Politics

From Firebrands to Quiet Dynamos:
Nine Heroines of the Battle for Women’s Rights

[FROM OUR ARCHIVES]

In honor of Women’s History Month, we reprise the stories of nine daring, implacable women who challenged—and helped to dismantle—the laws and traditions that constricted American women’s lives for hundreds of years.

 

SOJOURNER TRUTH
By Deborah Harkins  | September 27, 2015

This is the tale of Sojourner Truth, one of the bravest women in American history. “[She] was an architect of democracy as we know it! She was the first black woman feminist ever!” mused theater director Linda McInerney as she researched an opera about this all-too-unsung heroine. “Who tucked this woman under the coffee table, and why have they done it?” Read More

 

WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY: YOU GO, GIRL!

By Women’s Voices For Change  | August 26, 2013

We do it every week—sprinkle a dose of inspiration (a heartening story about some forceful woman) into our Wednesday Five column. Dispirited? Need a jolt of motivation? Go to the MAKERS: Women Who Make America site and browse its videos, which present the stories of contemporary women whose intelligence, courage, and grit have propelled them into jobs women have never before been allowed to do. Read More

 

GRACE AND GRIT: WHEN LILLY LEDBETTER FOUGHT BACK
By Judith A. Ross | June 21, 2012

Lilly Ledbetter worked for 19 years as a supervisor at a Goodyear tire factory in Alabama before learning that she was being paid less than men for doing the same job  ‘Over the years,” she writes, “I’d done exactly what the men had done: I climbed the two-story buildings in the mill room; knocked down the lampblack from the boxcar into the giant banburies; started the dangerous conveyors, as wide as one-lane roads, in the rain and the sleet.”  She chose to take sthe matter to the Supreme Court. Read More

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, MOTHER OF US ALL
By Deborah Harkins  | March 1, 2012

Tales of the way life was for women in the nineteenth century before the women featured here —and thousands more— toppled the wall of discrimination that had blocked he aspirations of women since the beginning of the Republic. From the diary of—as Cady Stanton put it—“a leader in the most momentous reform yet launched upon the world—the emancipation of” woman.” Read More

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: FIVE STAND-UP WOMEN
By Deborah Harkins  | February 2, 2013

Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the unsung women who formed the backbone of he civil rights movement. She never gave in after that wretched day on the plantation when she lost her job for trying to vote. “Sometimes it seems like to tell the truth today is to risk being killed,” she declares in this clip  [no longer available] in her slow, measured voice. “But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.” Read More

 

‘RBG’: THOUGHTFUL AND LOVING DOCUMENTARY
ABOUT OUR MOST NOTORIOUS JUSTICE

By Alexandra Macaaron | May 22, 2018

Watching RBG, a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, I was reminded of a comment that Ginsburg made when she spoke last year at Roosevelt University in Chicago. “There will be enough women on the Supreme Court when there are nine.” Read More

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