I admit that I read the news every day with a female bias. After studying women for so long, I can’t help that my eyes always search for the women’s angle of every story. Today I didn’t have to look far. The big news flash was the photo of the largest ever number of women in Congress (101 across both houses.) The group shot of them in their bright red and blue suits was quite inspired.
But today’s obituaries told an even more inspirational story. Four amazing, largely unsung women died–all women who carved major ground for important reasons, without cameras flashing or twitterscape buzz. The youngest was Rebecca Tarbotton, 39, an environmentalist who, among other achievements, got Disney to reduce its use of paper cut from rainforests. Catherine O’Neill, 70, grew up as the daughter of immigrant parents, to become a leading advocate for the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women. Jayne Cortez, 78, was a jazz poet, a central figure of the Black Arts Movement with a talent for lyrics decrying violence against women. And finally, at 92, we lost Gerda Lerna, a pioneering feminist who is the reason women’s history even exists as a field of study. A rebel with a cause from her escape from Nazi Germany, she applied her drive and brilliance on behalf of women everywhere.
I just wanted to pause to take it in. Not just the idea that women are front and center in the Senate and the House. But that so many women are working tirelessly under the radar to make a better world. No votes. No credit. No sound bites. Just hard work, talent and heart. Women’s work…my kind of headlines.
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