FEMINIST FRIDAY

Monday, May 27th Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States.  It is a day set aside to honor those who serve and protect our democracy.  Here is my contribution in honor of the very many brave women who have served or who are currently serving in the United States Army.

American Revolutionary War

(1775-1783)

The origins of service

During the Revolutionary War, women served the U.S. Army in traditional roles as nurses, seamstresses and cooks for troops in camp. Some courageous women served in combat either alongside their husbands or disguised as men, while others operated as spies for the cause. Though not in uniform, women shared Soldiers’ hardships including inadequate housing and little compensation.

The Civil War

(1861-1865)

More than 400 women disguised themselves as men and fought in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

A willingness to assume new roles

During the Civil War, women stepped into many nontraditional roles. Many women supported the war effort as nurses and aides, while others took a more upfront approach and secretly enlisted in the Army or served as spies and smugglers. Women were forced to adapt to the vast social changes affecting the nation, and their ability and willingness to assume these new roles helped shape the United States.

(1898-1901)

The creation of the Army Nurse Corps

With the Spanish-American War came an epidemic of typhoid fever and a need for highly qualified Army nurses. The surgeon general requested and promptly received congressional authority to appoint women nurses under contract, April 28, 1898. Due to the exemplary performance of these Army contract nurses, the U.S. military realized that it would be helpful to have a corps of trained nurses, familiar with military ways, on call. This led the Army to establish a permanent Nurse Corps in 1901.

World War I

(1917-1918)

More than 35,000 American women served in the military during World War I.

Their service helped propel the passage of the 19th Amendment

Upwards of 25,000 American women between the ages of 21 and 69 served overseas during World War I. They began going in August of 1914—at first singly or with a few companions, later with service organizations, and lastly at the request of the U.S. government. Although the largest number were nurses, women served in numerous other capacities – from administrators and secretaries to telephone operators and architects. Many women continued to serve long after Armistice Day, some returning home as late as 1923. Their efforts and contributions in the Great War left a lasting legacy that inspired change across the nation. The service of these women helped propel the passage of the 19th Amendment, June 4, 1919, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Army nurses were sent to Europe to support the American Expeditionary Forces. Training with gas masks was mandatory for all women serving in France in WWI. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Women's Museum)

Army Nurse Corps

Army Nurse Corps

More than half of the women who served in the U.S. armed forces in World War I – roughly 21,000 – belonged to the Army Nurse Corps.

U.S. Army Signal Corps

U.S. Army Signal Corps

The U.S. Army Signal Corps recruited and trained more than 220 women – best known as the “Hello Girls” – to serve overseas as bilingual telephone operators.

Civilian Welfare Organizations

Civilian Welfare Organization

Women served in large numbers in civilian welfare organizations both at home and abroad, including the American Red Cross, YMCA, and Salvation Army.

Historical Highlights

World War II

(1939-1945)

‘To free a man to fight’

Although the idea of women in the Army other than the Army Nurse Corps was not completely abandoned following World War I, it was not until the threat of world war loomed again that renewed interest was given to this issue. With the rumblings of World War II on the horizon, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts states, “I was resolved that our women would not again serve with the Army without the same protection the men got.” Consequently, the creation of the Women’s Army Corps is one of the most dramatic gender-changing events in American history.

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were the first brave women to fly American military aircraft. They forever changed the role of women in aviation.

Women step up to perform an array of critical Army jobs, “to free a man to fight.” They work in hundreds of fields such as military intelligence, cryptography, parachute rigging, maintenance and supply, to name a few. Additionally, more than 60,000 Army Nurses serve around the world and over 1,000 women flew aircraft for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. Through the course of the war, 140,000 women served in the U.S. Army and the Women’s Army Corps proved itself vital to the effort. The selfless sacrifice of these brave women usher in new economic and social changes that will forever alter the role of women in American society.

A Permanent Presence

(1945-1954)

Gender and racial integration

The period immediately following World War II was one of uncertainty and constant change for the Women’s Army Corps personnel. The original intent of the WAC was to last for the duration of the war plus 6-months. However, this post-war period also marked great strides for integrating both the WAC and the Army Nurse Corps into the Regular Army.

Historical Highlights

Professional and Poised

(1955-1970)

The Women’s Army marches on

After the Korean War, and with the move of the WAC Training Center and School to Fort McClellan, Ala., the focus of the Corps shifted to the examination of management practices and the image of the WAC. The WAC directors in the 1950s and 1960s sought to expand WAC by increasing the types of jobs available in the Army, and by promoting the Corps to not only possible recruits, but also to their family members. The leadership worked hard to act as role models and to instruct the women to respect the Corps, take pride in their work, and ensure that their personal behavior and appearance was always above reproach. Their success was marked by a request from the Army chief of staff to lift the recruitment ceiling on the number of women. It was also during this era we see the removal of restrictions on promotions, assignments and utilization.

A Time of Change

(1970-1978)

Moving toward equality and the disestablishment of the WAC

The Vietnam War, the elimination of the draft, and the rise of the feminist movement had a major impact on both the Women’s Army Corps and Army Nurse Corps. There was a renewed emphasis on parity and increased opportunity for women in uniform.

A New Era

(1980s-1990s)

Providing greater opportunities for women

The disestablishment of the WAC and the integration of women into the Regular Army paved the way for women to continue breaking down gender barriers. In the ensuing years, the Army was called upon to respond to regional conflicts, natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the globe. The roles of Army Women are tested and re-defined during these contingency operations.

Post 9/11

(2001-Present)

Looking to the future

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 mark a pivotal changing point for Army women. As the Army’s mission changed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, so did the roles of women in its ranks. With the Global War on Terror campaign, there was a rapid expansion of jobs and change in roles for Army women. Beginning In 2016, women have the equal right to choose any military occupational specialty including ground combat units that were previously unauthorized.

FEMINIST FRIDAY

MOTHER’S ROCK!

I seem to be stuck on writing about mothers this month.  I started to wonder about mothers of more offbeat people and stumbled upon this list.  I love the story about poor Mrs. Capone and Minnie Schoenberg sounds like someone you would like to have a drink with and listen to her stories.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Ludwig van Beethoven

As a girl, Maria Magdalena Keverich worked as a chambermaid in the homes of the wealthy. Johann van Beethoven was her second husband. She was described as “rather tall, longish face, a nose somewhat bent, spare, earnest eyes and kind. A little colorless perhaps — raised to a passion only for the occasional quarrel with the neighbors.”

Alexander Graham Bell

Eliza Grace Symonds Bell was the daughter of a surgeon in the British Royal Navy and was a talented portrait painter. Although somewhat deaf, she played the piano well. Her deafness inspired her son’s research into hearing, although it was said she did not have a lot of faith in his work.

Dwight David Eisenhower

Though poor, Ida Stover was determined to go to college. She scraped together enough money to attend Lane College in Lecompton, Kan., where she met fellow student David Eisenhower. She was known as a firm but gentle disciplinarian and was deeply religious. It is said she once won a prize for memorizing 1,365 Bible verses. As a pacifist, she was not in favor of her son attending West Point but decided to let him go.

Henry Ford

Mary Litogot grew up on a farm, and met her future husband, William Ford, when she was 12 and he was 26 and came to work on the farm. They married nine years later. Mary was self-sufficient and a diligent worker. Henry later attributed his clean factories to her belief in cleanliness. She encouraged his interest in machines early on. He later said, “I have tried to live my life as my mother would have wished. I believe I have done, as far as I could, just what she hoped for me.”

Napoleon

Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte grew up during the Corsican struggle for independence from Genoa and imparted to her children an early interest in politics. When Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, she was feted everywhere as “Madame Mere.” At one time, she had three sons who were kings and one daughter as a queen, but she continued to obsess over accumulating wealth. “I may one day have to find bread for all these kings I have borne,” she said. Letizia outlived most of her famous children.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Alberta Williams King was both the daughter and the wife of Baptist preachers. She taught her children to “always remember you are as good as anyone.” Violence and tragedy became a part of her life. In 1968, Martin Luther Jr. was shot; in 1974, her son Alfred drowned; and in 1974, she herself was killed by a deranged gunman while she was playing the organ in church.

Louisa May Alcott

Abigail May became the patient and long-suffering wife of Bronson Alcott and supported him in all his radical views on education and utopian living. She served as the model for Marmee in “Little Women,” but Louisa always claimed that “Marmee, good though she was, was still not half good enough to do justice to the real woman who inspired her.”

Al Capone

When her son, Alphonse, was found guilty of tax evasion, Teresa Capone came to see him in jail with a big dish of macaroni, tomatoes and cheese. Teresa, who came from Italy as a young woman, could not speak much English, and when her son was transferred to the Atlanta Penitentiary, she could only look at him and mutter a few words; foreign languages were not permitted. She always maintained that Al was “a good boy.”

George Washington

Mary Ball Washington was a strict, authoritarian figure. George always addressed his letters to her with “Honored Madam.” When he wanted to join the British Navy, Mary refused her permission. Shortly after that, George left to live with his brother at Mount Vernon. When news came that he was elected president, he stopped on his way to the capital to give his mother the news — it was the last time he ever saw her.

The Marx Brothers

Minnie Schoenberg was the daughter of a magician and a harpist in Germany. She left that country as a teen to come to New York, where she married a somewhat successful tailor. She encouraged her sons to go into vaudeville. In 1923, although Groucho did not agree with her, she figured they were ready for Broadway — and they were. While being fitted for a dress for opening night, Minnie fell and broke her leg. She was carried to the theater on a stretcher for the opening night show.

Source: “Mothers: 100 Mothers of the Famous and Infamous,” edited by Richard Ehrlich; Paddington Press Ltd.

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The quotes in this article came from: “Mothers: 100 Mothers of the Famous and Infamous,” edited by Richard Ehrlich; Paddington Press Ltd.

FEMINIST FRIDAY

MOTHER’S ROCK!

Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 14th in the United States.  I started to think about what some famous people had to say about their mothers.  Here are a few quotes:

  • “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington
  • “The doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” – Thomas Alva Edison
  • When my mother took her turn to sit in a gown at her graduation, she thought she only had two career options; nursing and teaching. She raised me and my sister to believe that we could do anything, and we believed her.” — Sheryl Sandberg
  • “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” – Washington Irving
  • “My family has very strong women. My other never laughed at my dream of Africa, even though everyone else did because we didn’t have any money, because Africa was the ‘dark continent,’ and because I was a girl.”  – Jane Goodall
  • “My mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier you’ll be a general; if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”—Pablo Picasso
  • “My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”  – Maya Angelou
  • “It seems to me that my mother was the most splendid woman I ever knew… I have met a lot of people knocking around the world since, but I have never met a more thoroughly refined woman than my mother. If I have amounted to anything, it will be due to her.”—Charles Chaplin
  • “My mother taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled.” – Carly Fiorina
  • “I think my mother…made it clear that you have to live life by your own terms and you have to not worry about what other people think and you have to have the courage to do the unexpected.” – Caroline Kennedy
  • Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” – Stevie Wonder

I invite you to share a story about an inspiring woman in the comments section. Just leave us a link to your post. We can never read too many stories about inspiring women. 

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The quotes in this article came from an article posted in Quick Base in May of 2014.

FEMINIST FRIDAY

 

Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft.  Of course, since this is Feminist Friday, I decided to explore women poets.  There are very many accomplished women poets to celebrate but I want to talk about Sara Teasdale today.  Sara won the first Columbia Poetry Prize in 1918 which later would be renamed the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  Thus making Sara the first poet, male or female, to win this prize.

 Like many women poets it seems that Sara did not live a happy life.  Sara Teasdale’s poetry was very popular during her lifetime and she received public admiration for her well-crafted lyrical poetry which centered on a woman’s changing perspectives on beauty, love, and death.  Many of Teasdale’s poems chart developments in her own life, from her experiences as a sheltered young woman in St. Louis, to those as a successful yet increasingly uneasy writer in New York City, to a depressed and disillusioned person who would commit suicide in 1933.

What follows is a poem from her Pulitzer Prize winning collection, Love Songs.

Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

SARA TEASDALE YOU ROCK!

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FEMINIST FRIDAY

I happened upon this gorgeous flower the other day when out for my walk –

I did some research on the flower and found out that its name was Heavenly Blue Morning Glory and found the most interesting woman who is responsible for giving the world this beauty.  So in celebration of National Garden Month I give you the story of the remarkable Theodosia Burr Sheperd.

Theodosia Burr Shepherd (1845-1906)

Shepherd was born in the Iowa Territory and suffered many hardships, including the death of her mother when she was 3 years old.   As an adult, poverty drove her to advertise in a magazine barter column to supply California wildflower seeds and Calla lily bulbs in exchange for clothing for her daughter and household items. This business became tremendously successful. She then began supplying flower seeds and bulbs to large seed companies on the East Coast.

Soon she was making $1000/year, a sizeable sum in the 1880s, and had founded the California seed and bulb industry. Seed merchants Peter Henderson and W. Atlee Burpee visited the West Coast after receiving Shepherd’s seeds and bulbs and soon began West Coast production themselves.

Shepherd next established a retail florist business in Ventura, Calif. The business became very successful and was incorporated into a stock company, one of the first companies in the United States owned and operated by women. In addition to her seed and florist businesses, Shepherd was a successful flower breeder. She made tremendous improvements in nasturtiums, cosmos, abutilon, begonia, and petunia. Among her creations are ‘Golden West’ California poppy, ‘Oriole’ rose, and ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory.

THEODOSIA BURR SHEPHERD YOU ROCK!

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The above information is from an article that was written by David R. Hershey, Notable Women in the History of Horticulture

FEMINIST FRIDAY

Women in sports have long struggled for not only acceptance as equal competitors and athletes but have always been grossly underpaid.  Like their predecessor in the fight for equality, Billie Jean King, the USA Women’s Hockey team took up the fight for equal pay for equal work.  Even with the threat of the League replacing them with other players, they stayed firm in their resolve to boycott the games.  They not only won equal pay but returned to the ice and became the world champions.

 

After almost boycotting the tournament the USA Women’s Hockey team takes home the gold medal with an overtime win over Canada in the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team coach Robb Stauber likes to tell his players “we don’t care who scores, but trust me, we remember who blocks shots.”

Stauber, a former NHL goalie, is not likely to ever forget that it was a blocked shot by Hilary Knight that led to her scoring the game-winning overtime goal in Team USA’s 3-2 win against Canada at the IIHF World Championships.

“I don’t know what a fan paid for a ticket tonight, but they should have doubled it because it was a good hockey game,” Stauber said.

After the first period, former Canadian women’s hockey star Cassie Campbell tweeted that it was the fastest women’s game she had ever seen played.
It was a memorable game because it gave Team USA its seventh gold medal in the past eight World Championships, and three in a row since Team USA lost to Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

It was an emotional game for the American women because they had been riding a roller coaster since March 15, when they threatened to boycott the World Championships if they didn’t receive a new contract from USA Hockey that would give them the financial support they needed to stay active in the sport in non-Olympic years.

The American women didn’t even know they would be playing in the World Championships until USA Hockey officials agreed to a new deal three days before the start of the tournament.

The new financial package — paying players around $70,000 in non-Olympic years and potentially more than $100,000 in an Olympic year — was a major “win” that could change American women’s hockey for years to come, but players understood the story needed a happy ending to make it more meaningful.

 

 

Stauber thought Knight’s blocked shot was symbolic of the price the American women were willing to pay for the success. That was true on and off the ice.

 


USA WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM YOU ROCK!

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The above information is from an article that was written by :
Kevin Allen , USA TODAY Sports Published 1:01 a.m. ET April 8, 2017

FEMINIST FRIDAY

I invite you to share a story about an inspiring woman in the comments section. Just leave me a link to your post. We can never read too many stories about inspiring women. 

I became aware on  Monday that it was the birthday of Dr. Jane Goodall famed British primatologist who revealed the previously unknown social behaviors of chimpanzees by living for years among them.  Then later in the week, I read that she was receiving the DVF Lifetime Achievement Award.  I felt this would be a good week to learn more about her.

Jane Goodall was born in London to a businessman father and novelist mother, who noted her love of animals from a very young age. One day when they could not find her, Jane’s parents frantically called the police to report their daughter missing. A few hours later, they discovered that she had been staked out in the family’s backyard chicken coop to watch a hen lay an egg.

By the time it was time to go to university, Goodall realized that she could not afford it. Instead, she worked secretary jobs, saving up for a long-awaited trip to Africa. Once there, she telephoned the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey to discuss animals. Leakey believed that studying primates would reveal important information for the field of evolution. He hired Jane as a secretary, secretly hoping that she would serve as a primate researcher in the field for him. He believed that she had the right personality to spend long periods of time alone in the wilderness. Many of his colleagues were outraged at his decision to work with a woman with no formal scientific education or college degree.

Goodall traveled to Tanzania in 1960 at just 26 years old and with only a notebook and binoculars in tow, prepared to embed herself among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park. She spent many months establishing herself as a nonthreatening presence, and soon worked her way up to what she called “the banana club” – a trust-building method in which she offered bananas to the chimpanzees every day. Goodall became familiar with nearly half of the reserve’s 100-plus chimps. She climbed trees with them, mimicked their behaviors, and sampled their foods.

Her participatory methods had many fellow anthropologists aghast; they disapproved of her anthropomorphic tendencies to name her subjects rather than number them, and also her choice to bait them with food. Some of the more well-known chimpanzees that she worked with were David Greybeard, the alpha male who first accepted Goodall, and Flo, a high-ranking female who gained such popularity that her eventual death warranted an obituary from the London Times.

Goodall was the first to observe that chimpanzees eat meat (previously, they had been thought to be vegetarians) and make and use their own tools. The merit of her work allowed her to become one of the only people in Cambridge University history to receive a Ph.D. without first earning a baccalaureate degree. While in school, she published her first book for a popular audience, My Friends, the Wild Chimpanzees (1970). Her Cambridge mentor at the time was so enraged that he nearly called for her expulsion, reportedly saying of the book, “It’s – it’s – it’s for the general public!” Her first major book, In the Shadow of Man, was published in 1971, and with that Goodall solidified her reputation as one of the earliest and most successful science writers.

She still works as a human and animals rights activist, traveling almost constantly in her lobbying for conservation initiatives. She says that she has not slept in the same bed for more than three consecutive weeks in over 20 years.

“Can you imagine what it’s like for me to hear, ‘Because of your last visit, we’re doing this work’?” Goodall once said. “You never know who it’s going to be, or what they’re going to do. But as long as I do it, it keeps happening. So you can see why I can’t very well stop.”

DR. JANE GOODALL YOU ROCK!

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The above information came from The Writer’s Almanac.

FEMINIST FRIDAY

What do you call a woman who is the first African woman to win the New York Marathon only five years after getting her first pair of sneakers?  You call her Chametia (one who never gets annyoyed) or Tegla Loroupe.  Here is her medal-worthy story.

From running star to champion for peace, the story of Tegla Loroupe

By Paul Osborne
Tegla Loroupe is a real life role model. From her exploits on the road to her incredible humanitarian work off it, the Kenyan is a true ambassador to her country, her sport and mankind as a whole.

Born in Kapsait village, the Lelan division of West Pokot District, Kenya, Loroupe grew up with 24 siblings. She spent her childhood working fields, tending cattle and looking after younger brothers and sisters.

It was at the age of seven, when Loroupe began attending school, that her running prowess became immediately apparent. Attending school meant a 10 kilometres run for the young Kenyan, both there and back – a run she would complete barefoot.

Talking to me in Qatar, a world away from these early beginnings, Loroupe admitted that she made the “school run”, in the rawest form of the phrase, without the knowledge that she was “doing the sport”. Without the facilities seen in the western world, a youngster in Kenya could run or play football, although the latter was traditionally for the boys.

It wasn’t until the intra-school competitions that Loroupe became aware of her true potential.

Held over the 800 metres and 1500m distance, and taking place on a Friday, students from each school class would compete against one another.

Loroupe’s class was good. Loroupe was one of the best. Even when competing against older students, a young Loroupe proved a true talent. Unfortunately for her, she received little support from her community. As a woman, and a relatively small, frail woman at that, she was not deemed suitable to be a runner.

Always a struggler, Loropue struggled on, however; determined to pursue a career in athletics.

“I went through hardship from the community and I was thinking now is my chance to move from the community to the national way, by way of our National Federation,” she said. “They understand more about sport. I was not able to complain in my community because for girls it was a risk.”

“For me I say, ‘I have something special in me and I will pursue sports like the men from the other community. You don’t show fear in the eyes of the enemy, so you have to struggle. So that’s how I struggle to show them I’m not a quitter. I’m little in body but I can fight. So that’s how my struggle started.”


Despite her tough upbringing, Loroupe explains that she is not ashamed of her community
Despite the hardship in her past, Loroupe is not one to point fingers. She tells me that she is not ashamed of the community she grew up in, that sometimes the media can portray it in a way that does not come across well in society. Some may comment about her younger years, place blame where they feel it necessary; but not Loroupe. She never pointed a finger at anybody.

It didn’t take long for Loroupe to show Kenya and the rest of the world that she was a talent to be watched.

After winning a prestigious local race in 1988, barefoot at that, she fell under the spotlight of the Kenyan athletics federation, Athletics Kenya.

She earned her first pair of running shoes the following year as her international career gained a head of speed. Her first major competition also came in 1989 where she was nominated to race in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships. She came 29th, earning global recognition.

In 1990 she competed again at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, finishing 16th in the junior race.

From here, Loroupe’s international career took flight. In 1994 she won the Goodwill Games over 10,000 metres, barefoot. She also took part in her first major marathon – the New York City Marathon. Running against the world’s strongest competition, Loroupe won, becoming the first woman from Africa to win in New York City.


Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe won the New York City Marathon in 1994 – the first African women to win the event, launching her on the world stage.

“I think it gave women all over the world pride,” Loroupe explained of the victory in New York. “When I won there so many women that say, ‘Tegla we know you are struggle, we translate in real life in our women’.

“So it opened the thinking of women all over the world. Women also, we have hard life. So we can struggle in any area we are facing to make a difference in our lives.

“After New York lots of people followed me, I was the only one that was pushing the wall alone. I’m happy to be a role model for them. Even when I was crying to our federations that they were leaving me behind, I can say that my tears were not for nothing.”

She won the New York City Marathon again in 1995 and finished third in 1998.

Loroupe’s accomplishments in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s are extensive.

As well as winning bronze medals at the IAAF World Championships in 1995 and 1999 over 10,000m, Loroupe also secured world gold three times in a row over the half-marathon distance, between 1997 and 1999. She also took the top prize at the Rotterdam Marathon in the same years, the Berlin Marathon in 1999 and finished second in 2001; and finished second at the 1999 Osaka Marathon.

During the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Loroupe was favourite to win gold in the marathon and 10,000m, but suffered from food poisioning the night before the opening race.

Nevertheless, the Kenyan took to the starting line in each races, finishing 13th in the marathon and fifth in the 10,000m the following day. She was barefoot on each occasion.


Tegla Loroupe was favourite to take gold in the marathon at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, however, food poisoning kept her up the night before the race leaving her to battle for 13th ©Getty Images

Her success continued into 2000 with victory at the London Marathon and Rome City Marathon. She also won the Lausanne Marathon in 2002, Cologne Marathon in 2003 and Leipzig Marathon in 2004.

Loroupe competed at the 2005 World Championships marathon race in Helsinki, Finland, but finished only 40th.

She saw major improvement at the Hong Kong Hal-Marathon in February 2006 where she took gold. The same year she finished fifth in the Rotterdam Marathon and second in the Venice Marathon. In 2007 she participated again the New York City Marathon, finishing eighth.

Her legacy still remains in much of the the athletics world where she holds the world records over 20, 25 and 30 kilometres as well as the marathon distance.

Her marathon time of 2 hours 20min 43sec, set at the Berlin Marathon in 1999, was broken two years later, almost to the day, when Japan’s Naoko Takahashi ran the Berlin Marathon in 2:19:46.

She also used to hold the one hour running world record of 18,340m set in Borgholzhausen, Germany, but the record was broken by Dire Tune of Ethiopia ten years later, in 2008.

Aside from her running career, Loroupe has given a lot back to her community through a series of humanitarian efforts.

As the most successful female athlete to arise from a conflict-struck area in Kenya, Loroupe was often called upon in times of crisis.

“I realised that when I was in Europe, most of the time they were looking when there is a crisis they used to look for names and every time my name would always appear,” she explained. “These organisations, they also keep my card and I never ask anything. If I had a number I could have given [it to them], but I can raise more money with my name running with it.

“So I realise I have something special that people want to get from me, so I had to translate that back to my community and interfere and ask the Government, ‘let’s work there’.”


In 2003 the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation was established in an effort to bring peace and harmony to communities in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan ©Facebook

In this vein, she established the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in 2003.

The Foundation’s mission is “to improve peace building, livelihoods and resilience of poor people affected by and vulnerable to conflicts and civil strife in the world”.

It was created in an effort to bring together warring tribes and religions within Kenyan and Ugandan communities and make a difference to the lives of those people that are suffering, just as Loroupe once did.

“Well I started in 2003 using the religious groups who had been hurt by the people fighting,” she said.

“Because they don’t want to see police, they don’t want to see politician. But with this they really know that Tegla was behind it, so they say ‘okay, there is need for them to support the initiative’.

“So they came to run, and why? Because they say, ‘Tegla could have stayed in Europe with any other person.’ I had everything that could have taken me away from home, but I came back to see them.

“They need Government or anybody to listen to their issues.

“Because people don’t just fight because they don’t like each other, it’s just a stereotype where people say ‘oh they are raiding because they want to marry or whatever’ – it’s a lack of resources.

“People are fighting because they cannot access education, so they have nothing of use to put their energy towards, and because they have to survive.”

The Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation brought instant tangible results to the communities it targeted.

At a 2003 event the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni sent one of his Minister of States to participate. This, according to Loroupe, had never happened before. She then visited the Ugandan Parliament to talk with the policy makers there, hoping to open the boarders between the two nations and create harmony where it had previously not existed.

This was a key theme to Loroupe’s work through her Foundation; to bring peace and harmony to communities and cross-border territories.


As part of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation’s mission, Peace Runs were established to bring warring tribes together ©Facebook

With the creation of the Foundation, came the creation of an annual series of Peace Marathons, named “Peace Through Sports”.

These races saw Prime Ministers, Presidents, Government officials and ambassadors run with warriors from battling tribes in an effort to bring these communities together, open conversation and put an end to conflict.

Loroupe’s humanitarian work was recognised globally in February 2007 when she was named the Oxfam Ambassador of Sport and Peace to Darfur. This came just months after she travelled with George Clooney, Joey Cheek, and Don Cheadle to Beijing, Cairo, and New York City on a diplomatic mission to bring an end to violence in Darfur.

She won the “Community Hero” category at the 2007 Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year awards.

On Olympic day in 2011, Loroupe was presented with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Women and Sport Awards in recognition of her hugely successful career humanitarian work across Africa.

One huge benefit of Loroupe’s work is the fact that she has been there. She has faced the issues that those she is helping are going through. She can relate to and advice these people, with knowledge that many other foundations do not possess.

“When I get on the ground, I’m not afraid to go to the people. I’m not ashamed. I’m able to tell them that I was like you, that can you can never give up. I can talk to the small kids, I can talk to the leaders.

“When people come to Africa, they use all this type of funding and say, ‘Oh sports can change, we are doing this and this in this type of country or whatever’, not knowing why that person is fighting; why that person is committing crime.”

Loroupe admitted that she would like to see more sporting idols, born and raised in Africa, return to the continent to lend their support to the communities they drew up in.

As Africa has progressed as a sporting region, as athletes from the continent continue to make a name for themselves, she would like to see them empower the people and remember their roots.

“We have our heroes, who forget home,” she said.”And they say, ‘Ah I don’t want to go home because I feel threatened or whatever.’

“But yesterday you were poor, and today you are rich. What makes you forget where you come from?

“Go and empower the people over there, be the person of the people.”

Empowering the people does not just consist of food, water, or funding. Of course these are essential, but education is also a major resource that is lacking in many communities.

Not only is this education essential to their upbringing, but also to any ambitions of becoming athletes.

An estimated 36 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests over the past two years.

The latest case involving two-time Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo, sent a wave of panic through Kenyan sports.

But with so many athletes testing positive for banned substances; who is to blame?

The answer, according to Loroupe, is foreign coaches. Coaches or managers from the Western world who see young, often naïve, Kenyan athletes as a source of income.

They see a nation full of natural runners and want to make a quick buck.

“It’s a shame for the country,” Loroupe explained. “And also for our athlete who are naïve. They don’t know much about the issue of drugs. You people from the Western world you know, and the small kids know what’s going on. Some of us don’t know anything about it. Our kids have been subjected to it, and why?

“Because of foreigners, they see the athletes from Kenya as a source of income and therefore they can do anything.”

“We need to cut the roots. Athletes should not be subjected alone. They shouldn’t follow these managers because they will go and destroy any athlete. Be it European American or Africa, these criminals are still moving free. And sports should be free. We have to fight with our own strength.”

One thing that would certainly help these athletes who are being used and taking is education. Teaching them what is right and what is not when it comes to taking certain substances. Teaching them to query what is being put into their bodies, and ensuring they are safe and secure in both training and competition.

This is not just a job for Africa, however. This is not just a job for organisations such as the Tegla Loroupe Foundation. This is a mission for everybody. Athletes, coaches and role models from all regions of sport need to come together to put an end to the criminal behaviour and ensure a free upbringing to athletes from all areas of the world.

That is Loroupe’s aim.

As a member of the “Champions for Peace” club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organisation, the Kenyan wants to bring peace to her community, her continent and her planet.

TEGLA LOROUPE YOU ROCK!

 

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The above information is from an article that was written by Paul Osbourne who is a reporter for insidethegames.

FEMINIST FRIDAY

I will never forget in 1973 the Battle of the Sexes.  Bobby Riggs was all over the media boasting that women tennis players were inferior to male tennis players.  Billie Jean King took up his challenge and broke that glass ceiling at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973.  Here is her story.

International tennis star Billie Jean King won a record twenty Wimbledon championships and helped win equal treatment for women in sports.
Billie Jean (Moffitt) King was born on November 22, 1943, in the southern California city of Long Beach. She was the first of Willard and Betty Moffitt’s two children. Her father was an engineer for the fire department, and her mother was a receptionist at a medical center. Both she and her brother, Randy, who would become a professional baseball player, excelled in athletics as children and were encouraged by their parents. At fire department picnics, her father’s coworkers always wanted Billie Jean to play on their softball team.

Billie Jean developed an interest in tennis at age eleven and saved money to buy her first racket. When she was fourteen years old she won her first championship in a southern California tournament. She began receiving coaching at age fifteen from Alice Marble, a famous player from the 1930s. The product of a working-class family, Billie Jean soon found herself caught up in a country club sport. Despite her success on the court, the fact that tennis was mainly geared toward men would prove a personal challenge to her in later years.
In 1961 Billie Jean competed in her first Wimbledon tournament in England. Although she was defeated in the women’s singles, she teamed with Karen Hautze to win the doubles (two-person team) title. She married attorney Larry King in 1965. In 1966 she won her first Wimbledon singles championship and repeated in 1967. That same year she also won the U.S. Open singles title at Forest Hills, New York.

In 1968 King won both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon. In 1971 she became the first woman athlete to win more than one hundred thousand dollars in a single year.
It was 1972, however, that would be King’s banner year. She won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the French Open. (These three tournaments plus the Australian Open now make up the “Grand Slam” of tennis.) For this feat, Sports Illustrated magazine named her “Sportswoman of the Year,” and Sports magazine deemed her “Tennis Player of the Year.”
In 1973 King again won Wimbledon’s singles and doubles championships. It was then that she began to openly criticize the low prize money offered to women competitors. She noted that women were receiving far less than men for what she considered equal ability and effort. Her statements on this issue led to the offer from a major U.S. drug manufacturer of a large sum of money to make the prize money at the U.S. Open equal for both men and women.

A victory for women’s liberation
King’s career coincided with the women’s liberation (feminist) movement of the 1970s. Her working-class upbringing in southern California and the second-class treatment she received as a professional athlete made her a natural spokesperson for the movement. Her role as a leader in the feminist cause reached its peak in September 1973, when she faced the 1939 men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs (1918–1995) in a nationally televised match at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. King easily beat the aging Riggs and emerged as the winner of what had been billed as the “Battle of the Sexes.”

In 1975 King won her sixth Wimbledon singles championship, but she announced that she would no longer compete in major events because of injuries to her knees. In all she won a record twenty Wimbledon championships (including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles). Today, women competing in professional athletic contests owe much to Billie Jean King. With her outstanding play and forceful attitude, she earned them the right to compete for the same money as men.

Later years
King helped to found the Women’s Tennis Association and served as its president from 1973 to 1975 and again from 1980 to 1981. After retiring from professional tennis in 1984, King and her husband have promoted coed (open to both men and women) team tennis. King has also been active in charitable events. In 1995 she joined the Virginia Slims legends tour along with Chris Evert (1954–) and Martina Navratilova (1956–) to raise money for the fight against acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS; a disease that destroys the body’s ability to fight off infection). King is also an investor in Discovery Zone, a chain of children’s “play lands” that promotes the equal athletic abilities of boys and girls.

King continues to be associated with the sport as a broadcaster, teacher, and coach. In 1999 and 2000 she coached the U.S. women’s team, whose members included Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, and Jennifer Capriati, to victories in the international Federation Cup tournament.

 

BILLIE JEAN KING YOU ROCK!

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The above information came from

Encyclopedia of World Biography

World Biography Jo-Ki Billie Jean King Biography
Billie Jean King Biography

FEMINIST FRIDAY

Since March 8th was International Woman’s Day, I dedicate this edition of Feminist Friday to the women everywhere in the globe who are still striving for equality.

During World War 2 women were encouraged to go into the work force to replace the men who were fighting the war.  There intellectual skills were acknowledged and women were invited to bring these skills into all sectors of the war effort.

After the war women were essentially told to go home and make room for jobs for the men returning from the war.  If you were lucky enough to get a college degree, a woman still worked as a secretary and basically was told that college and working were just ways of marking time until they got married.

Betty Friedan, the Mother of Feminism, graduated from Smith College during this period of time.  Despite a keen intelligence and a desire for a career, she ended up a frustrated housewife in the suburbs.  Her frustration was not at being a housewife (a horrible term) but at the lack of choice.

Betty wrote a book called the Feminine Mystique and helped spark the second wave of the feminist revolution in our country.  And, as they say, the rest is history.

I was going to write a straightforward biography of Betty and then came across this article from the New York Times that addressed the complexity of wanting a career and wanting to be a good mother.  I hope you find it interesting.

THE MOTHER OF FEMINISM

Jonathan Friedan, Betty Friedan’s middle child (and my third cousin), spent much of August 1970 fighting forest fires in Washington State. When his backpack was stolen, the 17-year-old hitchhiked back to New York City. His mother divorced the year before and moved to an apartment on West 93rd Street. Jonathan happened to come home while she was in the final stage of planning a march down Fifth Avenue. “I had no idea what was going on,” he told me recently.

The previous spring, Friedan decided she wanted to mark Aug. 26, 1970, the 50th anniversary of the constitutional ratification of women’s right to vote, with a major event to show that the promise of equality had not been achieved. She floated the idea at the fourth annual meeting of the National Organization for Women, which she had helped found. Her audience cringed, fearful of a flop.

Friedan was determined to come up with a plan that would prove the doubters wrong. It wasn’t easy. In June, about 30 women showed up for the first strategy session for what they called the Women’s Strike for Equality. (To boost participation, the “strike” would take place at the end of the working day.) The planners sat in a circle, and the meeting was conducted without a leader — in other words, chaotically. Throughout the summer, factions sniped. “A younger band of radicals,” The New York Times Magazine reported three days before the event, “found Miss Friedan’s way of doing things ‘hopelessly bourgeois.’ And Miss Friedan’s older, more conservative faction countered by calling the younger women ‘crazies.’ ” Natalie Gittelson Lachman, a writer and Friedan’s close friend for more than 40 years, recalls “how afraid Betty was that the whole thing would fizzle.” But Friedan worked relentlessly to prevent that from happening.

A day or two before the strike, family friends of the Friedans arrived from out of town for a visit to New York. Jonathan’s mother hadn’t asked him to go to the march. But the friends wanted him to take them. He agreed out of pity. “I’d seen the Charlie Chaplin movie where he marches down the street waving a flag with no one marching after him. I thought at least there’d be four of us,” he says.

 

But once Jonathan got to Fifth Avenue, he couldn’t get anywhere near his mother. The street was teeming with people. When the march ended at Bryant Park, Jonathan climbed up on a wall so he could glimpse Friedan standing on a podium. She spoke to an audience in the tens of thousands. “This was the moment I realized who she was,” he says.

The Women’s Strike for Equality “made the women’s movement a household word,” says Ruth Rosen, the author of “The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America.” It was the first feminist event to make the TV news and the front pages. President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation commemorating the anniversary of women’s suffrage. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller declared Aug. 26 a holiday. “It totally eclipsed Betty’s expectations,” Lachman remembers. And Jonathan’s. How many 17-year-old boys get to see their mothers make history with thousands of people marching behind them?
In the end, Friedan pulled off a remarkable show of unity. An array of liberal and radical women’s groups signed on to a pragmatic agenda: equal opportunity in work and education, a right to medical help with abortion and free 24-hour-a-day child care. Those goals were ambitious then; they still are today. And aspects of the day’s theater — like planned “tot-ins” at which mothers would plop their babies in the laps of employers and politicians — seem bold as well as quaint.

But it would be a whitewash to stop there, and Betty, whom I spent time with as I grew up, was never one to whitewash. Betty’s older son, Daniel, a physicist, missed the march, probably because he was in Europe. And her daughter, Emily, then 14, missed it because she was angry with Betty. “It wasn’t her fame I resented,” says Emily, who is a pediatrician. “It was her, as a mother. I regret that I didn’t go. I probably regretted it then. But I wasn’t going to do anything with her.”

In her eulogy for her mother, Emily said: “Betty referred to us as her undeserved bonus. She marveled in the three of us and her grandchildren, stunned that in her blundering, she had actually pulled it off.” About the time of the strike, Emily reflects, “the same phenomenal strident energy and drive and perhaps lack of grace that made her able to do what she did maybe weren’t adapted well to mothering adolescents, especially through a divorce.”

What does it mean that the mother of feminism was for a time not necessarily a good mother to all of her children? Lachman says she thinks that anyone in her friend’s dual roles would have strained to fill them at that heady and inchoate moment. Maybe she’s right. And maybe if Betty had been the male leader of a social movement, the question would go unprobed. But shouldn’t we ask it of all parents? I think Betty would answer yes.

BETTY FRIEDAN YOU ROCK!

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The above information is from an article in the New York Times Magazine, The Mother of Feminism
By EMILY BAZELONDEC. 31, 2006