Throughout our history, the labor movement has accomplished a lot. If you get weekends off or overtime pay, thank the union members who fought for those rights. None of our movement’s achievements would have happened without the effort, organization and advocacy of our brothers and sisters. But injustice still runs amok. We must look to the past not only for inspiration, but for the tools we need to continue the fight. The roots of the problems we face today can be found in our past. So can the beginnings of the solutions we need for our future.
When 90 percent of Icelandic women refused to work, and the country fell into chaos, they had succeeded.
On Friday, October 24, 1975, telephone lines went down; families scrounged for food; theaters cancelled performances; even the following day’s newspaper was half its average length. On an island with just 220,000 inhabitants, the country simply could not go on without the help of women.
One year after the strike, Iceland formed the Gender Equality Council and passed the Gender Equality Act against discrimination in the workplace. Four years after that, Finnbogadottir was elected president. She called Women’s Day Off a watershed moment for women’s emancipation, and she stood as one of its major symbols of progress. “The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge,” she recalled.
At a time when women were widely expected to spend a life in the home, Lee shattered one glass ceiling after another. From speaking out in the classroom to organizing Chinese American women to secure the right to vote, Lee’s bold vision for Chinatown is very much alive in our community today
In 1992, Aleksandar Hemon traveled to Chicago on a journalistic exchange — and, when his native Bosnia was engulfed by war, found himself stranded. He wrote his first short story in English in 1995. Since then, the literary accolades have flowed, including a 2003 Guggenheim Foundation grant, a 2004 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, two PEN awards, and two National Magazine Awards. His first novel, The Lazarus Project (2008), was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Last fall, Hemon joined the Program in Creative Writing as a professor. His latest work is two conjoined memoirs: My Parents: An Introduction and This Does Not Belong to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The family memoir came first. But as he revisited his childhood, Hemon says, “a lot of strange, interesting and baffling memories popped up,” and he assembled those “fragments and reflections” into This Does Not Belong to You.
Anne Shaw spent only four years at the College of New Jersey, but her short employment signified an important shift in the makeup of Princeton’s staff.
Hired in 1877 as the assistant to the librarian, Frederic Vinton, Shaw is believed to be the first female employee to fill a non-service role on campus. That also made her one of about only 15 percent of American women who worked for pay in the 1870s.
The stories, accomplishments and lives of Black women have never traditionally had a place of importance in mainstream history. For centuries, achievements reached by Black women have only ever been celebrated in the Black community, amongst those who knew how big of a deal it was. But as the years have gone by, society has learned not only to embrace these milestones, but finally celebrate the noteworthy accomplishments Black women have brought to the table: Althea Gibson was the first Black woman to compete in the Wimbledon Championships (and win, paving the way for Venus and Serena Williams); Michelle Obama became the first Black First Lady of the United States, who used her platform to spread knowledge about equality, nutrition and general kindness.
But before the world knew the Gibsons, the Obamas and the Harrises, there were the Chisholms, the Hamers and the Mahoneys. From as far back as the 1800s to present day, Black women have been shaking up societal norms and becoming vanguards for positions now deemed normal for a Black woman today to have. These seven women took admirable steps in their respective fields over the last 141 years to become medical experts, politicians, inventors and the like so the Black woman of today could follow their dreams as well.
Photo: Rebeca Todd GoNOLA September 5, 2017 By Jenny Bahn The bar was three rows deep with pill box hats and slingback heels. On September 26, 1949, a platoon of women elbowed their way into the Roosevelt Hotel, that grand white beast just south of Canal, in pursuit of equal rights and the best drinks in town. They found both …
The story of three black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.