Women: squeamish, subservient and, above all, weak? Others have thought along this line as well. In the past, there was nothing more alien to the English gentlemen of the 17th century than the sight and sound of women having to earn a living.
Feminism was denounced, and the most gracious lady was expected only to lend her arms and legs for their humble abode and their dotty children. Nowadays, we see it as a condition reminiscent of a period of shame and oppression for females with whom a day in the kitchen is the norm.
Indeed, ladies of the 21st century have much to be grateful for, especially to the mothers who have championed the feminism movement.
As a way to commemorate the strength and power of women in our society today, The LaSallian highlights several noteworthy events, which served to raise the threshold of womanhood.
1. Women + Equal Inheritance Rights
It seems that Norway is not just known for salmon and skiers. Apparently, it also brought home the bacon for the title: “Leader in the Field of Equal Rights”. As early as 1854, Norwegian women had already acquired inheritance rights. It was not until the late 1890s though that society gave them the rein to manage their own wealth.
Back then, this was a ground breaking achievement; the fight for women’s emancipation rights was still nascent. Even so, this liberal turn of events successfully encouraged women migrants to go and explore the north!
2. Women + Formal education
Having a hell of a night cramming for your examinations? You are still luckier than many women in the past. It was only in 1868 that the US welcomed a gradual increase in the number of American girls formally allowed to attend schools.
Higher education was broadened by the spread of women’s colleges and the admission of women to regular universities. In 1900, an estimated one-third of the American university’s population were women. Today, America remains one of the most liberal countries in terms of women’s education.
Women: Raise your glasses for Josephine Butler of Britain. A devout feminist, Butler acted for the welfare of prostitutes. From 1869 to 1886, she headed an extensive campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts – a law requiring the genital examination of women with suspected infections and detaining the carriers in a hospital for treatment. Her crusade shocked many; it was one of the first times a woman stood up to take action. Because of her, we are pretty sure inhabitants of then Victorian-era brothels knew whom to seek for help.
4. Women + A stop to child marriage
Arfa Khatun of India, 13 years of age, had worked as a maid since she was eight years old. By the time she reached 13, her father planned to have her married off.
She took a stand and said NO. Today, Arfa is now studying in a government-based school; she is one of the lucky ones. A 2009 UNICEF report showed that 40 percent of the world’s child marriages occur in India. In 1891, the government took measures to move the minimum age of marriage from 10 years of age to 12. As of now, the Prohibition on Child Marriage Act of 2006 completely bans child matrimony. Thankfully, children in India, particularly girls, can now breathe a sigh of relief.
5. Women + Priesthood
Yes, Sweden boasts more than 50 years of girl power. Their Church was the first Lutheran Church to ordain women as pastors in 1958. Rounds of cheers go to both Elisabeth Djurle and Ingrid Persson; they are the first female pastors ordained. For the last decade, according to The Local, Sweden’s news in English, a storm of women, 588 in all, swept the ordination rites and toppled the male priests by more than 200 in number.
6. Women + K-pop
The recent popularity of K-pop or Korean pop in Japan sparked a whole new fan base not dominated by boys. In reality, the independent and spirited style of new Kpop groups has inspired Japanese girls to feel much stronger and independent. Maybe inspiring the youth through a whole new beat is the idea.
7. Women + Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS)
The OWS movement has sparked other “occupy” movements; many hardworking women despite abuse by riot police and sometimes, fellow protesters have continued with their protest. These women adjusted, and even created a separate camp for women to protect themselves from men who are taking advantage of the situation.
8. Women + Kevlar
If you think that games like Counter Strike are only for males, then you should know that in 1965, Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar; the material that is used for bulletproof vests and helmets. It is also the same equipment used in shooting games. So the next time you play a shooting game, be sure to make women proud by adding that extra armor.
9. Women+ Racing
Got a need for speed ladies? The 2011 Indiana 500, better known as Indy 500 had 4 female racers, including Danica Patrick who placed 4th in the 2005 Indy 500. She was also the first woman to win an Indy Car race. This year she placed 10th out of 33 racers.
10. Women + Power
What better way to end the list than with the most powerful woman on earth? Angela Merkel, the current chancellor of Germany is the Forbes 2011 number one most powerful woman in the political realm. Hilary Clinton is second to this political powerhouse.
In a survey in France, the French trust Merkel more than their own president. Now that is a statement.
Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice will never go cliché. The sight of the Powerpuff Girls zooming to kick monster butt will always be classic. Shakespeare’s Othello brought forth imposing figures such as Desdemona, Bianca and Emilia. If you suppose women only excelled in fiction, then you are sadly mistaken.
Women of the infamous Katipunan played a vital role by nursing the wounded and keeping hold of furtive files and documents. Filipina journalists, such as Tina Monzon-Palma and Ceres Doyo – both subjected to military harassment, proved to be equally, if not more, fearless than men in their writing.
And if the might with which DLSU’s own Cabe Aquino stands her ground does not astound you, then who knows what will.