Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Great Women In History: March is National Women's History Month

Women have played an instrumental role in both world and American history.

Imagine glamorous Queen Cleopatra when she ruled the sand swept hills of Egypt with the greatest intelligence, grace, and dignity.

Unfortunately, many history books portray her as a devious siren who used her sensuality to seduce both Mark Antony and Julius Caesar.

Those tomes fail to diverge the fact that she penned many books and scholarly papers and spoke several languages including Greek in order to converse with the peoples of her kingdom.

Cleopatra's legacy lived on through her daughter with Mark Antony, Cleopatra Selene, who was a powerful and intelligent woman in her own right.

You can read the teen historical fiction novel, Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter (YA Shecter) which blends historical facts and fiction to create a dramatic and satisfying read of this ancient ruler. Read my review of this book by clicking on the "Book Reviews" tab under the date December 7, 2011.

Examine the courage of the early suffragettes who in the 1800's forged the way for the passing of the ratification of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920 that allowed every American woman full voting rights.

Their strength and diligence enabled them to endure both physical and emotional hardships, incarceration and humiliation.

Some of these brave and influential women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton quickly come to mind. Sadly, many of these steadfast and determined women's names have been lost in history, but their voices are clear and distinct every election year as women line up to vote in local and presidential elections.

Viewers of the movie Iron Jawed Angels (DVD Iron) can envision the hardships felt by suffragettes Alice Paul and Lucy Burns who crusaded for the women's right to vote.

Reminisce over the intellectual and oratory ability of Victoria Woodhull who decided to become the first U.S. woman to run for presidential office in 1872.

Children can learn more about this remarkable woman by reading A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull by Kathleen Krull (J 921 Woodhull).

So who are your favorite female role models and why? They can either be famous or everyday. They could be your sister, mother, or next-door-neighbor. Please comment below by clicking on the brown highlighted link next to "Posted by Jennifer at...".

Below you will find a list of who my favorite female heroines are and why.

  1. My mother because she is the strongest, most caring, kind, hardworking and intelligent woman I know whose beauty shines through both inside and out. She will always be my first and best friend. 
  2. Deborah Sampson (B. December 17, 1760 D. April 29, 1827) disguised herself as a man named Robert Shurtleff (there are multiple other spellings of this name) in order to fight in the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately due to a fever, Ms. Sampson was admitted to a hospital where her true identity was found and she was honorably discharged. She went on to marry a farmer named Benjamin Gannett and raise three children. One account states that they also adopted an orphan child: National Women's History Museum Deborah Sampson. The gallant male patriot, Paul Revere helped Deborah gain a military pension for her service. Other websites about this amazing woman include: History of Us and Distinguished Women of the Past.
  3. Elizabeth Blackwell (February 3, 1821 - May 31, 1910) First woman to gain a medical degree from a medical school in the United States. Read more about her fantastic feat by perusing these websites: Elizabeth Blackwell and
  4. Cleopatra (As stated above) an educated, elegant, and majestic woman.