Friday, March 8, 2019

In Praise of Women on International Women's Day: Five Women of Accomplishment

It's 2019 and women have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.  For example, females still lack the right to education in parts of the world and so many women are the victims of sexual assault.  On this International Women's Day, Number 16 presents to you brief biographies and quotes from five women of accomplishment and courage.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an English writer, philosopher and women's rights advocate.  She was the author of novels, treatises, a travel narrative and a history of the French Revolution.  She is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy.  She argued that women are not inferior to men, but only seem so due to a lack of education.  She believed that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and pleaded for a social order founded on reason.

Marry Wollencraft was the mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.

It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are to some degree independent of men.

- Mary Wollstonecraft
From A Vindication of the Rights of Women [1792]

I do not wish them (women) to have power over men, but over themselves.

- Mary Wollstonecraft
From A Vindication of the Rights of Women [1792]

I love men as my fellow, but his sceptre, real or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, not to man.

- Mary Wollstonecraft
From A Vindication of the Rights of Women [1792]

Make them free, and they will quickly become wise and virtuous, as men become more so; for the improvement must be mutual, or the injustice which one half of the human race are obliged to submit to, retorting on their oppressors, the virtue of men will be worm-eaten by the insect whom he keeps under his feet.

- Mary Wollstonecraft
From A Vindication of the Rights of Women [1792]

There must be some equality established in society, or morality will never gain ground, and this virtuous equality will not rest firmly, even when founded on a rock, if one half of mankind be chained to its bottom by fate, for they will be continually undermining it through ignorance or pride.

- Mary Wollstonecraft
From A Vindication of the Rights of Women [1792]

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was an American political figure, activist and diplomat.  She was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945.  She served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 until 1952.  In addition, she was the first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and oversaw the drafting of  its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Roosevelt later chaired the John F. Kennedy's administration's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.

Eleanor Roosevelt was an outspoken advocate for the civil rights for African Americans.  She was the first spouse of a president to write a daily syndicated newspaper column (My Day) and the first to speak at a national party convention.

A woman is like a teabag.  You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

- This quote is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt without an original source in her writings, as in The Wit and Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt (1996).  However, archivists have not been able to find the quote in any of her writings.

Clare Booth Luce (19013-1907) was an American author, politician and conservative thinker.  From 1943 to 1947, she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut's 4th district.  During the presidency of Dwight D..Eisenhower, she became the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post overseas.  She served as U.S. Ambassador to Italy (1953 to 1956) and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil (1959).  She is also known for her 1936 hit play The Women, which featured an all-female cast.

A man has only one escape from his old self - to see a different self in the mirror of some woman's 

- Clare Booth Luce
From The Women, 1936 play

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed.  If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes."  They will say, "Women don't have what it takes."

- Clare Booth Luce, attributed
From On Being Blonde: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Most Infamous Blondes

When a man can't explain a woman's actions, the first thing he thinks about is the condition of her uterus.

- Clare Booth Luce
From Slam the Door Softly [1970]

I refuse the compliment that I think like a man.  Thought has no sex, either one thinks or one does not.

- Clare Booth Luce
From Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in Asia, by Robert E. Herzstein [2005]

Amelia Earhart was born July 24, 1897.  She was an American aviation pioneer and author.  She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  She was a member of the National Woman's Party, which championed female suffrage.  She was also an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution.  The proposed amendment was introduced to the U.S Congress in 1921 and guarantees equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex.
On July 2, 1937, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Earheart and navigator Fred Noonan
disappeared over the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

I want to do it because I want to do it.  Women must try to do things as men have tried.  When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others. 

- Amelia Earhart
From a letter to her husband, George P. Putnam, on the eve of her last flight

Lois Wyse (1926-2007) was American advertising executive, author and columnist.  She wrote on a variety of topics such as business, family and love.  A prolific writer, she is credited with writing over 60 books.

Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.

- Attributed to Lois Wyse

Women on the way up generally fail to win popularity contests.  The only compensation is that once you're there you will become very well liked.

- Attributed to Lois Wyse

- Joanne

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