March 1 will bring in Women’s History Month and I think we ought to celebrate all the phenomenal women we know. They don’t have to be well-known or have their names written in lights — I think just being important to their families and communities, surviving too much work, making do with less, squeezing every dollar until it hollered—yep, that’s what phenomenal women do and look like.
I am the second of eight children and I marvel that my mom, Alvis, who graduated from high school and married at 16, had seven of us by the time she turned 29. She and my dad did an amazing job with us and at 43, she had an eighth child. I am pretty sure I would have pulled all my hair out, one strand at a time, if I had that many little people to feed, nurture and clothe. That’s four heads to comb, four rough and tough boys whose ears had to be checked and pants patched, and though she was barely 5 feet tall, when she said move, you moved quickly without further discussion.
My late mother-in-law, Bernice, was widowed at 33, with nine children to feed. Roger said she worked for $4 a day, and it was not until a few years ago that it hit me—that’s only $20 all week! Phenomenal—look in the dictionary and there they are, beautiful and strong, along with a million others like them.
March is designated as Women’s History Month, but it is important to stop, thank, appreciate, and lift up women every day. Tall ones, short ones, skinny ones, stout ones, rowdy ones, quiet ones–we come in all moods, sizes, shapes, and shades, and we’re making our mark in every place. In 2019, it is so exciting to realize that whether it’s big business, cyber security, higher education, media, health care, banking, engineering, sports team ownership, automobiles, government, or advanced mathematics, women are raising their voices and making their mark.
This generation of young women can choose careers that didn’t exist 10 years ago and we can’t pronounce or understand. They can go and do things no other generation of women could do. Our daughters and granddaughters are confident, fearless, and amazing, and they don’t just travel the world, they conquer it. They’re running Fortune 100 companies, not nearly in the numbers they should be, but they’re running corporate boards and refusing to be relegated to cookie baking (though Mrs. Fields’ would probably say cookies have been very, very good to her and I helped every chance I got).
Women have come to recognize our collective power to move important issues to the forefront. When I was a professor I’d urge women to pay closer attention to the sports pages. “I don’t know what’s going on,” they’d say. It didn’t take a female rocket scientist to explain that for every tax dollar spent on luxury arenas or stadiums, there would be one less for parks, affordable housing, and new schools.
I stressed that every important issue was a women’s issue and worthy of their interest, attention, and advocacy. Even seemingly male stuff, like prostate cancer, is a women’s issue—remember we have husbands, brothers and fathers to protect and save.
Women have endured sexism, rape, trash talking, unwanted touches, harassment—there’s some new insult or injury almost every day—and there are many who still expect women to be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. This month we are standing tall, kicking and holding open a few doors, advocating for those things dear to our hearts and celebrating ourselves and all the women in our lives, especially those who showed us courage and perseverance are always in style.
Join me Saturday, March 9, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in Brownsville, TN at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, 121 Sunny Hill Cove, for the Fifth Annual Phenomenal Women Speak Women’s History Celebration. Expect to be inspired!
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.