Photo credit: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development
In 2009, a former secretary named Joyce Banda became the first female vice president of the country of Malawi. That itself is an amazing accomplishment, but Joyce is an amazing woman — she followed this up in 2012 by becoming the first female president of Malawi (and only the second woman to be elected president of an African country).
Committed to her citizens, especially the women of Malawi, Joyce has spent years working both in and out of politics to improve living conditions in her country. She is the founder of several organizations such as the Joyce Banda Foundation for Better Education, the Young Women Leaders Network, National Association of Business Women and the Hunger Project in Malawi. In 2006, she was given the International Award for the Health and Dignity of Women by the Americans for United Nations Population Fund for her dedication to the rights of the women of Malawi. Notably, even as president Joyce does not consider herself above her fellow citizens and she is willing to share in their struggles in real ways. When Malawi had to implement austerity measures in 2012 to try to get the country’s economy back on track, Joyce herself took a voluntary 30% cut in her salary.
Quotes from Joyce Banda:
“Africa is changing…and we are doing better than most countries. America is still struggling to put a woman in the White House, but we have two, so we’re doing fine.”
“It is only when a women is economically empowered that she can negotiate at household level with her husband about the number of children that body of hers can have.”
“I had three children, in an abusive marriage. And then finally I said, no. I have to walk out. For the sake of my children… So for me when I talk about the importance of economic empowerment of women, it’s because I tried it.”
“I want all of us to move into the future with hope and with the spirit of oneness and unity… I hope we shall stand united and I hope that as a God-fearing nation we allow God to come before us, because if we don’t do that then we have failed.”
I wasn’t very long ago that my co-blogger wrote about being hard-hit by the news and needing to find HOPE. And here we are again, many of us with hearts bleeding for Boston and Texas and other places around the world where despair rages. As long as we keep getting news, we’ll never have a shortage of despair, it seems. And as long as we have despair, we’ll need to cling to hope. So instead of our usual Quotable Nerdy Chick Feature, this week I wanted to share what some great people have said hope.
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must of felt what it is to die … that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. – Alexandre Dumas
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
J.R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings :
The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.
Martin Luther King Jr. :
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
Michelle Obama :
You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.
Sunsets like this one in Beaufort somehow give me hope.
Vera Wang (b. 1949) is an American fashion designer. A former figure skater, she started her design career in 1971 with Vogue magazine and then worked as a design director for Ralph Lauren. Wang has been awarded many honors including being named Womenswear Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designers of America. Celebrities such as Halle Berry and Meg Ryan have worn her designs. To learn more about this fabulous designer click HERE.
Vera Wang Quotes:
Ready-to-wear is what I’ve wanted to do since the beginning…I’m not a girl who spends my life in a ballgown
A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.
As the mother of two daughters, I have great respect for women. And I don’t ever want to lose that.
Design is about point of view, and there should be some sort of woman or lifestyle or attitude in one’s head as a designer.
When you have a passion for something then you tend not only to be better at it, but you work harder at it too.
Every time I see a Vera Wang dress I love it. What an eye for line she has! And I agree with what she says about passion too….
Isak Dinesen is the pen name use by Karen Blixen (1885-1962). She was a Danish author and explorer. She is best known for her autobiographical book, Out of Africa, about her time in Kenya. To find more interesting facts click HERE. Isak Dinesen Quotes:
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.
The entire being of a woman is a secret which should be kept.
To be a person is to have a story to tell.
Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever…
How much do you love that first quote? I think it might be my new favorite!
*Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231]
One thing I enjoy about blogging is the opportunity it gives me to learn. Today when I went online to find quotes for our Quotable Nerdy Chick feature, I stumbled across the above logo and decided it was worth noting that today is International Women’s Day. This is something I didn’t know when I woke up this morning. If you click on the logo, it will take you to the official site. A demand for better working conditions for women, drove the movement to recognize this day.
I pulled a quote from the International Women’s Day site to share today:
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem
Most of you are probably aware that this is Women’s History Month. Should I admit that I didn’t realize this until last week when I was gathering information for a previous post? Should I? I know my co-blogger would advise me not to admit my ignorance, but there you have it. And in case any of you were unaware, or want to find out more about it, click HERE. The link will take you to my favorite page on the Women’s History Month site, where thumbnails of Library of Congress photos of women will link you to collections from images of the United States first ladies to Rosie the Riveter inspired images.
Women demonstrating, 100 years ago, for the right to vote.
Five thousand women marched along Pennsylvania Avenue and demanded the right to vote. This was a huge step toward being awarded that right on August 26, 1920. So today we celebrate Sudan B Anthony’s words of wisdom. Anthony (1820-1906) is known for her work with the United States’ women’s rights movement. Today, nerdy chicks everywhere salute her eloquence.
Susan B. Anthony Quotes
• It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.
• Men – their rights and nothing more; Women – their rights and nothing less.
• The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball — the further I am rolled the more I gain.
• I can’t say that the college-bred woman is the most contented woman. The broader her mind the more she understands the unequal conditions between men and women, the more she chafes under a government that tolerates it.
• I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.
• If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.
• Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood.
Today’s Quotable Nerdy Chick is someone I have admired for a long time. Michelle Rhee is the daughter of Korean immigrants who has become a force on the American education stage. Not everyone agrees with her positions — I can’t say that I always do, either — but it is impossible to deny her passion for school reform and her commitment to every child’s right to a quality education.
Michelle started her career as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1997, she founded The New Teacher Project, a non-profit organization that has trained over 43,000 teachers to work in many of our country’s city schools. Between 2007 and 2010, she was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, and when she left that position, she founded StudentsFirst, an organization which is devoted to political advocacy on education reform issues.
Quotes from Michelle Rhee:
“As a nation, we should get engaged and involved in changing laws that are not serving kids.”
“Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost?”
On the perceived failures of the public education system: “I have talked with too many teachers to believe this is their fault. I know they are working furiously in a system that for many years has not appreciated them — sometimes not even paying them on time or providing textbooks. Those who categorically blame teachers for the failures of our system are simply wrong.”
“My job is to hear all the input, and then as the leader, then decide which are the things that I think are going to move student achievement forward in this district. And I have to make those decisions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not listening. It just means I have to choose to take into consideration all of that input.”
On teacher’s unions: “People often say to me the teachers unions are here to stay, that they are big players, that I have to find a way to get along. I actually disagree with that. It’s important for us to lay out on the table what we’re willing to do, but what our bottom line is for kids. The bottom line is that if you can’t come to agreement then you have to push your agenda in a different way, and we’re absolutely going to do that.”
“Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”
Tina Fey (b. 1970) is an American comedian, writer, and producer. I’ve been a fan since first seeing her on Saturday Night Live. This week marked the final episode of 30 Rock, a show Fey wrote for and starred in. The list of awards she has received for writing and acting is very long and includes Emmys, Golden Globes, and People’s Choice Awards. To find out more about this smart, funny woman click HERE.
Tina Fey Quotes:
Mary Tyler Moore was a working woman whose story lines were not always about dating and men. They were about work and friendships and relationships, which is what I feel my adult life has mostly been about.
Somewhere around the fifth or seventh grade I figured out I could ingratiate myself to people by making them laugh. Essentially, I was just trying to make them like me. But after a while it became part of my identity.
Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.
I became immersed in the cult of improvisation. I was like one of those athletes trying to get into the Olympics. It was all about blind focus. I was so sure that I was doing exactly what I’d been put on this earth to do, and I would have done anything to make it onto that stage.
Confidence is ten percent hard work and ninety percent delusion.
Don’t worry about trying to change opinions. Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.
I love what she says about confidence… and even though I think it’s probably a true statement, I cling to the delusion!
In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed a woman named Frances Perkins as Secretary of the Department of Labor. This was the first time a woman held a cabinet position in the United States. She held this position for twelve years, the longest tenure of any Secretary of Labor. That means Frances was not only the first time a woman to enter the presidential line of succession, but that she was in line for the job for over a decade. As astonishing as this is, Frances was probably so used to breaking convention by that point that it hardly shortened her stride. After all, she went to court to defend her right to keep her own name after she got married (in a time when women were really only known by their association with men) and she was sole wage earner in her family. As Secretary of Labor through the New Deal, Frances put a lasting mark on American life and culture. We can thank her for things like social security, unemployment insurance, federal child labor laws, and the federal minimum wage. Find out more about this amazing Nerdy Chick HERE.
Frances Perkins Quotes:
“Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees.”
“The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.”
“I promise to use what brains I have to meet problems with intelligence and courage. I promise that I will be candid about what I know. I promise to all of you who have the right to know, the whole truth so far as I can speak it. If I have been wrong, you may tell me so, for I really have no pride in judgment.”
“Most of man’s problems upon this planet, in the long history of the race, have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage.”
On August 14, 1969, Dr. Dorothy Hodgkin used a science she had pioneered — X-ray crystallography — to decipher the three-dimensional structure of insulin, a protein that plays an important role in diabetes. This discovery helped scientists understand how to treat the symptoms of diabetes. What is remarkable is that this momentious discovery was made after Dorothy had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964, only the third woman to ever win this Nobel Prize (the other two were Marie Curie in 1911 and her daughter, Irene Joliet-Curie, in 1935). Dorothy was awarded the Nobel Prize for her work on the structure of a different important molecule, vitamin B-12.
For most people, a Nobel prize would be enough. Not Dorothy! She also was the second woman to receive the Order of Merit (after Florence Nightingale), the first woman to receive the Copley Medal, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize, the Longstaff Medal, the Mikhail Lomonosov Gold Medal, the Dimitrov Prize 1984. Oh, and she’s on a stamp, too. Learn more about Dorothy HERE.
Quotes from Dorothy Hodgkin:
“I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.”
“I meant to, to study chemistry, and it was really intended by my family that, whatever happened, I should go to Oxford, which was where my father had been before me, because sadly he had no boys, so I had to manage.”
“There are two moments that are important. There’s the moment when you know you can find out the answer and that’s the period you are sleepless before you know what it is. When you’ve got it and know what it is, then you can rest easy.”
“One’s tendency when one is young is to do experiments just to see what will happen, without really looking for specific things at all. I first set up a little laboratory in the attic at home just to grow crystals or try experiments described in books, such as adding a lot of concentrated sulfuric acid to the blood from a nosebleed which precipitates hemotin from the hemoglobin in the blood. That was quite a nice experiment. I still remember it.”