Glimpses of Women Through Time

Women were often healers and herbalists in the past.

Women were often healers and herbalists in the past.

Today here in America, Women choose who they want to marry.  It isn’t that way around the world and it didn’t used to be like that here. Arranged marriages were predominate. Marriage was a way to add to your social standing, increase your families’ finances and move on up the social ladder. In the world today, this is still done frequently. Only now a days, girls are sold to men three times their age. They are often ten years old to fifteen years old.

A woman named Lucy Stone labored all of her life for women’s rights. She was born in 1818 and she died in 1893. In 1846, she was a student at Oberlin College. Oberlin College is about a twenty minute drive from my house. Oberlin is a quaint little college town. Lucy wrote to her mother about her plans to hit the lecture circuit when she graduated. She wrote, “I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex.” For ten years she did that traveling in New England and Ohio and farther giving lectures. She spoke under the auspices of the Anti-Slavery Societies, but she did admit, “I was so possessed by the women’s rights idea that I scattered it in every speech.”  The abolitionists became upset that she co-mingled both causes in her speeches.

In 1858, Lucy Stone allowed her household goods to be sold for non-payment of taxes in protest against taxation without representation. Lucy was seeing a man named Henry Blackwell who was a persistent suitor. She really didn’t want to marry. Henry promised her total equality. They were married in 1855 in Massachusetts and had the following protest read and signed as part of the wedding ceremony.

“While acknowledging our mutual affection by publically assuming the relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and a great principle, we deem it a duty to declare that this act on our part implies no sanction of, not promise of voluntary obedience to such of the present laws of marriage, as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority, investing him with legal powers which no honorable man would exercize, and which no man should possess. We protest especially against the laws which give to the husband:

1. The custody of the wife’s person.

2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children.

3. The sole ownership of her personal, and use of her real estate, unless previously settled upon her, or placed in the hands of trustees, as in the case of minors, lunatics, and idiots.

4. The absolute right to the product of her industry.

5. also against laws which give to the widower so much larger and more permanent an interest in the property of his deceased wife, then they give to the widow in that of the deceased husband.

6. Finally, against the whole system by which “the legal existence of the wife is suspended during marriage, “so that in most States, she neither has a legal part in the choice of her residence, nor can she make a will, nor sue or be sued in her own name, nor inherit property.” We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power. We believe that where domestic difficulties arise, no appeal should be made to legal tribunals under existing laws, but that all difficulties should be submitted to the equitable adjustment of arbitrators mutually chosen. Thus reverencing law, we enter our protest against rules and customs which are unworthy of the name, since they violate justice, the essence of law.”


Lucretia Mott had been a preacher for years; her right to do so is not questioned among Friends (Quakers). But when Antoinette Brown felt that she was commanded to preach, and to arrest the progress of thousands that were on the road to hell; why, when she applied for ordination they acted as though they had rather the whole world should go to hell, than that Antoinette Brown should be allowed to tell them how to keep out of it.



After the defeat of the 1854 women’s property measure, it was six years before another opportunity for an all-out effort in the New York State Legislature presented itself. Susan B. Anthony, who was forever goading the harried and somewhat self-indulgent Elizabeth Cady Stanton to greater efforts, told her that the salvation of women of the Empire State depended upon her power to move “the hearts of our law-makers at this time.” Anthony, moreover, came to stay in Stanton’s house to work along with her on this crucial speech and to pitch in with household tasks.

The joint efforts of Anthony and Stanton on the speech and on dozens of other writings are best described by Stanton herself: “In thought and sympathy we were one, and in the division of labor we exactly complimented each other. I am the better writer, she the better critic. She supplied the facts and statistics, I the philosophy and rhetoric, and, together we have made arguments that stood unshaken through the storms of long years; arguments that on one has answered. Our speeches may be considered the united product of our two brains.” Speaking on the very eve of the Civil War, Elizabeth Cady Stanton asserted that “The prejudice against color…is no stronger than that against sex.”  Stanton was married with many children and Anthony chose to remain single so she could give all of her time to the women’s movement. They are two of the reasons that the nineteenth amendment was written and passed. The nineteenth amendment gave women the right to vote.

March is Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month


The Quiet but Worsening War on Women

Betty Freiden wrote the Feminine Mystic

Betty Freiden wrote the Feminine Mystic

Every day I hear another story about women and what is quietly happening to the rights we already have, after a great deal of work. I also hear about what is happening to prevent our legal equality. Congress did not pass the Violence Against Women Act. It is a law that must be renewed every five years. Congress just decided not to renew the law. This law protects women from Domestic Violence, slapping, punching, kicking, pushing, being burned, having a jaw broken and worse. A woman is battered every 11 seconds. Congress, those guys who love their constituents so much voted no.

Some of them may be batterers, some may have come from families where violence was common in the home. Some think women need to be controlled and punished when they don’t do what the man in their lives. Violence will increase against women. Sexism and misogyny worsen every day. The answer is to have laws to protect us. Men need to treat us as equal partners. We need Congress to pass the law to make us legally equal.

I suggest you write, email, call your congress people and the White House. I do it. More women and feminist men need to let these people know how we feel and that we won’t settle for being second class citizens. Raise your voice with pride. “We are women, hear us roar.”  –Helen Reddy

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Often abuse begins when a woman becomes pregnant.

Often the abuse begins when a woman becomes pregnant.

Down to the Wire

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Please vote responsibly. Please vote!

The difficult thing about an election where you are invested heart and soul, is that you give it all you have. All of the blood sweat and tears. We are three days from one of the most important elections during my lifetime. We are at a real crossroads for women and coming generations. There is never a perfect candidate, but one can and will take our country back in time fifty years.

We, as voting women and our daughters and granddaughters need to vote with the knowledge that our votes will affect millions of American women. The ability to have access to birth control, reproductive education, how a rape victim is treated and defended and counseled in the future is up for grabs here. The GOP feels the body shuts down and a woman can’t get pregnant during a legitimate rape. What else will they decide is magically going to change for women? What excuses will they come up with to control women, our bodies and our minds?

Next year, 2013 is going to be the opportunity to have Congress finally, finally pass a law to make women legally equal. We are the only citizens in America not to be equal. This is the twenty-first century. There will be benefits to us as women when this is passed.

The other point I want to state, is that Romney gave an interview recently, and he was asked about his Mormon faith. Now I do believe in separation of church and state, and I don’t think that the question should have asked. But it was, and Romney became agitated and slightly defensive. I found that a strange reaction to a fairly innocuous question. I think it is a character flaw if someone is nervous and upset to answer questions concerning whatever they believe or don’t believe.  If he thought the question should not have been answered, he should have said so, not become agitated answering it.

Tuesday, November 6 is right around the corner. I suppose people know my feelings. I early voted. But, please go out and vote Tuesday. This is such an important time in America. Even though you may feel done with all of the campaign ads, and the negativity back and forth, cast your vote. Your vote is one of the foundations of Democracy.

Education of American children needs to be one of our priorities going forward.

This is your opportunity to stop this subjection and ownership of the female gender

Susan B. Anthony got us the vote with many other suffragettes; they made a coin for her in the U.S. Mint. If she were alive today, she wouldn’t be legally equal.


The Women’s Bible

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902, was not only one of the women who worked to obtain the vote for women in the United States. She and Susan B. Anthony made a pair of women who were not going to quit until we had the vote. Elizabeth and Susan also put out a women’s movement weekly paper and there was the Women’s Bible Project. Susan was single and Elizabeth was married with eleven children.

Elizabeth felt that the Bible was not inclusive in its voice. She felt that the Bible excluded women. A committee was formed of ministers, Greek and Hebrew scholars, who devoted themselves to the project. There was a group of thirty women who worked on the revisions. The various books of the Testaments were divided and they reviewed all the passages which concerned women.

These passages were cut out and pasted in another blank book, and the new commentaries were written beneath. This was a huge undertaking in comparison to what it would be today, as it all had to be done by hand.

The inauguration of the women’s movement to emancipate the Bible began in August, 1895. The suffragets felt that the Bible had been used to hold black people and women in the “divinely ordained sphere”. The canon and civil law; church and state; all denominations and political parties have taught that woman was made after man and was made an inferior being.

Charles Kingsley said,  this will never be a good world for woman until the last remnant of the canon law is swept from the face of the earth.” Little did he know that the dogmas and teachings of all fundamental religions work to hold women in  place as second class citizens. Even now in August, 2012.

The Bible was used as permission from God to back the buying and selling of slaves and the ownership of women by the men in their lives. Women’s challenges to their status were referred back to this same Bible. The church determined that slavery and the right to vote only belonging to men was allegedly backed up by scripture. The mothers of the Suffrage movement saw the terrible misuse of these scriptures.

Women in America and England began this work with a large committee. They fought an uphill battle against the criticisms of their society. They proudly pushed ahead knowing that women’s political and social degradation were the results of women’s status in the Bible.

The only parts of the Bible that were edited were the ones concerning women. The Women’s Bible is still in print and available on Kindle also. It is a very enlightening reading experience.