My Favorite Women in History

Mar 21, 2014
"Well behaved women rarely make history."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Betty Friedan

  • Writer, feminist, and women's right activist
  • With her book, The Feminine Mystique (1963), Friedan broke new ground by exploring the idea of women finding personal fulfillment outside of their traditional roles
  • Helped advance the women's rights movement as one of the founders of the National Organization for Women
  • "Aging in not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength." - Betty Friedan

Louisa May Alcott
  • Author, proponent of women's rights and the abolition of slavery
  • Produced the first mass marketed literature for juvenile girls
  • Published over 270 works, including Little Women
  • Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” - Louisa May Alcott

Betty Ford
  • U.S. First Lady and breast cancer survivor
  • Supported and lobbied for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Strong advocate for women's right to free choice
  • Helped establish the Betty Ford Clinic, dedicated to helping women with chemical dependency
  • The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women.” - Betty Ford

Clara Barton
  • 'Angel of the Battlefield', independent nurse
  • First saw combat in Fredericksburg, VA in 1862
  • Founder and first president of the American Red Cross (1881)
  • I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay.” - Clara Barton

Coolest Couple – Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell

  • Lucy Stone was the first woman in Massachusetts to earn a college degree
  • Lucy Stone was the first woman in the United States to keep her own name after marriage

When Stone married Henry Blackwell in 1855, she and Blackwell registered the following protest, which was read at the ceremony and then published in the abolitionist newspapers:

While we acknowledge our mutual affection by publicly 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, nor 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 exercise, 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 interest in the property of his deceased wife, than 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.
Thank you for joining me this week for Women's History Month!


  1. So many amazing women! I especially love "Aging in not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength. - Betty Friedan".. our society often values youth over wisdom, and I wish more people saw things Betty's way!


  2. I love the women you feature... they're all role models of mine. Another great Women's History Month post!

    Diary of a Debutante


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