Today had something of an inauspicious start. We overslept, the driveway was iced over and bad weather closed a part of my route into the city.
I was so frazzled and fried it totally slipped my mind that today was International Women’s Day, a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women. So I got to thinking about the women I look up to and admire and why. There are really so many; politicians, musicians, actors, journalists, pioneers but I wanted to take a moment to name a few of my personal favorites.
Madame CJ Walker: Oh you know about me and hair so of course I have to pay homage to the woman who did so much for our tresses, Madame C. J. Walker. Borne Sarah Breedlove in Owen, Louisiana in 1867, she moved to St. Louis after her first husband died. Now remember this was a time when a lot of people did not have indoor plumbing so they didn’t take a lot of baths or wash their hair frequently and Sarah, like a lot of women experienced problems with her scalp and hair loss. She began putting together her own potions made with things that were already on the market and ultimately came up with a remedy that contained sulfur which made for a healthier scalp. But Sarah was a businesswoman too. She opened a college to train hair stylists, opened a factory, taught other black women about business and became politically active. Upon her death at age 51, she was considered the richest African American woman and the first self-made female millionaire.
Nancy Brinker: I am so proud to be able to call this woman a personal friend. About three decades ago, her older sister Susan Komen was diagnosed with breast cancer. The word breast wasn’t even said in public at that time. Unfortunately Susan Komen died at age 36, but not before making her sister promise she would do everything in her power to find a cure. That’s exactly what Nancy Brinker does to this day. She took a shoebox full of names thirty years ago and turned it into a global movement. Today Komen.org is the largest, grass roots movement in the world having donated 1.5 billion dollars to the fight since it’s inception in 1982. And you can buy Nancy’s amazing book, Promise Me, via the advert in our left hand sidebar…
Anne Syler: Yep, my mom. I know she drives me crazy at times, like I’m sure I did to her growing up. But the fact remains, my mom was the first, up close and personal look I got at a woman who worked outside the home and held it down inside as well. She taught me the value of an education, accepted me for my prickly self and continues to instill in me a belief that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Casey Parham: Yep, my baby girl – only she’s not much of a baby anymore. This summer she outgrew me and it was the first time I really started to see her as someone other than, well, my baby girl. She’s a teenager now but I can see a woman in the making. The piercing eyes she’s had since birth, the beautiful Betty Boop lips and the hair, the hair, the hair! She’s been my own inspiration for wanting to chart a natural path for my hair and she continues to amaze me with her knowledge and sensitivity.
So here’s a Good Enough Mother salute to all these women and the many more I didn’t have the chance to list here.
But what about you? Who are the women who inspire you? Name your Top 5 – and tell us why…