The Power of a Woman - A Glimpse of History
“You had the power all along my dear.” Glinda the Good Witch
The quote seems appropriate for observance of Women’s History Month. Below are a few names of famous and respected women across the globe.
Alice Augusta Ball – chemist, having obtained undergraduate degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacy in 1912 and 1914; the first African-American and woman to graduate with a M.S. in chemistry from the College of Hawaii
Bessie Coleman – aviator, first woman of African- and Native-American descent to hold a pilot license in 1921
Emmeline Pankhurst – “founded the Women’s Social and Political Union to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain” (“100 Women”, 2018).
Jessica Alba – actress and businesswoman, co-founded The Honest Company
Leontyne Price – singer, world-renowned spinto-soprano, first African-American woman to become a prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera
Margaret Thatcher – first female prime minister in Britain
Mary Seacole – a nurse, who opened the British Hotel near Balaclava during the Crimean War in 1855
Maya Angelou – poet, memoirist, author, and Civil Rights activist
Michelle Obama - former First Lady of the United States, first Black woman to obtain the title as First Lady of the United States, author, lawyer
Oprah Winfrey - television producer, actress, media executive, talk show host, and philanthropist
Rosa Parks – Civil Rights activist
Shirley Chisholm – author, educator, politician, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, and the first woman and African-American to seek the nomination of the United States
Toni Morrison – novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University
Whitney Houston – world-renowned mezzo-soprano, “once cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records,” and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time
When I was an undergrad, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, I remember reading about Mary Whiton Calkins specifically. Calkins was not only disallowed from “enrolling formally at Harvard University, but the institution also refused to grant a doctoral degree to a woman” (Schultz & Schultz, 2008; p. 194).
Today, the glass ceiling smarts from a few impressions, dents and cracks that have marred its surface since the early 1900s. Between 2016 and 2017, women “earned approximately 57 percent of bachelor degrees awarded by U.S. institutions of higher education” (Jeffrey, 2018). Perry (2018) reports that 53 percent of doctoral degrees, and 57.3 percent of master’s degrees were awarded to females between 2016 and 2017.
Despite these accomplishments, there were only 24 female CEOs leading companies in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings (Mejia, 2018). It is more discouraging to read the following, “women are more likely to be put in charge of failing companies” (Miller, 2018). Does one infer that male CEO’s typically lead high-performing companies? It is not hard to believe, as company data provides evidence.
Systematic oppression fulfills one primary objective—to control. Thus, it is unsurprising that for generations, many women believed that their role was restricted to household duties, including but not limited to: marriage, bearing and raising children, cleaning, cooking and sewing. Even now, cultures and subgroups within societies across the globe retain the belief that women should fulfill housekeeping responsibilities.
Some men continue to expect women to be silent and obedient as a slave. Many of these same men cannot stay out of another woman’s bedroom, or making babies with women other than their wives. Despite their disloyal, self-serving disposition, they expect and demand loyalty, devotion, and commitment from the women in their lives.
Unless a man is fulfilling his part of the relationship, there is no reason that a woman should remain compliant or obligated. Certainly, children may be involved, but irreconcilable marital/spousal relationships are toxic to them too. It is a bad situation indeed, if a woman enters a relationship in which she is completely dependent upon a man. She is then at his disposal.
Maybe it is man’s nature to be defiant, which is why I would naturally resist. In fact, I would not maintain a relationship that drained me of my identity. Furthermore, I don’t believe in investing time into someone who is uncommitted to me.” It may sound cold and harsh, but time is unrecoverable. Whether delicious or rotten, memories are the fruits of time’s passage.
Seeing what women have gone through in my lifetime, I say that the world now revolves in an era where women can gather their courage and set a standard. As Glinda, the Good Witch said, “you had the power all along….” That power is a combination of self-confidence, self-respect, healthy concepts of self, dignity, courage, strength, resilience, and perseverance. And, if a man is desired, then he should be one that adds to or enhances you. Avoid the leech and the oppressor.
Why women (and men too) take to social media to trash the opposite sex is ridiculous to me. If we would be honest with ourselves, the rotten apples or peaches that we picked from the tree exhibited some indication of their inner qualities before we put them in our basket. Either the fruit’s skin was too dark, its’ surface pliable in certain places, a small wormhole marred its’ exterior and contaminated its' core, or it emitted a strange smell. Our self-confidence caused us to believe that the fruit was salvageable. We thought that we could change and improve upon the fruit through a love cleansing and behavior modification. But when we consumed that fruit and continued to eat of it, we became sick.
There is no amount of love and service capable of changing a person’s heart unless they are willing. I have heard frustration in the voices of men, including my own, originating from the disappointment of unfulfilled expectations and rejection. I have seen tears in the eyes of single mothers who struggle to understand why their children’s fathers are absent from their lives. We risk much by being intimately involved with people who do not love or appreciate us. We must develop a habit of making healthier life choices.
According to Livingston and Bialik (2018), “one in four mothers are raising children on their own” with African-American women showing the highest percentage of single motherhood. This is where it gets particularly dangerous and discouraging, because percentages for unemployment and underemployment for African-Americans remain the highest compared to other races.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated “two-thirds of custodial parents who were due child support received some payment from noncustodial parents while another 43.5 percent reported receiving the full amount of child support due” (“44 Percent of Custodial Parents”, 2018). These statistics should disturb many parents. During the same year, the cost to raise a child was estimated $233,610, which included housing, fertility, pre- and postnatal treatment, food, clothing, schooling and tuition (Picchi, 2018).
Women must be careful not to make decisions that can impede their career endeavors. I encourage young ladies and women of all ages to exercise sound judgment when dealing with men. Men of good-quality character always promote and celebrate their female counterparts. They fill the gap. When good men see you climbing, they extend a hand to help you reach the top or push you upward from the bottom.
However, you don’t need a man to launch a career. Many of the women in history demonstrated that their success was not contingent on having a man hitched to their hip. All that is essentially required is creativity, willpower, motivation and dedication. These traits already dwell within you, my dear. And, the same is true for the opposite sex.
Moreover, as with other minority groups, it may be necessary to create opportunities when and where they are nonexistent. Search within yourself and gather your courage to withstand a challenge. Conquer your fear of the unknown. Ignore naysayers. Do not accept, “no,” as the final answer. If the door to progress remains shut, discover a way to knock it down, or pursue another path.
Soar high in the face of turbulence.
Jeffrey, T. P. (2018). Women Earn 57% of U.S. Bachelor’s Degrees—For 18th Straight Year. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/women-earn-57-us-bachelors-degrees-18th-straight-year.
Livingston, G., Bialik, K. (2018). 7 Facts About U.S. Moms. Retrieved March 6, 2019 from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/10/facts-about-u-s-mothers/.
Mejia, Z. (2018). Just 24 Female CEOs Lead The Companies On The 2018 Fortune 500—Fewer Than Last Year. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/21/2018s-fortune-500-companies-have-just-24-female-ceos.html.
Miller, C. C. (2018). The Number of Female Chief Executives Is Falling. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/upshot/why-the-number-of-female-chief-executives-is-falling.html.
Perry, M. J. (2018). Women Earned Majority of Doctoral Degrees in 2017 for 9th Straight Year and Outnumbered Men in Grad School 137 to 100. Retrieved March 7, 2019 from http://www.aei.org/publication/women-earned-majority-of-doctoral-degrees-in-2017-for-9th-straight-year-and-outnumber-men-in-grad-school-137-to-100-2/.
Picchi, A. (2018). Raising A Child Costs $233,610. Are you Financially Prepared To Be A Parent? Retrieved March 11, 2019 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2018/02/26/raising-child-costs-233-610-you-financially-prepared-parent/357243002/.
Schultz, D. P., Schultz, S. E. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology. (9th ed.). Belmont, CA; Thomson Higher Education.
44 Percent of Custodial Parents Receive the Full Amount of Child Support. (2018). Retrieved March 11, 2019 from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-tps03.html.
100 Women Who Changed The World: The Results. (2018). Retrieved March 6, 2019 from https://www.historyextra.com/100-women/100-women-results/.