When Bella Abzug was 13, her father died. There was no one to say the Mourner’s Kaddish for him in synagogue because that was the responsibility of the sons of the deceased — and Bella’s father didn’t have any sons. So Bella defied her community and said the prayers herself. It was one of her first feminist actions.
The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Bella started giving speeches about causes that were important to her in her childhood — speaking out in subways because she had no other pulpit. Over the course of her life, however, Bella found greater stages to stand on and larger audiences to listen to her words. including the House of Representatives, where she served from 1971 to 1977. She supported civil rights and women’s rights, and changed the world for the better.
Quotes from Bella Abzug:
- “We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. We want an equal share in government and we mean to get it.”
- “Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.”
- “The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.”
- “Women have been and are prejudiced, narrow minded, reactionary, even violent. Some women. They, of course, have a right to vote and a right to run for office. I will defend that right, but I will not support them or vote for them.”
- “They used to give us a day–it was called International Women’s Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn’t behave and here we are.”
- “All of the men on my staff can type.”
Learn more about Bella HERE.