Today is the first day of women’s history month, so even though we Miss Demeanors write fiction, I thought we should kick off the month by celebrating real-life women who make history. For many of us of ‘a certain age’ the concept of women as history-makers was rarely mentioned, but I’m happy to see that attitude changing, even at its current glacial pace.
Women are breaking ground in so many areas: business, politics, science, the arts. I have to say it’s a big change. Back when I was offered the first promotion of my career, I was not allowed to accept the job until I brought in a notarized letter from my husband stating that he understood the new job might require me to work late many evenings, to occasionally travel overnight, or to sometimes come in on weekends.
I was incensed. This was not some rinky-dink ‘Mom & Pop’ company, but a division of a Fortune 500, S&P behemoth. And with attitudes like that prevailing, it’s astonishing how much of history was made by women. So thank you to all the women like Meg Whitman, Indra Nooyi, and Ginni Rometty who helped change that kind of thinking. You are heroes, and you made history. A toast to you all.
Thank you to female Supreme Court justices like Sandra Day O’Connor, Sondra Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Elena Kagan all of whom broke the glass ceiling for women in law and who dedicated their lives to democracy and the US constitution.
To Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Christa McAuliffe, and the other female astronauts. To women scientists like Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier (inventors of the CRISPR gene editing technology) and Madame Marie Curie who discovered the properties of radium, and to all the young women and girls currently fighting for equal opportunity in STEM education. I salute you.
To the female athletes like Megan Rapinoe and her teammates who fought for equal pay for equal work, and Billy Jean King who proved a woman could indeed beat a man in sports.
To Misty Copeland who refused to give in to traditions that excluded her despite her undeniable talent.
To Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams who ran the US government for her husband while he was traveling, handled the family finances, raised six children, and fought against slavery long before the Civil War.
To Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Nelly Bly and all the women who refused to believe that they couldn’t achieve the things they wanted to achieve. To Louisa May Alcott who showed that women did in fact have hopes and dreams outside of marriage and childrearing, and that they could achieve these dreams despite the many obstacles society put in their path. Her work also showed the desperation that women were forced into by the social mores of the times.
And to women authors like Mary Shelly, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, George Eliot, Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, Margaret Atwood, Carson McCullers, Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson—the list alone could go on for pages—who wrote some of the most beloved and enduring works on history and paved the way for all us current female writers.
Thank you all for all you’ve done throughout history. Brave, fearless, strong women who did amazing things and created history despite the impediments of society. I salute you all and thank you all. And I’m waiting for the day when we don’t have to say “female authors,” “female astronauts”, “female presidents” or “female writers” –or any other dang thing women want to make history doing. We’ll just say “authors,” “Supreme Court justices”, “scientists,” “astronauts,” “CEOs” and gender won’t even make an appearance.
Meanwhile, happy Women’s History Month. Who’s your favorite history maker?
Sharon Ward is a successful freelance writer specializing in technology, manufacturing, and supply chain—even before the supply chain became the topic of the year. Before that, she worked at some of the most successful tech companies in the world, including Microsoft and Oracle. Her real love, though, is diving. As a PADI-certified divemaster, Sharon helped local dive shops with their training classes and has hundreds of dives under her weight belt. Wanting to share the joy and wonder of the underwater world, she wrote In Deep, her debut novel, released in August 2021. The second in the series, Sunken Death, was released on December 31, 2021. The third, Dark Tide, will hit the shelves in the spring of 2022.