female-war-heroes/davidseidman

    >here for the information on Buffalo Calf Road: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Calf_Road_Woman

    >click here for more info on Joan of Arc and Juana Azurduy de Padilla: https://taskandpurpose.com/8-badass-women-warriors-military-history/

    >More info on Joan of Arc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

  • Articles

    Back To School – Women’s Education

    Back To School – Women’s Education

    In honor of back to school, I thought it would be nice to put things in the overall big picture of women’s education.

    See, education for women is actually pretty new, if you take a look at history. And even today it isn’t universal. We still have women campaigning for the right to an education in their country, such as Malala Yousafszi. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the names of the wonderful women from years past who fought for our right to learn. So, get ready for some fantastic women who helped fight for women’s education in the U.S. who mostly go below the radar.

    First up, we have Patsy Mink. When Mink was unable to go to law school and unable to get a job (both on the basis for being a woman), she dove into politics and worked hard and long for Title IX. After Title IX passed, opportunities in education opened up to millions of women in the United States.

    Fun Fact Patsy Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress.

    Secondly, there’s Fanny Jackson Coppin. After Coppin was freed from slavery, she became one of the first women of color to earn a college degree. She then worked for 40 years as a principal at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia. As the Civil War came to an end, Coppin made it her life’s goal and mission to education many former slaves that were migrating to the north. Her work was some of the very beginning in the fight for equal education.

    Last, but definitely not least, is the Catholic Nuns. Catholic Nuns, through their education programs, moved millions of poor immigrants into the middle class. They were (and are still considered to be) the educators of the marginalized. They pushed women towards higher education, ran a nationwide system of schools, and had an overall enormous impact on education in the United States.

     

    Thanks to these people, women’s education has really taken off, and we have the opportunities today that wouldn’t have even been a dream 100 years ago. Clearly, this is not the end of the list. So many women have helped campaign for women’s education worldwide; too many people to name. So, keep these women in mind as you collect your books and pack your bag. Equal education has come a long way, we sure have a lot to be grateful for!

     

    Want to read more about people that helped women’s education ? –

    Women’s History Month: These Female Trailblazers Changed American Education For You and Your Kids. Do You Know Their Names?

  • Photography, Woman's History

    Alabama’s Finest Female: Autherine Lucy Foster

    Autherine Lucy Foster was the first black student to be admitted to an all-white public school or university in the entire state of Alabama. Foster was recently honored by The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on September 17, 2017. The university asked Autherine Lucy to speak about her experiences, and the enormous obstacles she has overcome to get to where she is today. She was then presented with a campus landmark dedicated in her name, on The University of Alabama’s Graves’ lawn. Foster’s actions and determination to actively make change in a prejudiced society have paved the way of civil equality today.
    Foster’s success has become an inspiration to many African-Americans worldwide. Autherine Lucy Foster who is currently 87, attempted to enroll at The University of Alabama in 1952. She was originally accepted, until admissions found out that she was African-American. Attorneys fought for Foster’s right to attend the university, and about a year later she was admitted into the school. Not even one hundred years ago, Foster was the first African-American student to attend a public university.
    Unfortunately it does not end there, Foster’s education at Alabama was cut short. Less than a week into her attendance at the university, Foster was harassed on campus and bombarded with endless threats. When Foster spoke on September 17, she talked about her experience of the 3000 Klansmen waiting for her to step outside and chanting racial statements at her. Foster was suspended for “her safety, and the safety of other students,” and she was later on expelled.
    Over thirty years later, her expulsion was finally annulled and Foster returned to the University of Alabama and earned her Master’s degree in education. Foster’s ambition and actions have left an impact on Alabama, and on the entire nation. Her courage to fight against social injustice at the university has qualified her a legacy on the campus. Foster truly is an inspiration, and an empowering woman to look up to. She has strived for greatness, and continues to impact lives of many students.

  • Photography, Woman's History

    Six Historic Firsts From This Year’s Election You Might Have Missed

    Nevada elected the first Latina senator in US history.

    Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican Joe Heck in the race for the Nevada Senate seat. She’s the first Latina senator in US history. She’s a former Nevada attorney general and granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant. Her campaign was focused on an immigration overhaul and future Supreme Court picks.

    California elected the first Indian-American to serve in the US Senate.

    California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris defeated a fellow Democrat by a little more than a third the vote and was backed by both President Obama and Vice President Biden. She’s mixed race, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father. She’s now the first black US senator from California, second black woman to serve as senator, and first Indian-American senator.

    Florida elected the first Vietnamese-American woman to Congress.

    Stephanie Murphy was also endorsed by both Obama and Biden, along with the Human Rights Campaign. She’s the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and immigrated to the US when she was 1 year old. She defeated a 23-year Republican incumbent and is now the first Vietnamese-American woman to grab a spot in Congress.

    Oregon elected the US’s first LGBT governor.

    Oregon is the first state to elect an openly LGBT governor. Kate Brown stepped in as governor of Oregon back in 2015, after the previous governor stepped down. But Brown properly ran this year, and won, becoming the first openly LGBT person to win a gubernatorial election. Brown was outed by The Oregonian for being bisexual in mid-90s. She’s currently married with two stepchildren.

    Washington elected the first Indian-American woman to hold a seat in the US House of Representatives.

    Washington’s Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to hold a seat in the House of Representatives. Jayapal defeated a fellow Democratic opponent with more than half of the vote. She was born in India and immigrated to the US when she was a teenager. After 9/11, she founded an advocacy group for immigrants and refugees who live in the US.

    CORRECTIONS

    Kamala Harris is the second black woman to be elected to the US Senate. A previous version indicated that she was the second black senator to ever serve in Congress.

    Stephanie Murphy defeated a 23-year Republican incumbent. A previous version incorrectly indicated her opponent was 23-years-old.
    Nov. 9, 2016, at 9:50 a.m.

    Article From: Buzzfeed

    Here is a list of a few more woman who made history:

    1. Zena Stephens, the first black female sheriff ever elected in the Lone Star State.

    2. Tammy Duckworth, Democratic senator for Illinois.

    3. Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris becomes the state’s first senator of Indian descent — and the country’s first black female senator since 1999. She succeeds Barbara Boxer. The Democrat, along with Duckworth, is biracial, another first for the national legislature. Her mother is Indian, and her father is from Jamaica.

    4. Maggie Hassan, another Democrat, unseated her Republican rival Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Senate race.

    5. Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney won in Wyoming.

    Article From: CNN

    Hillary Clinton’s Message to Young Girls

  • Woman's History

    Who is Pocahontas?

    girlspring pocahontas

    Who is Pocahontas?

    Let’s talk about Pocahontas.

    You probably know her as the fascinating Disney heroine from the movie Pocahontas. Or with history classes, you might recognize her as the fourteen-year-old girl that died of illness once she reached England. But now, there is new research uncovering her to have lived longer and never to have had relations with John Smith in the way he made it seem (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-pocahontas-180962649/ )

    What is the truth?

    We already know that Disney likes to embellish classic tales, so we can most likely assume that there was no love triangle between Pocahontas, John Smith, and John Rolfe. Disney also led its viewers to believe she was more mature in age and mind than history books depicted her. If they had told the tale from a young girl’s perspective, we would have immediately been turned off by John Smith’s romantic interest.

    The relationship between Smith and Pocahontas might not have been so strange at the time of the events (the early 1600’s) but would definitely be frowned upon now. A recent historian claims that their relationship was platonic and was only built up so much because of Smith. He kept a series of letters detailing their interactions and could have easily added in some false information. It’s not like we don’t deal with guys making up rumors about us nowadays, too.

    So where does her story go from being a young girl who intervened peace on behalf of an entitled white man and dying of disease, to being a great leader of her people and living to a much older age? It all begins with the realization that the Indians were smart. Pocahontas was smart. She was young, yet she spent time learning and teaching languages with a stranger. After Smith was kidnapped by the Native people, the two of them tried to broker communication.

    She wanted to understand the new people.

    Pocahontas wanted to know why they acted the way they did, and why they dressed so strangely. She was a curious teenager. You might be able to relate to her in that way.

    Imagine yourself, fourteen years old. A stranger comes into your home with a team of people. They demand you give them your home. They are speaking in a language you don’t understand. Your family fears for their loved ones and takes the first stranger hostage. Is your first instinct to make nice with the stranger?

    It was Pocahontas’s. She was so incredibly brave. We may never know the exact truth of who Pocahontas was or what she was capable of, but we do know that she was an intelligent child who chose education over a war. Smith and his people were wrong for what they did. They knew it and needed to paint a child as understanding of their behavior, which is why we have what our history books tell us now.

    If there is any information on Pocahontas that you want to share or other Native stories that seem fitting, please share them in the comments below!