Her’s Day Thursday

 

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During the Oscars this past Sunday, GE debuted an awesome new commercial. Didn’t see it? No worries! I’ve got it right here:

 

I. LOVE. THIS.

(Also, the irony that this commercial was played during an awards show honoring celebrities was not lost on me)

I wish great women like Millie Dresselhaus were held to the same esteem as celebrities. And Millie deserves it! She was the first female professor at MIT (she taught physics and electrical engineering) and has won several awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science (among more than a dozen others)!

You can learn more about Millie here!

Her’s Day Thursday

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Y’all, today’s BAMF is absolutely amazing! I’m just going to jump right in because I am so excited to share her story with you!

Lyudmila Pavlichenko (whom I will refer to here on out as “Mila”) was born on July 12, 1916 in Bila Tserkva, Russia. When she was 14 years old, she moved to Kyiv and joined a shooting club. She became an amateur sharpshooter while she worked at the Kyiv Arsenal Factory. Mila went through university and eventually graduated with a Master’s Degree in history in 1937.

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Mila continued her education at the Kyiv University and, in June 1941, was aghast when Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union and bombed her beloved school. She was one of the first volunteers to step inside a recruiting office, requesting to join the infantry. First, she was offered a position as a nurse, but she turned it down. Soon, however, she was assigned to the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division.

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She was one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army, though only 500 or so survived the war. Mila was sent all over, racking up a total of 309 kills, which included 36 enemy snipers! In 1942, Mila was wounded by mortar fire and taken off the front lines. She was gaining much notoriety and the leaders of the Red Army were afraid for her safety.

She spent much of her time after that visiting Allied countries and was invited to the White House (the first Soviet to ever be received by an American president) by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She met Eleanor Roosevelt and the two formed a great friendship.

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While in the U.S., Mila was shocked by the questions she received by journalists. She is quoted as saying, “One reporter even criticized the length of the skirt of my uniform, saying that in America women wear shorter skirts and besides my uniform made me look fat.” During a speaking engagement in Chicago, Mila decided she had had enough. She said, ““Gentlemen, I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist invaders by now. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?” (Tell ‘em, girl!)

Mila eventually went back to the Soviet Union, where she earned the rank of Major. She never saw combat but trained snipers until the end of the war. Mila was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, got her picture on a postage stamp, and was even written about in song by Woody Guthrie!

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Mila proved that it didn’t matter that she was a woman; she was tough as nails and could fight fascism just as well (or even better!) than anyone else!

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Her’s Day Thursday

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Its a new year and I’ve got a new lady from history who went “beast mode” before there ever was such a term! Today’s BAMF is Violet Jessop (AKA, the woman with amazing luck!).

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Violet Jessop was born on October 1, 1887 to Irish immigrants. Violet was soon joined by eight other siblings (sadly, only 6 survived). When Violet was young, she was hit with tuberculosis. Her condition was so severe that doctors did not believe she would live. She proved them wrong by coming through the illness just as strong as ever.

After her father passed away from complications to a surgery, Violet, her mother, and the younger children moved to England. There, Violet attended a convent school and cared for the children while her mother worked as a stewardess at sea. Not long after, Violet’s mother became ill. She left school and became a stewardess for the Royal Mail Line aboard the ship Orinoco in 1908.

Two years later, Violet was given a job aboard the RMS Olympic (a luxury ship; the largest at the time). On September 20, 1911, the Olympic left its port at Southampton and collided with the HMS Hawke, a British war ship. Thankfully, there were no fatalities and the Olympic was able to get back to port without sinkingThis would not be Violet’s only harrowing adventure at sea.

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The next April, 1912, Violet began working as a stewardess aboard the RMS Titanic. Oh yes, Violet was there on the fateful night that the Titanic hit an iceberg. Violet was working below deck when she was ordered to come up, as to be an example to non-English speakers of how to behave calmly. Violet was put onto a lifeboat where one of the boat’s officers handed her a baby. She, and the others on her lifeboat, were rescued the next morning by the Carpathia. While aboard the Carpathia, Violet was still holding the baby she was given the night before. A woman came up to her (most likely the child’s mother) and took the baby from her arms.

You would think THAT experience would be enough to deter Violet from ever boarding a ship again. Nope. During WWI, Violet worked as a stewardess for The British Red Cross.

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She was aboard the Britannic on November 21, 1916 when the ship either hit a mine hidden by German troops or was blasted by a torpedo. The large ship had sunk in less than an hour, taking 30 lives with it. But it did not take Violet. She made it to a lifeboat in time, though she had to jump out of it and swim for her life as the ship’s propellers were sucking lifeboats under the waves.

Again, Violet was not turned off by the sea. She went to work for Red Star Line and made two tours around the world. She later retired in 1950. Want to tell your kids about Violet? Check out this video!

 

You can also grab a copy of Violet’s memoirs here!

 

I think Molly Brown should give her nickname to Violet Jessop–the woman who wouldn’t go down with the ship!

Her’s Day Thursday

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Though it is very historic that, this year, a woman has become her party’s candidate for the presidential election, another woman holds the title of first woman to run for President of the United States. That distinction goes to today’s leading lady: Victoria Claflin Woodhull.

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Victoria was born in 1838 in rural Ohio, the seventh of ten children, to Roxanna and Reuben Claflin. Her mother was illiterate and her father was an abusive con man, making his money as a snake oil salesman. When she was just a few days past her fifteenth birthday, Victoria married her first husband with whom she had two children. She later divorced him, finding out he was an alcoholic and womanizer. Back in the 1850’s, divorce was scandalous and was much stigmatized for the woman. This catapulted Victoria into becoming a voice for women who were forced to stay in loveless and often abusive marriages.

Victoria began working to support herself and her children as well as fighting for women’s rights. She and her sister, Tennessee, became the first female stock brokers in 1870, and opened their own firm. Victoria ended up making a fortune on stocks and helped Cornelius Vanderbilt make his millions.

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Victoria decided to amp up her fight to gain the right to vote for herself and all American women. She testified before a House Judiciary Committee and argued that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the power to vote, they just needed to act on it. She pointed out that the Amendments protected the right to vote for all citizens. After this, Victoria was sought out by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Isabella Beecher Hooker to become a part of their movement that was gaining momentum.

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That same year, Victoria and her sister founded a newspaper—Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly. Most of the articles focused on women’s issues of the day such as suffrage and women’s education. However, it has become best known for exposing the hypocrisy of Pastor Henry Ward Beecher who preached fidelity in his masses, but was secretly having an affair with a church member. The article prompted criminal charges to be filed against Beecher and a trial (which ended in a hung jury) soon followed.

Victoria was nominated for president in 1872 by the Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass named as her running mate. (Douglass never commented on the nomination.) Victoria and her sister were arrested the day before the election for “publishing an obscene newspaper” because of the story on Beecher’s affair. They were held for a month in jail, thus preventing Victoria from attempting to vote in the election. Unshaken, Victoria continued her fight for women’s equality and ran for president years later in 1884 and 1892.

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Victoria fought for women and for their voices to be heard until her dying day. She truly has earned the title of Kick-A Woman in History!

Her’s Day Thursday

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If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that I love to write about strong women. Especially strong women that have paved the way for future generations in lines of work that are predominantly male. So when I saw this trailer, I literally got goosebumps!

 

 

The film, Hidden Figures, tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson (a physicist, space scientist, and mathematician, respectively); three incredible women who used their brain power to help the Project Mercury mission (aka, the mission in which John Glenn orbited the Earth)  a success. Not only did these women break massive ground for women in STEM fields, but also for women of color.

(The film is actually an adaption of a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Read more about it here!)

 

 

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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A few weeks ago, huff the Hubs and I watched an interesting docu-series on life in the 1960’s. While watching, we learned about an awesome lady named Rachel Carson. I didn’t know anything about her until this documentary and quickly decided that EVERYONE needed to know about this wonderful woman!

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Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907, near Springdale, Pennsylvania. As a child, Rachel loved to read; mostly stories about the natural world and animals. Being inspired, she wrote stories while playing on her family’s farm.

When Rachel graduated high school, she studied at the Pennsylvania College for Women; first as an English major, but quickly changed to biology. While at PCW, she kept up her love of writing and wrote for the school newspaper.

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She was admitted to Johns Hopkins University for their graduate program, but had to stay in Pennsylvania because of financial problems. Soon, however, she was able to transfer to Johns Hopkins and earned a masters in zoology. After earning her degree, tragedy struck and Carson had to care for her family after her father died. She took a position with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and wrote copy for a radio program designed to garner the public’s interest in wildlife.

Her boss loved her work and, in 1936, she was given a position as a junior aquatic biologist (only the second woman at the time). Carson continued her work and research, writing several books about wildlife and nature. In 1962, however, her most well-known book, Silver Spring was published.

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Silver Spring was an investigation into the harmful affects of pesticides used on crops and the environment. Her book was the catalyst to the modern environmental movement and helped speed up the outlawing of DDT.

Though she was met with criticism and push-back (mostly from chemical companies and those lawmakers in their pockets) Carson didn’t waiver. She continued to find more and more research showing just how harmful these chemicals were.

Carson passed away in 1964. Six years later, under President Nixon’s administration, the Environmental Protection Agency was created; many credit Carson’s work to its creation. During President Jimmy Carter’s time in office, he awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Thanks, Rachel, for helping to protect our environment and our food!

 

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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Today’s Her’s Day Thursday leading lady has a career that is on pointe. She has really raised the barre for herself (I’m cracking up at my hilarious wordplay; you’ll get it in a second becaaaause…). I’m talking about Misty Copeland!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--MAY 22, 2014--Prima ballerina Misty Copeland will be a make history as the 1st African-American woman to dance the lead role of Swanilda in the famous ballet Coppelia. She will also be a guest judge on "So You Think You Can Dance." Portrait of Copeland taken at Lincoln Center of Mary 22, 2014.  (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

 

Misty Copeland was born in Kansas City, MO on September 10, 1982 and later moved to California. When Misty was seven years old, she watched the film Nadia (an AWESOME movie!) that chronicled the life of gymnast Nadia Comăneci. She fell in love with gymnastics (mainly the choreographed floor routines) as well as ballet. She soon joined a free ballet class at her local Boys and Girls Club. The instructor saw her talent at the after school classes and convinced Misty to join her classes at the San Pedro Dance Center.

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As Misty trained, her instructor saw that she was a prodigy. Misty soon gained roles in major productions, earning solos and lead roles in local ballets. It wasn’t until last year, however, that Misty got her “big break”. She was signed as the first African American woman to be promoted to Principle Dancer for the American Ballet Theatre!

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The honors keep coming for Misty, as this year Mattel announced that Misty would be immortalized as a Barbie doll in the company’s “Sheroes” line, featuring famous women who are leaders in their fields!

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For more about Misty and her career, visit her website here!