What makes a woman brave? How does a woman shake the world?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Between meetings, I sat at a client's office with the March 14 issue of Newsweek on my lap, studying its remarkable center spread:  "150 Women Who Shake the World."  "They are heads of state and heads of household," the story begins.  "Angry protesters in the city square and sly iconoclasts in remote villages.  With a fiery new energy, women are building schools.  Starting businesses.  Fighting corruption...."

The pages that follow tell stories—feature heroines—we women can be proud of.  Chouchou Namegabe is here, honored for her radio documentation of an epidemic of rapes in Congo.  Sharon Cooper, for her studies of the brain development of trafficked girls.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as Africa's first female head of state.  Salma Hayek, for her worldwide travels on behalf of maternal health.  Valerie Boyer, for her fight against eating disorders. Amy Gutmann, from my own University of Pennsylvania.  Shakira for her Barefoot Foundation, started when she was just 18 (it says here) to open schools in Colombia, Haiti, and South Africa.  Mia Farrow for not letting us forget Darfur.  Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping survivor who has become an advocate for victims.  Rebecca Lolosoli of Kenya, who "persuaded women in her village to start a business selling their intricate traditional beadwork to tourists.  Then she encouraged them to form a separate village as both a tourist attraction and a refuge for victims of domestic violence and girls fleeing female genital mutilation or forced marriage."

Get this issue, if you can.  Look at what women can do—at what happens when they stand up on behalf of others and seek a greater, calming good.  And then, if you have a moment, check out page 79.  That's where my friend Caroline Leavitt's book, Pictures of You, is featured as a Jodi Picoult Pick.  


Kelly H-Y said...

I got chills just reading your samples ... will definitely have to pick up a copy. Thanks for the heads-up, and congrats to your friend too!

Becca said...

Sometimes we forget just how marvelous we are - collectively, and individually.

Thank you for the perfect reminder.

And yea for Pictures of You! I just read it, and loved it :)

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this article at the gym this morning, (of all places), and I read it on the cross-trainer. I felt very inspired by all of the women profiled. I think I felt the strongest connection with the ones who recognize how important, and empowering, an education can be for women. I live very close to the infamous "Corridor of Shame" in South Carolina, and I teach a lot of the women educators who work in those schools, or they work in schools that aren't much better. I hear a lot of their stories about the conditions they work under. Talk about bravery! These women are tenacious, intelligent and hopeful, but I must admit that their stories sometimes keep me awake at night, wondering how we as a nation are going to survive what is happening to our education systems--at all levels. Okay, I'll step off my soapbox now.

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