Sunday, March 8, 2015

International Women's Day 2015: Women's Voices Rising

Dear friends,

Today is International Women's Day! I am home schooling the youngest of my seven daughters, and we've been studying the Civil War era for a few weeks. There are so many wonderful books about great women.

Harriet Tubman, a hero of American history, led hundreds of fellow slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad at great risk to her own life, and then served as a Union scout and spy during the Civil War.

Sojourner Truth, an escaped slave, toured the country speaking up for the rights of slaves and women. "Ain't I a woman?"

Harriet Beecher Stowe was, according to Lincoln, the "little woman who started the great war" with her grave depiction of slavery in her best-selling novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Clara Barton was not only a Civil War battlefield nurse - when most nurses were men - but also a women's rights activist and the founder of the American Red Cross. (See here.)

Mary McLeod Bethune, the first child in her family born free, started a school for former slaves. 

I admire these women for their courage, not only in fighting injustice and cruelty, but also for stepping above the cultural stereotypes of what women can or should do.

The day for this kind of courage and initiative is not over. Injustice still poisons the globe and the oppression of women is particularly foul, especially when it comes to sex trafficking, domestic violence, genital mutilation, denial of educational opportunities / legal protection /  adequate health care, and other serious issues. Not only that, even Western Christians are struggling with the prevailing attitudes of the church toward women. 

We need the strong voice of women. Women must not be silent in the face of injustice.

So I am thankful that women's voices are rising. I hear them, and I add my own.

I'm not expert on any of this, and can't give you an exhaustive list of resources. For now, I'm only going to mention several books that have been helpful to me.

You can read more about these books and their authors in a blog post that I wrote exactly four years ago: Weekend Gratitude for Synergy and Little Bits Working Together.

(Note: This was an update of a post I wrote in 2013.)

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles


  1. M. M. Bethune is one of the women in the book, When Others Shuddered. Fanny Crosby and Emma Dryer are also included in the eight women in this book. I wrote a review here: It is a blessing to read about the strength of women who have gone before us!

    1. Thank you, Carol! I just now saw and moderated your comment! I loved your review, and have to say that Jane Addams is one of my favorites!

  2. I to love to hear from strong women who have done remarkable things. I would include Florence Nightingale in this list as well. And, yes we need women to stand up and talk about the difficult topics such as domestic violence (something close to my heart).

    I have just discovered another amazing woman - Gertrude Bell - I have never heard of her until recently and I was very surprised to discover all the things she did:

    1. Jo, I just now saw and moderated your comment! Sorry for the delay - for some reason I wasn't getting notifications! The article you linked is fascinating. My late father-in-law was stationed in Iraq as part of the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1950s. Thanks for sharing!