Women’s History Month
Recognizing Florence Nightingale’s Influence in the Women’s Movement
March is Women’s History Month
“Yes, and…” we’re also celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Many of the museums here in DC have special exhibits to educate the public about the costs of that struggle. It’s so moving to see the photos and read about how these women, the Suffragettes*, did suffer for our freedom. (*suffrage is an antiquated use of the word, which means to ‘to allow,’ as when Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me…”)
On that note, it’s also appropriate to recognize Florence Nightingale’s influence in the Women’s Movement in her time. Actually, we might call Nightingale a poster child for the rights of women and the downtrodden in her day. (Note: It wasn’t known as a ‘movement’ at all, back in her day. As a nurse, I giggle when I think what Nightingale would say about that name!)
The whole idea of educating women for the profession of nursing was her grassroots attempt to bring non-aristocratic women dignity and elevate their status. In that time, there wasn’t much a gal could do to earn money outside the home…other than the ‘oldest profession.’
As a matter of fact, in most cultures then, women weren’t allowed to enter into a university, own property, or have a bank account. They were considered property of their husbands, as were their children. In some cultures, this is still the case.
Did you know? To coincide with Women’s History Month 2011, the White House issued a 50-year progress report on the status of women in the United States. They found that younger women are now more likely than their male counterparts to hold a college degree and that the number of men and women in the labor force has nearly equalized.
There’s progress! (‘Still working on the equal wages aspect!)
So, here’s to you ladies, wherever you are. Let’s use that hard-won freedom to VOTE !
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Candy Campbell, DNP, RN, CNL, CEP, FNAP, is an international speaker, award-winning actor, author, and filmmaker.
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