By Dr Charles Margerison
Amazing People Worldwide
Who would be on your list of inspirational women achievers?
That is the question I posed when writing my book titled Amazing Women.
I was astounded to find that up to the year 1900, and beyond, there are relatively few records of women achievers. Few women before that time were given educational opportunities. It was expected that the main role of a woman was to marry and care for their family. Their achievements, although many and varied, were not recognized or heralded.
My mother was one of them. Born in the year 1912, one of eight children, she lived in a small village. Two years after her birth the First World War began. When she was six years of age, she survived the world epidemic known as the Spanish Flu. It was a time of poverty. She left school after having about six years of primary education to get a job in what was called ‘service,’ cleaning homes for rich families. Therefore, without qualifications there was no career. However, her life achievements were many as, in addition to raising her family in a first-class way, she developed entrepreneurial skills and helped many people at home and overseas by raising a lot of money for charity.
Therefore, at a time when we celebrate the achievements of women, it is interesting to look at the ways and means women succeeded. Here are ones that I have chosen and the reasons for doing so.
Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) was born into a wealthy family and educated. She wanted to be a nurse, but was told by her parents that was a dirty job and not fit for a lady. She ignored them, and went from England to Germany for training. She later took 38 women to the Crimea to nurse injured soldiers. On returning to England, she wrote books and established the nursing profession.
Harriet Tubman (c1822 – 1913) was born into slavery and became a slave. She lived under that control system for 29 years. She decided to escape and succeeded, despite having to travel without a map or help though forests. Once she had established a new life, she returned to the slave fields thirteen times to guide others to freedom. She also served the Union Army in the US Civil War and became an advocate for women’s rights.
These are two examples of amazing women achievers. What can we learn that will help guide all students?
There are four key points they can focus upon:
Purpose – the women I studied chose a purpose that was important to them which was their beacon in dark times.
Perception – rather than accepting the status quo, they imagined a better way and focused on how to improve their own life and those of others.
Persistence – as in the examples of Nightingale and Tubman and others, women who achieved were determined and pushed ahead with their plans, despite difficulties and barriers.
Performance – the measure of any person is not what they say, but what they do and increasingly we see women making major contributions in medicine, business, science and other professions.
It is important for students to have role models. By understanding what others achieve, they can set their sights high. We encourage that through our Amazing People Schools character education resources at www.amazingpeopleschools.com .
The aim is to foster equality of opportunity, regardless of gender, race or other factors. This is what inclusiveness and diversity means within a democratic system of education and employment.
Amazing Women – by Charles Margerison – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amazing-Women-People-Worldwide-Inspirational/dp/1921629940