Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated Thanksgiving during the past week by giving thanks for several women in history who have fought tirelessly for women’s rights. Did you miss any of our Inspirational Women posts? Read on to see the profiles of these amazing women! Who is your woman of inspiration?
“I am thankful for Connecticut’s State Heroine, Prudence Crandall (1803-1890). Not only did she open the first African American women’s school within the United States, but she did this during a time where our nation was reaching political and societal turmoil due to the Abolitionist Movement. Regardless of being convicted as a criminal and having few rights herself during this era, Prudence Crandall prevailed; making an everlasting impact on women’s and civil rights.” – Nina Candels, CWEALF policy intern
“I am thankful for the work of Margaret Sanger. She lived from 1879-1966 and was a major activist in the birth control movement. She advocated for contraception and reproductive rights. She opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916 and five years later founded the American Birth Control League, which today is known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger’s work set a heavy precedent for the reproductive rights and choices of women. Through Sanger’s work I am able to make my own choices in regards to child rearing and reproduction.” – Sarah Edelman, CWEALF legal education intern
“I am thankful for Angela Davis. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944 and has been an activist and writer for women’s rights and racial justice since the 1960’s. She has been publicly speaking against racism, sexism, homophobia, and the prison industrial complex. Angela paved the way for women, especially women of color, to always fight against the legal frameworks that oppress them.” – Lauren Todd, CWEALF legal education intern
“I am thankful for the work of Kathryn Kolbert. Kathryn is an attorney, and is well known for her success in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case of 1992. This case challenged the constitutionality of several Pennsylvania laws regulating abortion under Roe v. Wade, which recognized a woman’s legal right to an abortion. Her work is influential to me because it shows that women are still fighting battles today that were seemingly resolved years ago. Women like Kathryn are necessary in fighting for women’s rights as well as setting an example for the way women must stand up for their rights today.” – Allison Cazalet, CWEALF development intern
“I am thankful for Kathleen L. Nastri, the first female president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers’ Association. In 2011, Nastri won the biggest medical malpractice verdict ever awarded in Connecticut, and did so by making the scientific data more simplified and accessible for the average American juror. Not only has Kathleen Nastri paved the way for future female lawyers, but she has actively bridged a gap of understanding when it comes to medical malpractice. Kathleen Nastri’s methodology is not only applicable to law, it also proves critical for general human understanding. If people communicate better, then they understand each other better; if people understand each other better, then they are less prone to the kinds of discrimination and prejudices that result from ignorance and misunderstanding. As a woman myself, following in Nastri’s footsteps would perpetuate her efforts to break down such prejudices, and ultimately bring Connecticut even closer to gender equality.” – Danielle Simoneau, CWEALF G2O intern
“”The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” — Jane Addams
I am most thankful for the contributions of Jane Addams, truly the embodiment of women’s rights advocates during the late 1800s-early 1900s. While most recall her as being the co-founder of the Hull House in Chicago, she additionally paved the way for female advocates in domains of social work, public health, community organizing, and legal rights. Addams’ fought to better the lives of women and their families in many ways, such as documenting the environmental hazards in nearby neighborhoods and stressing the needs of children and educational opportunities for women and children. She was one of the first to demand that females go beyond their family responsibilities and be allowed to participate in civic duties such as voting, which contributed to the women’s suffrage movement. Addams encompasses the ideal of advocating for all and her strength in challenging durable structural violence is remarkable and inspiring to me, as a current social work student.” – Nikki Seymour, CWEALF graduate policy intern
“I’m thankful for the work of Betty Friedan (1921-2006), a leading figure in the women’s movement in the United States. She wrote The Feminist Mystique in 1963 and founded the National Organization for Women, of which she became the first president. In 1971, she worked with other feminist to establish the National Women’s Political Caucus while she remained a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Without the work of Friedan, women’s work reforms may not have come as quickly as the 60s and 70s.” – Nicole LeClair, CWEALF legal education intern
Compilation by Linda Manville Kaphaem. Linda is a CWEALF intern and a Reproductive Justice Advocate.
Photo by Benn Wolfe, “Happy Thanksgiving 2010.” 11/24/2010. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic