It’s March and that means its Women’s History Month! In this month we reflect upon the great women of our past and present and hope to inspire those emerging female leaders who are among us in our families and neighborhoods.
Yes this is a blog post about Women’s History, but that doesn’t mean that I feel obliged to comment on the top ten, twenty, 100 list of spectacular women who have made history and have changed history. If you want a list like that, well- that’s why Al Gore “invented the internet.” Google it. What women’s history month means to me is this: One person can make a difference. One person does make a difference.
Whether you want to start an organization within your university, or fight to end homelessness within your city, or invent an innovative way to do something, or stand up for yourself against an oppressing force… YOU CAN DO IT!
Yes, “We’ve come a long way baby,” but there is sill a long way to go with regards to gender equality. The women whom we have come to know as the history changers are proof of this. Each and every one of them has demonstrated to us that women have, and will, continue to do great things!
The greatest of women leaders have sprung forth from the farthest reaching locations across our globe at assorted times in history. Each of them embraced, struggled against, and endured through dissimilar circumstances while triumphantly pursuing their cause; and in so doing, have aroused and empowered generations of other women to do the same. But dissimilar and assorted as they were, all of these women had one thing in common. They were true to themselves.
“This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” -Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Remember the story, the Emperor’s New Clothes? It was a parable about a vain monarch whose only concern in life was to wear the best garments constructed by the most popular designers. He hired two rascals posing as tailors who then made him clothes using “invisible magic fabric.” When the royal leader parades down the street in all of his stark-naked glory, nobody can see his clothes… because there aren’t any!
But the townspeople didn’t want to look “stupid” and didn’t want to embarrass the emperor or themselves, so they all pretended they could see his fabulous new wardrobe. Finally a young girl, who wasn’t concerned about fitting in with the crowd, cried out, “But the emperor has no clothes!” At times we too have pretend to go against our own beliefs to avoid being labeled as a weirdo, a freak, a prude… or the biggey- ::whispers:: a bitch.
When we do this, we find ourselves following along instinctively with the crowd, not noticing that what we are saying and doing is in fact stupid, or wrong, or disingenuous to our beliefs. To our values. To our self.
The townspeople in the Emperor’s New Clothes were afraid to go against the crowd, afraid to buck the system; but by pretending to see clothes that weren’t even there, they only robbed themselves of true power. The majority is not always right. Rosa Parks would tell you that. Susan B. Anthony would tell you that. Joan of Arc would tell you that. Erin Brockovich will tell you that.
What did all of these women who changed history have in common? What can we learn from these magnificent creatures? They were true to themselves. They stayed true to SELF.
True to self in the face of danger.
True to self in the face of ostracism.
True to self in the face of exile.
True to self in the face of obscurity.
True to self even in the face of DEATH.
Each of these women was true to HERSELF. Are you the next woman to make history? To change history? Be courageous today and follow your heart! Let yourself be guided by what you know to be deep and true.