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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Y’all know I’m all about empowering young women and girls to believe that they can be anything and do anything. I want to raise my daughter to shoot for the stars (same goes for her little brother) and to not let anyone say she (or he, in Indy’s case) can’t do anything (except skydiving; Momma won’t allow that. Sorry, kids.).

Because of this–and my love of documentaries–I have scoured Netflix and found some awesome documentaries and docu-series that highlight amazing women (as well as causes to help young women and girls) that are absolutely amazing!

Here’s my Top Four List of “You Go, Girl!” films on Netflix:

The Ascent of Woman 

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This four-part, BBC docu-series by Dr. Amanda Foreman explores women’s history in ancient civilizations, revolutionaries, and achievements of women throughout history.

 

The Women’s List 

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This film focuses on fifteen different women from different careers and their influences on women’s issues.

 

Warrior Women

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Warrior Women is an inside-look at some kick-a ladies from history that have become legends in their own right. From Joan of Arc to Mulan, host Lucy Lawless (AKA, Xena!) tells the stories of these BAMFs.

Girl Rising

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Y’all, this one is probably my favorite. This film focuses on nine different girls from various parts of the world and documents their triumphs and struggles. Its incredibly eye-opening!

 

What about you? What are some of your favorite “girl power” shows? Any of these make your list? Share in the comments below!

Her’s Day Thursday

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When I opened my internet this morning, I got a glimpse of today’s Google Doodle:

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Intrigued, I clicked on the picture and learned that today is Hertha Marks Ayrton’s 162nd birthday. Who is Hertha Marks Aytron? I’ll tell you!

 

Phoebe Sarah Hertha Ayrton was born on April 28, 1854 in Hampshire, England. The third of eight children, Hertha (as she was later called) helped her mother care for her siblings when her father unexpectedly died in 1861. Hertha’s aunts invited her to attend a school they ran in London, knowing that Hertha would need an education to gain employment, thus helping to support the family. Hertha joined her aunts’ school and quickly found she had an affinity for math and science.

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After completing her education, Hertha worked for a short time as a governess and then pursued a college degree at Girton College, Cambridge University. She passed all the necessary exams to earn a Bachelor’s of Science, however was awarded a “certificate” instead, as Cambridge did not give degrees to women at the time. Hertha went to the University of London, took the same exams, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree.

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Hertha continued her work in mathematics, even getting published in Educational Times. In 1884, she patented a line-divider a drawing device for engineers that divides lines into any number of equal parts. This invention was not only used by engineers, but also artists and architects. This would not be her only invention. Until her death in 1923, Hertha registered twenty-six different patents!

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Hertha was a pioneer in the field of engineering. She was awarded the Hughes Medal for her works in engineering–and, as of last year, is only one of two women to ever win the award! In 2015, she was named by the Royal Society as one of the ten most influential British women in science.

 

Go, Hertha!

Her’s Day Thursday

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Earlier this week, I opened my browser and saw the CUTEST Google Doodle:

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The doodle was for Sally Ride‘s birthday and I thought, “Hey! Now I have my Her’s Day Thursday lady!”

Sally Kristen Ride was was born on May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles, CA to a women’s correctional facility counselor and a political science professor. Sally always had a heart for science and earned her bachelor’s degree (and later her master’s and Ph.D.) in English and Physics.

In 1978, Sally saw an advertisement in the Stanford school newspaper seeking people for the space program. Sally was one of 8,000 applicants and was chosen to join NASA as an astronaut.

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Being the first female astronaut, Sally faced a lot of scrutiny. During a press conference before her first space flight in 1983, Ride was asked, “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” (Really? Really?) But Sally faced it with grace. She went on to totally rock her position aboard the Challenger and became the first American woman in space, the first woman to use the robot arm in space, AND the first woman to use the robot arm to retrieve a satellite! (Take that, Howard Wolowitz!)

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Before her third mission, tragedy struck close to Ride. The Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986. After that, Ride was stationed in Washington D.C., and appointed to a presidential committee that investigated the disaster. Ride went on to found NASA’s Office of Exploration.

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In 2003, Sally founded Sally Ride Science, an organization that produces science entertainment and publications to help get middle and high school students (especially girls) excited about science!

Sadly, Sally passed in 2012, less than two years after receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Though she is gone, her legacy will live on and inspire young girls to believe in their dreams and keep shooting for the stars!

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Today’s magnificent momma is Elizabeth Blackwell!

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Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1821. Her father, a sugar refiner, believed that all of his children—including his daughters—should be educated and have the same opportunities as anyone else. This is why Mr. Blackwell not only hired a governess for his children, but also private tutors to ensure a quality education.

When she was 11, Elizabeth and her family moved to America. When they arrived, they were all deeply moved by the struggles of slaves and worked hard to help abolish slavery. When Elizabeth’s father died in 1838, Elizabeth and her sisters started a school for young women to help bring in money for the family.

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Elizabeth continued to teach and fight against slavery. In 1845, she was visiting a friend who was dying from a horribly painful disease (most likely uterine cancer). Her friend told her she wished she was being treated by a female physician because she would be more understanding and possibly have a more comforting bedside manner. This got Elizabeth thinking about a career in medicine.

With the help of a reverend friend (who was a physician before he entered the clergy) she studied anatomy. She reached out to colleges all over the world but faced rejection at every turn. Most of the rejections cited that she: “was a woman and therefore intellectually inferior”, and she “might actually prove equal to the task, prove to be competition, and that could not expect them to ‘furnish [her] with a stick to break our heads with”.

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In 1847, Elizabeth was accepted to Hobart College in New York. Two years later, she became the first woman to receive a medical degree. She faced adversity and prejudice every where she went. However, she did not let it deter her. She found other young women under her wing who had a dream to practice medicine. When the Civil War broke out, Elizabeth and her sisters trained nurses and opened infirmaries.

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She worked tirelessly the rest of her life for social and political reform, and even opened the London School of Medicine for Women in 1874. For more information about the BAMF Elizabeth Blackwell, click here!

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