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5 Phenomenal Women Worth Knowing About

The women's market is a garden of delight. We have so many beautiful faces and creative minds, it's hard to keep this list to just five, but I'll try.

March was Women's History Month and I truly didn't do it justice. Hence, there will be more focus on historical ladies this month. By historical, I mean ladies who are out there making a name for themselves - regardless of their place in history. They're historical merely by being in the public eye. I hope I can introduce you to some women you didn't know about, and highlight some women you do know about, but who don't get the credit they're due.

1. Let's start with Caroline Perkins. Caroline founded the Rochester Historical Society, but that is not her only claim to fame. This courageous woman is also responsible for establishing a school for the deaf, in honor of her daughter, Carolyn, who was born deaf. This was back in the ancient days of the 17th century - when such an affliction was cause for secrecy. Polite Victorian society would have none of it - prefering instead to hide the 'afflicted' - as if their deafness was a disease!

According to a recent presentation by the Rochester Historical Society, "While she might have kept Carolyn from public view - as was typical in the polite society of the 1870s - [Caroline] helped bring historic change to Victorian conceptions of deafness by emphasizing the potential of deaf Americans to achieve the same sophistication in learning and communication as their hearing neighbors."

Today, Rochester, NY has the largest deaf community per capita, in the country, maybe in the world. One of the things I find fascinating about this vibrant group of people, is the fact that signing is truly a language in and of itself. I marvel at their versitality in speaking it.

2. Debora Wilson - President of the Weather Channel Cos, " a leader in the cable industry and the country's premier source of weather information for consumers." Admit it, when you're planning a trip, you turn on the Weather Channel to check out the conditions to wherever it is you're going. I always check for local conditions, too - when planning any outdoor event. The Internet is okay...but, it just can't give me the kind of real-time information I need.

I was contacted by a PR firm and asked if I would be interested in writing about Debora. Naturally, I asked for an interview, and that will be forthcoming. But, this information fit so well into today's focus, I elected to write about Ms. Wilson ahead of the interview. To quote to press release, "From its inception, The Weather Channel has stressed the importance of education as a tool to help people better prepare for the worst assaults of the weather. The network has been a partner of Cable In The Classroom since the program began..."

Ms. Wilson is also active in volunteerism, as are many women. The release notes her efforts for Parkinson's Unity Walk and the Lymphomathon 5k. Most notable to me was her work with Dentists  Without Borders, a group that provides dental treatment to children in "remote villages of Central America." Naturally, anything to do with children gets my attention.[all of these orgs need to visit Word of Blog, to make it easy on bloggers to support their cause.]

3. Back to our historical perspective - last month "hundreds gathered at the Hochstein School of Music & Dance ... to pay their respects to women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony in a re-enactment of her funeral." The actual funeral took place during a blizzard 100 years ago, according to reports in the Rochester D&C.

"The eulogies reflected pride in Anthony's civil right accomplishments, but also revealed a frustration by her associates that she didn't live to see women have the right to vote."

Yes, we all know the name, Susan B. Anthony. Some of you may even know of the Susan B. Anthony house here in Rochester, and of the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls. But, how many of you stopped to think about the effort this woman and her suffragist friends put forth to secure her sex the right to be treated as equal in the eyes of the law? In a nation founded on equality for all! How many know that black men got the right to vote - far ahead of women, black or white. To quote Susan, "As I passed from town to town, I was made to feel the great evil of woman's utter dependence on man. . . . Woman must have a purse of her own, and how can this be, so long as the law denies to the wife that right?"

This just in: I have not confirmed it, I have not responded to the gentleman that sent it along, yet, but...I feel compelled to include it here: Vote for a Woman for President. A must-see site. Wouldn't Susan be proud?Gwendoly_brooks

4. Gwendolyn Brooks - poet extraordinare! I was first introduced to this fantastic writer as a student (an adult student) studying for my English degree - a few years ago [she said coyly]. Here is why I love Gwendolyn Brooks, and why her picture - no one else's - is attached to this post,

We Real Cool

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

The astounding thing about this poem - is the fact that Gwendolyn notes that it's spoken in the voice of boys. And yet, all these years, I took it to be the voice of girls. I related so intimately with it - as the voice of girls. There is a sadness about it - and a power. The timeless message, just as recognizable today as it was when Brooks wrote it in the mid-20th century, is one of bravado in the face of despair.

5. I am purposely going to leave this space blank. YOU fill it in. Name your outstanding woman - from history or current events. Mothers count!


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Brenda Clevenger

Thanks for bringing these stories to light. There can't be enough positive exposure on the talents and truths that women bring to the world.

Claire Morrisey

I'd nominate Paula Scher as your fifth. Her work as a female designer is phenomenal and she is rarely recognized on her own (partially because she is a principal in one of the most celebrated design firms in the world - check out Pentagram if you're not already obsessed). Over the past few decades, she has raised the bar for designers of both sexes. If you want proof, study the Tiffany's packaging - there's no question she knows a thing or two about designing for a female aesthetic.

And Yvonne - we at Creative Skirts salute you.

steven e streight aka vaspers the grate

I like Jean Rhys, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edith Wharton, Latitia Sadier (of STEREOLAB), and Theresa of Avila.

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