Pauline Dempers on Nama Skin is Proud

Pauline Dempers Peace Activist Nambia

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice is the sponsor of The Peace Writer project which documents the lives and stories of woman working for peace all over the world. Women are paired with professional writers and videographers and enabled to tell their stories. The following excerpt is the story of Pauline Dempers …

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Harriet Tubman on Slavery is the Next Thing to Hell

Harriet Tubman woodcut www.womenwordswisdom.com

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was recognized as a hero in her own day. An escaped slave, she repeatedly went back to the south and led other slaves to freedom, saving thousands. Outspoken and fearless, she was a passionate and influential speaker in both the abolitionist movement and in the fight for women's rights. It is very …

Maria Montessori on the Absorbent Mind

Maria Montessori featured on www.womenwordswisdom.com

“I did not invent a method of education, I simply gave some little children a chance to live.”  Maria Montessori Born in 1870 in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria Montessori refused to follow the expected path for girls of her time. Defying the prejudice of the time, Montessori became the first woman to attend …

Catherine Esther Beecher on Exercise

Catherine-Beecher

  Woman’s great mission is to train immature, weak, and ignorant creatures to obey the laws of God; the physical, the intellectual, the social, and the moral. Catherine Beecher Born in 1800 into the famous Beecher clan which included Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom's Cabin fame and the infamous preacher Henry Ward Beecher, Catherine …

Frances Burney on What If Nobody Were Female

At the age of fifteen Frances Burney (17752-1840), despite the tears of her younger sister, tossed the plays, poems and first novel she had written on to a bonfire. Why? She was consumed with guilt. In 1767 women were not supposed to spend their time writing anything but private letters. Better they perform useful household …

Maya Angelou on Being Aware of Being Aware

  "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou Maya Angelou passed away on May 28th. A teacher, writer, poet, activist, and dancer she is best known for her series of autobiographical works detailing what life …

Sonia Nieto on Culture as Transmutation

My identity is always changing everyday. The person who I was when I was a child is different from the person I was as a young adult and the person who I am now. And those shifting identities have to do with your own individual experiences and the sociopolitical context in which you live. Sonia …

Ning Lao T’ai-t’ai on the Life of a Beggar

In the 1930s Ida Pruitt, an American living in Peking, recorded the oral life history of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai, the elderly mother of a man working for her husband. Ning lived in the city of Penglai in Shedong Province of China in second half of the 1800s and the early 1900s. Married to a man who was an opium …

Rosa Parks on Being a Regular Person

The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.   Rosa Parks Christened "The First Lady of Civil Rights" Rosa Parks made history on a February day in 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Because this was against the segregation laws of Alabama, Rosa Parks was …

Pearl S. Buck on Making Meaning Out of Meaningless

If the American way of life fails the child, it fails us more. Pearl S. Buck (1982-1973) spent all her childhood and a good part of her adult life living in China. Most of her over thirty novels are based on this experience and were instrumental in shaping American views of life in China.  In 1938 …

Helen Keller on I Hesitate to Write

"I am only one, but still I am one." I cannot do everything, but I can still do something;  and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." Helen Keller Perhaps you have seen the movie The Miracle Worker. Perhaps as a child you read a book about the …

Kamilah on Peace: The Afghan Women’s Writing Project

The Afghan Women's Writing Project is based on the belief that to tell one's story is a human right. The Project was started in 2009 by Marsha Hamilton after watching the execution of Zarmeena for the alleged murder of her husband. She visited Afghanistan and set out to give a voice to women whose voices have …

Brenda Ueland on why women should write

"Think of telling a story, not writing it." Brenda Ueland (1891-1986) is best known as a journalist and teacher of writing. She wrote radio scripts, covered the trial of Vidkun Quisling in Norway, and wrote several memoirs. The Norwegian Arctic explorer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 67 year-old Fridjtof Nansen fell deeply in love with the 37 …

Anne Frank on Paper as Patience

Anne Frank would have been 84 this month. Born June 12, 1929 in Frankfort, Germany Anne Frank's diary is world-renowned, even though she wrote it as a young girl of thirteen. Forty-five million copies  of the diary, composed when her family and she were hiding from the Nazis during World War II, have been sold, and it has been translated into …

Mary T. McCarthy on Being a Loser

On Monday mornings, at recess, Nemesis exacted its price; we wretches all loyally "stuck together," like pieces of melting candy in the linty recesses of a coat pocket. Mary McCarthy Mary McCarthy (1912-1984), satirist, critic, and award-winning fiction writer (two Guggenheim Fellowships and a National Medal for Literature), was placed in the Sacred Heart convent …

Anne Bradstreet on Offspring of My Feeble Brain

How would you feel if someone made copies of your private poems, carried them across the ocean, and unbeknownst to you published them in a book? Anne Dudley Bradstreet arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. She was among the first Puritans to settle in Salem, New England. A well-educated woman from a well-to-do …

Rachel Carson on Agents of Death

 "The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind - that, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done. . . . Now I can believe I have at least helped a little." Today, as we remember Rachel Carson (1907-1964) in the context …

Judith Sargent Murray on the Female Mind

"What a censorious world says of me, cannot offend me or permanently hurt me. Was it to commend me, it would do me no real service...I'd rather have an unspotted conscience." Judith Sargent Murray (1751 to 1820) was the most prominent woman essayist of her time. She was also a poet, a playwright, and a novelist. …

Flannery O’Connor on Too Much Interpretation

Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) is best known for her short stories set in the South. Often about religious theme ,her stories are often humorous, but with a disturbing quality underneath that leaves the reader faintly puzzled and uneasy. As a child she grew up in Savanna, Georgia, went to Catholic school, drew cartoons, and wrote stories. Later when she had …

Aphra Behn on Foppery

"All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn … for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” Virginia Wolf The first woman to make a living solely from her writing is Aphra Behn (1640-1689) who lived in the time of the English Restoration under Charles the 2nd. …