Tag Archives: Women

Inspiring women: Judy Garland

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Originally posted on biography.com 

We love to celebrate the lives of inspirational women. Today, on what what have been her 92 birthday, we acknowledge the immensley talented but humanly flawed actress and singer Judy Garland.

Garland was born June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She signed a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13. In 1939, she scored one of her greatest on-screen successes with The Wizard of Oz.  Nearly 40 years after her tragic death at age 47, Garland continues to maintain a devoted following.

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#UCStyleFiles advice from a “rare bird”: Iris Apfel’s key to success

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Finally, successful businesswomen are coming forward to reveal that their career paths didn’t necessarily follow the straight path they were expecting.  While Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to “lean in” and not sacrifice their careers for an equally important role as wives and mothers, fashion icon Iris Apfel explains that she never had a “plan” to begin with.

Iris Apfel, who is a self-proclaimed “geriatric” socialite,  boasts quite the resumé. She began as an editorial writer for Women’s Wear Daily, became a successful business owner and textile designer and later, an interior decorator, fashion designer, fashion professor, and style icon.  But the key to Apfel’s abundant success was that she always followed her own path.  Apfel asserts, “Doing your own thing is very good. . . if you have a thing to do.”

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Start the discussion: perspectives on women’s rights

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On Monday (March 31) the College hosted a panel discussion titled “Transnational Perspectives on Women’s Rights as Human Rights.” With over 100 in attendance,  working with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, the College gathered five women panelists from Puerto Rico, Serbia, Ukraine, India and Jamaica to discuss challenges and issues in the lives of women and girls all over the world.

The discussion was moderated by Gina Messina Dysert, Ph.D., Dean of Ursuline’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies and Mary Frances (Mimi) Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program. Topics covered included the impact of globalization on women, breaking gender stereotypes, finding a common ground across World cultures and the definition of feminism. See the entire panel discussion below.

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Fridays with B&B: women who inspire us

womenshistorymonth

A weekly conversation between your campus Marketing gals Brittney & Becca. TGIF! 

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are talking women who inspire us.

Becca: It started with a mood board. There’s a lot of women up there.
Britt: I’m glad we are celebrating Women’s History Month this year. I don’t remember doing anything for it last year since we both just started at Ursuline.
Becca: I agree! Let’s jump right into it. If you were to dress up as your favorite influential woman, who would it be?
Britt: Hm. That’s really tough. My mom?
Becca: You would dress up like your mom?
Britt: Yeah! She’s a babe!
Becca: No, no, let’s return to the moms later. A historical, well-known woman.
Britt: OK. I gotcha. I’m not sure. I do not look like many of the women who deeply inspire me. Does that matter?
Becca: Not at all. You’re capturing her essence.
Britt: Definitely Billie Holiday, then.
Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading "Vote Baby Vote" and "Voting is People Power," c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

How Women Vote

In 1920, women in the United States were granted the right to vote through the 19th Amendment. The names of the Suffragists who worked tirelessly and at their own peril are well known – Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, among others. What might be surprising is that there was oppositional movement known as Anti-Suffragism comprised of women and men in the United States and Britain that opposed the expansion of voting rights for women. They included both conservatives, who favored the “Angel in the House” view of women, and liberals, who sought a full revolution and new form of government.

Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading "Vote Baby Vote" and "Voting is People Power," c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

Two smiling women stand outdoors and hold signs reading “Vote Baby Vote” and “Voting is People Power,” c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

The reasoning of the anti-suffragist campaign is worth exploring.  They espoused certain explanations of why women should not enter the political realm as voters.  Here are some of those tenets with my commentary:

– The spheres of men and women are different. (More so a century ago, but isn’t diversity of perspective important in choosing elected officials?)

– Voting could introduce political differences into domestic life.  (Certainly, a difference in political opinion could prove problematic in marriages, or it could add extra spice as in the marriage of James Carville, a noted Democratic political commentator and strategist, and Mary Matalin, Republican political consultant.)

– Women are “debarred by nature and circumstances from the average political knowledge and experience open to men” and therefore the female vote would weaken the country.  (Ignoring the phrase “debarred by nature”, this begs the question, If only women could find a way to gain such political knowledge? – oh yeah, women can READ.)

Because adult women outnumbered adult men, women would be the overpowering majority at the polls.  (WOO-HOO!)

In 2013, many Americans will take for granted the right to vote and fail to exercise that vote, thereby validating the Anti-Suffragist movement of a century ago.  Women not only vote on the first Tuesday in November, they vote every day.  There are 80 million mothers in the United States.  They vote with their feet, with their spending power, and with their children in mind.   It is not a coincidence that the social and educational reform movements of the 20th Century gained ground after 1920, when politicians had to pay attention to a new class of voters. – women, who by “nature and circumstances” have both the knowledge and political acumen to strengthen our country and our world.

Anne Murphy Brown, J.D. is the Associate Professor and Director of the Legal Studies Program. 

Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Equal Rights for All! Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny!

The readers of the weekly Geauga Republican may have been surprised when they opened their November 13, 1872, edition and saw the above headlines in bold print.  This was one of the opening local salvos in what became a national campaign for women’s right to vote.  It was a battle fought over several centuries, not only in Congress and state capitols, but also on our main streets and in our backyards here in Northeastern Ohio.  These grassroots initiatives were just as vital as national efforts to ensure the 1920 ratification of our 19th Amendment granting women suffrage.

Union Chapel in South Newbury, Geauga County, Ohio, bears silent witness to the struggle and commitment of local women to gain this most basic of our rights.  The structure, also known locally as the “freedom of speech chapel” and “cradle of women’s rights” chapel, is now on the National Register of Historic Places because of considerable research and bureaucratic navigational efforts by Rachael Toth during her years as a graduate student in Ursuline’s Historic Preservation program.

Ursuline’s Historic Preservation students Rachael Toth, Heather Fisher, and Mary Ogle collect acorns from the Centennial Oak in South Newbury.

Ursuline’s Historic Preservation students Rachael Toth, Heather Fisher, and Mary Ogle collect acorns from the Centennial Oak in South Newbury.

Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Built ca. 1858 and dedicated to free speech by local community members, Union Chapel became the home of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club, an organization that reached across Northeastern Ohio for membership and message.

Mother/daughter team activists Ruth and Ellen Munn as well as Dr. Julia Green met with others in theNortheastern Ohio Health and Dress Reform Association to discuss the “knotty problem” of suffrage, as the Geauga Democrat referred to it on October 18, 1871. And they had attempted to vote, an incident the Geauga Democrat had recorded in its 18 October 1871 edition, saying:

Election in this place passed off quietly, although there was a

considerable excitement in consequence of nine ladies having

the independence and moral courage to present themselves at

the polls, and demand their right to vote.

This may have been the first time women attempted to vote in Newbury, but it was not the last and the local newspapers recorded each attempt, especially when the intrepid suffragists braved Geauga’s slush and snow.

On November 13, 1872, the Geauga Republican noted that

Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, fourteen women

citizens presented themselves at the polls in this town yesterday,

and asked the privilege of exercising their right of suffrage.

And on April 16, 1873, the editor of the Geauga Republican reported,

At the recent election … notwithstanding the almost impassable

condition of the roads, fourteen women were present to indicate

their desire to exercise their natural and inalienable right to

franchise  [vote]…. many more, who were unable to attend manifested

their interest in the cause by signing and sending in, by friends,

ballots to be deposited in the box.  The judges were courteous

and gentlemanly…. declining to receive the proffered votes.

After all, women had not been granted the right to vote in the original Constitution or any of the subsequent amendments.  So how could the judges accept those votes?

Can you imagine the conversations at afternoon tea and after church and perhaps even over the back fences as the women hung their wash out to dry in the summer sun?  Something more must be done.  But what?

The Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club was the result and on January 21, 1874, the Geauga Republican published an article on the clubs’ January 12 founding at Union Chapel, complete with a constitution that called for the members to use newspaper articles, tracts, lectures, discussions, and “all legitimate instrumentalities, to aid in placing woman on a pecuniary, social, and political equality with a man.”

Julia moved to Newbury, Ohio, at the age of 14, having been born in nearby Mantua.  She was a founding member and corresponding secretary of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club.  Dr. Greene died in 1925 and is buried in Welton Cemetery in Burton, Ohio.These women had learned from earlier generations and other social reform movements about the power of marshalling forces and spreading the word.  On July 15, the Geauga Republican reported that the suffragists held their first Suffrage Convention with inspirational and educational elements supplied by Sarah B. Chase, M.D., of Cleveland and General Alvin C. Voris of Akron as well as rousing celebration music provided by the Newbury Glee Club and the Mantua Cornet Band.

In celebration of our nation’s 100 year birthday, on July 4, 1876, the club members planted a white oak, today known as the Centennial Oak, across from the chapel, burying under its roots a time capsule with copies of their constitution, list of founding members, and initial minutes.

These suffragists continued to publish articles and minutes in the newspapers, to send members to other organizations to promote collaborations, and to host speakers, even such national figures as Susan B. Anthony.  On March 14, 1879, the Geauga Leader reported

We were highly entertained recently by a lecture of Susan B. Anthony

on woman suffrage…. Union Hall [Chapel] was crowded both evenings by

intelligent audiences, who listened for two hours each evening with

close attention.  The work she has done here must make a lasting

impression, and we fondly hope will awaken many to serious action

in the reforms which are so needed.

The work of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club must, indeed, have made an impression.  On November 8, 1917, the Geauga County Record cited that 1320 had voted in favor of suffrage with only 908 against in an article entitled “County Declares in Favor of Suffrage.”

A few years later, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment, prohibiting any U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex, was ratified.   And in 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate that achievement and build awareness of continuing efforts for full equality for women.

Those awareness initiatives must continue, even though women will celebrate a century of voting privileges in 2020.  (Not so far away, is it?  And won’t it lend itself to all sorts of phrases along the lines of “hindsight being 20-20….?”).

Daughter of local reformer Ruth Munn, Ellen Munn was a founding member and recording secretary of both the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club and the Northern Ohio Women’s Dress Reform Movement.  A well-known Bloomer girl, she is reputed to have regularly worn bloomers under her dress, protesting against the confinement of women’s fashions. Historic preservation efforts will help, on both national and local fronts.  The Women’s Rights National Historic Park, operated by the National Park Service in Seneca Falls, New York, preserves the story and place of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls in 1848.  And here at home, the Geauga Park District is building on the work provided by our own Rachael Toth to preserve and interpret the efforts of the reformers who headquartered in South Newbury’s Union Chapel.

And so Election Day looms before us.  We now have the ability to influence our communities by actively using our voting privileges.  But this first Tuesday in November should also be recognized as an opportune moment to reflect on the importance of our right to vote and to remember those who fought to achieve and guarantee that all citizens could participate in this way in their own self-government.

Ellen Munn  (1833-1908)

Daughter of local reformer Ruth Munn, Ellen Munn was a founding member and recording secretary of both the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club and the Northern Ohio Women’s Dress Reform Movement.  A well-known Bloomer girl, she is reputed to have regularly worn bloomers under her dress, protesting against the confinement of women’s fashions.

Dr. Julia Green  (8 May 1847 – 26 March 1925)

Julia moved to Newbury, Ohio, at the age of 14, having been born in nearby Mantua.  After graduating from the Cleveland Homeopathic College, she practiced medicine and married Apollos D. Green.  She was a founding member and corresponding secretary of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club.  Dr. Green died in 1925 and is buried in Welton Cemetery in Burton, Ohio.

Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D., is the Director of Historic Preservation at Ursuline College.

After the Lecture: Women in Labor

As we approach our annual Labor Day celebration, we prepare to honor the contributions workers have made to the social, political, cultural and economic strength of the United States.

For many women, of course, “labor” has a dual meaning . . . and these dual meanings are a source of endless debate, handwringing, scrutiny and guilt-inducing diatribes as we (“we” meaning women in general, and our society as a whole) collectively agonize over the role of women (especially women who are mothers) as workers in and out of the home. Often, it is no longer the issue of “choice” to work outside of the home (and the reality is that for many women of color, and women of marginal economic status, it NEVER was a choice), as recession and the increase in households headed by women, or in which women are the primary breadwinners, make such work a necessity. But the conversations with respect to the intersection of women’s work as mothers and household managers, and women’s work as doctors/lawyers/journalists/   teachers/nurses/engineers/servers/managers/and so on continue to rage (and enrage) many of us.

The fact is, women’s place in the workforce outside of their home-work is not going to change. The genie’s out of the bottle . . .the horse is out of the barn . . .you can’t unring that bell . . . pick your cliché. The real challenge is the ongoing work of recognizing the social and institutional barriers to balancing work and family (rather than making individuals feel  it’s simply their personal failure), undoing essentialist ideas of what constitutes “men’s” work and “women’s” work, of the artificial division of labor by gender, of ideas such as dads are “babysitting” their children when left alone with them, while moms are . . . doing what they are supposed to be doing—being moms.

There is a reason that across cultures, across space and time, that formal education has excluded or been withheld from the marginalized—the poor, the dark-skinned, the female: it is the recognition of the powerful and transformative qualities and the significant economic, social, and political opportunities that education offers. Ursuline College was founded on and dedicated to the proposition that the access to education is the best way to empower women and encourage their growth as leaders.

Sheryl Sandberg’s observations in Lean In about the need for women to develop skills of advocacy, voice, and negotiation— which includes ability to problem solve, to analyze and synthesize information, and to communicate effectively—aligns well with the learning outcomes of our curriculum. But our institution takes that one better—we inculcate a sense of social responsibility and examination of values as essential to producing truly well-educated graduates, ones prepared to take their place in the world not just as workers, but workers who make a difference. And while some may be reluctant to acknowledge it, the “f” word is applicable here . . .yes, feminist values have been, are, and always will be aligned with justice, equality, and advocacy—for self and for others, for all workers and for all those who seek work and cannot secure it. And commitment to and action informed by those values will ultimately make the question “Should women work outside the home?” as incomprehensible as “Are you sure the earth is round?”

This post was written by Mary Frances Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program.