The Wednesday 5: Groundbreaking Women

In this week’s Wednesday 5: On Being, with Krista Tippett; Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president; 84-Year-Old Sylvia Weiner, first woman to run the Boston Marathon; another 84-year old groundbreaker, Toni Morrison, publishes her 11th novel, God Help the Child; and Tina Packer’s new book traces how Shakespeare’s women evolved from simple caricatures to complicated and complex characters.



Our Favorite Thing: On Being, with Krista Tippett


If you’re not already hooked on this podcast series, we’re sure you will be. Billed as a social enterprise with a radio show at its heart,” On Being is a Peabody Award–winning public radio conversation and podcast, centered on the questions at the center of human life. Created by the 2014 National Humanities Medal winner Krista Tippett, the show has a roster of episodes that include a thoughtful and poignant collection of dialogues. They include:

And no need to ever worry about missing an episode. There are so many ways to catch it in real time or save and savor this goodness. On Being is journalism at its best.



The First Woman to Run for President

woodhull_wikiVictoria Woodhull | Wikimedia Commons

There was a major announcement this week, although not a surprising one. Hillary Clinton is running for president. But she’s not the first woman to run. In “The Strange Tale of the First Woman to Run for President” at Politico magazine, Carol Fesenthal reminds us that the “first” title belongs to Victoria Woodhull:

Few know, though, the name of the woman who put the first crack in that highest, hardest glass ceiling. That honor belongs to a beautiful, colorful and convention-defying woman named Victoria Woodhull, who ran for the office in 1872, 136 years before Clinton made her first run, in 2008. Woodhull, who died nearly twenty years before Clinton was even born, hazarded a path on which no woman before her had ever dared to tread. Even more amazing is that she did it almost 50 years before the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. On Election Day, November 5, 1872, Victoria Woodhull couldn’t even vote for herself.

Read more about Woodhull’s story here.



84-Year-Old Sylvia Weiner, Holocaust Survivor, Says Running Saved Her Life

The headline says of the 84-year-old Sylvia Weiner: “The first woman to ever win the Boston Marathon masters division was in concentration camp with Anne Frank.”  Here’s what we also learn about this groundbreaking octogenerian in Runners World: She has rarely missed an early morning run in the past 5o years; she won the Boston Marathon in 1975, the first year the institution recognized men and women master’s division winners; she was 44 when she won, and she spent the next 20 years running and winning several marathons.



84 Keeps Looking Good

Another 84-year-old groundbreaker, Toni Morrison, has published her 11th novel, God Help the Child (Knopf), which will be released on April 21. Below, she speaks with The New York Times and reads from the new work.




From Harpies to Heroines: How Shakespeare’s Women Evolved


In her new book, Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, Tina Packer (founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts) traces how Shakespeare’s women evolved from simple caricatures to complicated and complex characters. In an interview with NPR, Packer shares her theory on why Shakespeare began to portray women in ways that were often counter to his time.

I think he was a great artist. And he was a great artist who wrote about human beings all the time. You can have a great artist like Wagner who writes great emotions, but is a horrible human being, but for Shakespeare he was writing about what does it mean to be a human being.

And I think because he was a great artist, he was deeply in touch with his own feminine side. And as he did that he began to see more and more, not just the bind the women had been in, but how those attributes, the creative attributes, and the way in which women saw the world, could be the way we could stop all of this violence.


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