March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. When you work within a continuing care retirement community, you become a witness to women who have led extraordinary lives, accomplished their dreams, shaped the lives of their families, experienced an array of heartbreaks and triumphs, and inspired countless people along the way. We are fortunate to play a small part in their stories.
It seemed fitting, in honor of Women’s History Month, to ask who provides inspiration to our female residents and team members. As you’ll notice, the women who inspire us are as generationally, politically, and culturally diverse as those who submitted responses.
“I admire and feel inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt who I considered a beautiful lady inside and out. She smiled at me from a distance and I felt her sincerity immediately.” – Rita F.
“One of the first inspirations for me as a girl in high school was Maya Angelou. After hearing her read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at my high school sophomore year, I was inspired to pursue women’s studies via poetry and literature. Her work inspires my own literary work to this day, and I don’t think women’s place in the arts, literature, or feminism would be the same without her outstanding influence.” – Brittany Bl.
“I admire the ‘I can do anything’ qualities in women and not the radical libber, bra burning types of the late 60’s. Even when my appearance emulated music idol Cher during the 60’s, my somewhat naïve Midwesterner values remained intact. Which may explain my ability to raise two remarkable sons, survive breast cancer at 55, endure a shattered elbow at 59, and find strength to build a 12×12’ deck at 60? All this plus more only confirms my belief that all women are incredible humans!” – Rhonda G.
“Someone who inspires me is Emma Watson. She is an actress of my generation who has made it big by starring in movies and performing on Broadway. She is an inspiration because she is one of the leading activists for gender equality. She is a face for a campaign called ‘He for She’, which strives to improve equality for women by recruiting men to openly speak out against sexism.” – Brittany Bi.
“Helen Keller for overcoming such huge handicaps.” – Jane L.
“I have so many because I am inspired daily by the courage of so many women! Those that risk their lives protecting us from harm as policewomen, and military personnel. Those women that put their lives on the line as firefighters. All of the teachers in our great country that followed their dream to teach and do it with such passion and vigor that they put such a lasting impression in a child’s mind, as well as their heart. The female doctors that strive to save lives and cure diseases as well, or better, than any man out there. The late Princess Diana, Coretta Scott King, Mother Teresa, and Jackie Kennedy are some ladies that I admire. They shined in adversity, and triumphed over obstacles in their lives that could have caused them to turn away but they continued to hold their heads up high and give back despite the tragedy in their own lives. They truly believed in helping others and equality for all. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and worked tirelessly to not appear weak or as a victim, but yet as an example of victory over their own circumstances and as an advocate for others that didn’t have the ability to advocate for themselves.” – Marie G
“Jerry Mock was the first woman to fly solo around the world. Her Cessna plane ‘Spirit of Columbus’ logged 29 days, 21 stop overs, and 23,000 miles following her take off from Columbus, Ohio on April 17, 1964. When she landed in Egypt their personnel searched the plane to find a man flying the plane! During the flight, she wore a skirt, sweater, and leather heels. Jerry was a full-time housewife. She and her husband Russell had three children and he worked closely with her to plan her trip. Unfortunately, nothing of world or national consequence evolved from this amazing accomplishment. Jerry died October 2, 2014 in Florida. She should be remembered and recognized for her achievement by the country and by women.” – Sylvia D.
“Grandma Moses who started painting at the age of 76 and didn’t stop until she died at 101, proving you’re never too old to start your dreams. Evita Peron for her tireless fight for the poor and for women equality. Even though she died at a young age she accomplished much and made an impact on Argentina. (Also, my favorite musical) Oprah Winfrey has accomplished milestone after milestone. She was the first woman to own her own talk show she is widely influential in many different ways and all this after overcoming a tumultuous childhood. Showing that your past does not have to dictate your future. Madonna for always pushing the limit and becoming the most successful female musician of all time.” – Allison G.
“I deeply admire people who do the right thing such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Corrie ten Boom who lived decades and continents apart but displayed amazing courage against the culture. Ms. Stowe, an author who dared to write a book on the evils of slavery, helped turn the tide of public opinion dramatically, fanning the flames of the Civil War. Ms. Ten Boom helped Jews escape from Nazis in the Netherlands, saving 800 lives but herself ending up imprisoned at the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Because they acted on their belief that every human life has dignity and worth, both these women advanced the common good in society, impacted countless lives and helped change the course of history!” – Jennifer R
“Growing up, I had great love and respect for my grandmother who was always ‘calm, cool, and collected,’ and raised not only her eight children but also five nieces and nephews when an accident took the lives of their parents. When I asked her about how she remained serene and tranquil during trying times she replied, ‘Well, I often have to give myself a little talking to!’ Before her marriage, she had been a teacher, which was unusual in the 1880s. It was the custom for men to be the teachers and women went to ‘finished schools.’ Her two older brothers who had been to college coached her to help her pass the Virginia Qualifying Exam. From all accounts she enjoyed teaching and her students loved her. Grandmother passed away in 1956 at age 92.” – Millie L.