Abigail and John Adams wrote to each other constantly. In one letter, she reminded John to “remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors…if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion.”
An Empowered Spouse
That Abigail Adams was really something! She was an empowered spouse a few hundred years before anyone had ever thought of women’s empowerment. Same with Eliza Hamilton. If not for Eliza’s diligent dedication after Alexander’s death, Lin Manuel-Miranda would have had nothing to rap about for his fabulous musical. We also probably wouldn’t have had the Washington Monument. [FYI: Cokie Roberts wrote an amazing book about those women and others – Founding Mothers. So worth the read.]
So many women of the Adams-Hamilton time did amazing things despite wearing those long dresses with endless skirts and tight whalebone bodices. I always wondered how they kept those skirts from the fire in those wide-open hearths. I don’t think I would have managed very well in their shoes, or dresses! A few nights ago, I was making shortbreads. I got distracted checking email and FB. I might never have noticed the biscuits were done if it hadn’t been for the strange, sort of sweet smell, that filled the air. By the time I opened the oven door, the little crusts were a crispy brown.
If it was colonial times, that smell would probably have been my burning skirt. Good thing I live in this century, not that one! Can you imagine what those Colonial women had to do just to live a single day – with no cars, no radio, no phone, no TV, no internet, no washer/dryer, no grocery stores, no tampons, and instead of Revlon or Maybelline, they used soot to darken their eyebrows and pottery pigment for rouge!
You Can Live Your Passion in Spite of the Pandemic
A hundred years later, it was no walk in the park either. Victorian women, like Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, were mocked and berated when they started fighting for a woman’s right to vote. They were not “proper women,” but they were passionate about what they were doing, and I admire that.
And here’s an interesting bit of trivia, did you know that during the 100 years of women’s suffrage, there were several pandemics: Yellow Fever, Cholera, Scarlet Fever, Typhoid Fever, Smallpox, and the first polio outbreak? Yes, you and me aren’t the only ones trying to have a life in the midst of the craziness we’ve had this past year!
Obstacles: Is “NO” an Ending or a Beginning?
While those ladies were mere days away from getting the women’s right to vote amendment passed, another woman, one of my personal Women’s History heroines – or sheros – was just graduating from high school. Helen Taussig was born at the turn of the 20th century. She was still a young girl when her mother died of tuberculosis, which she also contracted but survived.
In 1919, just after Congress passed the 19th Amendment so women could vote, Helen got rejected for admission to Harvard Medical School (no women allowed). So instead, she studied medical sciences at Boston University. Though Helen could go to classes, she had to sit apart from the men. She did. Also, she was told she wasn’t likely to graduate – no matter how good her grades were, because if her gender.
Undeterred, Helen finished there just in time to be accepted into Johns Hopkins Medical School – one of the few schools that finally decided to admit women. She wanted to specialize in cardiology but there was only one open slot for a woman in that field, so she went into pediatrics instead. Good thing too. Dr. Helen Taussig later developed the groundbreaking procedure to remedy “blue baby” syndrome. She and her physician-partner saved hundreds of babies from dying!
So many women made history in so many different ways – and did it despite being treated as second class citizens. They also did it while being forced to climb over an avalanche wall of discrimination, socially and economically, to get to where they wanted to go.
Inspired to make some history yourself?
What do you want? Is there something you want to do – in your life or in your marriage – that you’ve been putting off? What’s stopping you? Have you lost your sizzle? Or are you telling yourself you’re too old, it’s too hard, you don’t have the money, it’s too much work…or making some other inspiration-numbing excuses?
Time to change it up! Make a commitment, TODAY!
Don’t put it off. You can go after whatever it is you want – covid or no covid! During this time Women’s History, find a woman who inspires you. She can be in today’s news, your own circle of friends and colleagues, or a woman from the far past or nearer past – who felt the same “can I do it?” thing. Pick one of those women and make her your inspirational mentor. Study who she is – or was – and find out what kept her going in spite of everything. Copy her quotes and keep them where you can see them. Then figure out what you need to do differently – or more of – to model her.
If you need some inspiration, pick up a copy of my first book, Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal Victories. In it I tell you stories of real life women – everyday women who faced overwhelming challenges and beat the odds. I personally interviewed every one of them and can tell you each one was just like you and me. When their life got turned upside down, they found it within themselves to do what they needed to do to become victorious. You can download it from Amazon to your Kindle right now: VictoriousWoman
Want more than the book? Check out my ‘Savvy Sizzle No Regrets‘ Masterclass. It’s 5 weeks of step-by step-guidance during which you rediscover your inner passion, determine a clear, attainable goal and plot out a clear path towards it!
Make this the month YOU start making your own woman’s history!
With love and in victory,