I’ve got women on my mind.
Another annual International Women’s Day has passed where women are acknowledged and celebrated for at least a day.
I am pleased to say I know many women who are actively making a difference in our community and I applaud their efforts.
Alas, I am not one of them.
However, we should recognize how amazing women are every day.
I am reminded of the contributions women have made throughout history and would like to share with you some of their accomplishments as they broke barriers, pushed through glass ceilings and went against the social and cultural norms.
My reference source is a book written by illustrator Ann Shen entitled Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World.
The book highlights women who sometimes faced insurmountable obstacles but accomplished amazing things anyway.
I have to start with Lilith, Adam’s first wife. As she ventured to be his equal and refused to be subservient to him, she found herself kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
And we all know Lady Godiva, whose husband, a wealthy landowner, wanted to impose yet another tax on his tenants. Our gal with her long blonde tresses was opposed to this, so her hubby challenged her that if she rode through the town naked, he would abandon his tax.
You know how this story ends. You go, girl!
And what about Joan of Arc, who was called by God to save France? At age 16, she dressed as a man in order to fight alongside the French.
And history gave us two formidable queens; namely, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Catherine the Great of Russia.
Elizabeth, known as the Virgin Queen, was no virgin to be sure. She was just a cunning and intelligent woman who made England the leading world power and did it alone.
She was smart enough not to marry as she didn’t need or want a man to share or, perhaps, usurp her power.
Catherine, after getting rid of her husband, literally, modernized Russia. She was famous for her many lovers as well as her power.
Gotta love Ching Shih who in the 18th century was a pirate captain who commanded 70,000 pirates. Upon retirement, she opened a brothel.
Marie Curie, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize twice; for physics then chemistry.
Margaret Sanger, the pioneer of birth control.
Eleanor Roosevelt, who worked alongside her husband the U.S. president and was a strong advocate for women’s rights.
Mary Pickford, a Canadian who became Hollywood’s first movie star who essentially invented star power as she had a good business sense and knew her value.
Josephine Baker, showgirl, who worked as a spy for the Allied Forces in France during WWII.
Lucille Ball, the first lady of comedy who broke barriers by portraying pregnancy and birth on television.
Hedy Lamarr, the beautiful actress who was the first woman to simulate an orgasm on screen. Move over, When Harry Met Sally!
Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Coretta Scott King, the first lady of the American Civil Rights Movement.
The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was instrumental in legalizing same-sex marriages in the US.
As I said, I have women on my mind.
But today they are the women of the Ukraine who are facing their own insurmountable obstacles as they fight to preserve democracy, their freedom and their children’s future.
These women may not be famous, but they will go down in history as heroines of their own stories.
A book yet unwritten.
April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.