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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: It's not a cakewalk

  • For many women today, it's not a cakewalk
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  •   When commentators fixate on all the negatives, or that which is selectively construed to be negative, they capture attention. Stuck in a hollow tube void of substance, the repetition of linguistic attacks against this Administration to affirming the latest reality-tv break-up, alerts us into believing the world is skiing down an icy slope. And yet, by the law of cause and effect, one can change the world around you. Aristotle reasoned, “If you prove the cause, you at once prove the effect; and conversely nothing can exist without its cause.”  If the caterpillar had lacked the courage to trust in the transformation that awaited him, there would be no
    butterfly.Transformation is more than just transcending a challenge or desire. It is changing how you see and feel about a situation and the world in which we live. Each completion leads to a new beginning. Yet, for many women today, “It’s Not A Cakewalk.”
        Throughout history, there have been women inspired with a purpose and determination to navigate the path of leadership and hurdle obstacles placed in their way. They stood  for equality and helped shape the future of the world as we know it. Being the last monarch of the Tudor Dynasty, Queen Elizabeth I of England was the first to successfully rule during the “Elizabethan Era.” She inspired classical ideals and great minds of Renaissance humanism. She defeated the Spanish Armada and aided the poor. She asked for uniformity between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism saying, “There is only one Jesus Christ and all the rest is a dispute over trifles.” England evaded religious wars with the 1558 Elizabethan Settlement. She died in 1603 having sacrificed personal happiness for ideal utilitarianism.
        By the end of the 19th century, unusual intrepid, eccentric women broke with tradition to leave Victorian England and travel the globe on their own. Isabella Bird, advised by doctors that travel would improve her frail health, set out at age 23 to see the world. Her adventures led her to experience the diverse mix of Asian cultures and equestrian journeys in Hawaii and North America. By age forty, those journeys she wrote of earned her election as the first woman fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Her fame lives on through a unique clothing line for women. The “Isabella Bird Collection” is sold today by “Territory Ahead.”
        Other achievers were women like Susan B. Anthony. The women’s rights movement of 1852 led her to dedicate her life to women’s suffrage. Her groundwork allowed women to gradually realize the power of their citizenship and vote. Like Eleanor Roosevelt, they were awakened to a new level of independence in 1919. She become the political surrogate for her husband, Franklin Roosevelt. She also created a niche for herself by volunteering for the American Red Cross which was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton who had treated injured Union soldiers during the Civil War. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean giving opening for other women to take to the skies. Pearl S. Buck became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In her novel, “The Good Earth,” she tells how a woman endured giving birth in the rice fields. She simply squated, delivered the baby by herself, then straped the newborn infant to her back and continued working. It’s difficult to comprehend the ways many suffered and toiled while paving the way to a better life. In the late 1960s, Gloria Steinem became nationally recognized as a feminist leader for the women’s liberation movement. She helped redefine a sense for gender equality even  though rejected by some believing the myth of their own inferiority. The unparalleled dedication of Hillary Clinton and her commitment to making the world a better place speaks for itself. She has inherent ability to become our first female president, but how does a confident woman hurdle the scarcity mentality that fear creates in some men with power?  It’s fear that drives extremist politicians to make ridiculous war on women.They  attempt to take us down the hole to Wonderland with the unreliable White Rabbit to guide us. But, If these men were having babies, they’d all be in therapy. They’d  certainly want different policies then what they place on women today. They’d discover that our gender inequality is “not a cake walk.” Taking courage from portraits of strong women throughout history, we too can let our voices be heard. Prolific American author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou left a major footprint on history before her recent death.  She said,  “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”  
    Page 2 of 2 - And, that’s my opinion. . . .
     

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