Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

National Women’s History Month March 2, 2011

March is National Women’s History Month here in the U.S. (thanks, Kathleen for the heads up!)

This year’s theme is “Our History is Our Strength.” Never a truer word spoken. There have been many great women who have blazed the trails for us to follow, and given women a voice.

I think this theme also rings true on a personal level. Our own histories—our lives and experiences—are what have shaped us into the women we are today. All of us here have stories that have made us who we are today, sometimes a little the worse for wear. “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and (not counting those days when we would rather stay in bed and make the world go away) I think we’re all stronger for our experiences.

So, in celebration of Women’s History Month, I thought I’d put a little Life Without Baby spin on things and share with you some of the women who have shaped our world and who weren’t mothers.

The NWHM brochure features five women who changed the world. Two of them were childless:

Alice Paul, represented the last generation of suffrage leaders, and brought fearlessness and tenacity to the fight for women’s right to vote. She organized the first pickets at the White House in 1916 and 1917. Along with dozens of women, Paul was imprisoned, went on a hunger strike, and was force fed. After winning the vote, she worked to enact the Equal Rights Amendment.

Rachel Carson is known as the founder of the contemporary environmental movement. In 1962, Carson published “Silent Spring,” which documented the dangers of air pollutants and pesticides on animals, people, and land. Her writing boldly challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and even the government. Carson called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

Throughout March I’ll be posting some of favorite fabulous non-moms. If you have one of your own, let me know. If you feel like writing a short piece on your favorite Strong Childless Woman, send it my way and I’ll post it here.

Happy National Women’s History Month to all of you.


3 Responses to “National Women’s History Month”

  1. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    I had never heard of Alice Paul until the 2004 movie, Iron Jawed Angels, starring Hilary Swank (available on Netflix). A worthy movie about an important piece of our history.

  2. Mali Says:

    I just thought of a number of women in NZ who led the way – suffragettes who saw us become the first country in the world to give the vote to women, our women Governors-General, Prime Ministers, Chief Justices and heads of our largest companies. And I realised that I had to Google to see if some of them had children or not. And I like that – that they made their mark as women, and their status as mothers or non-mothers was completely irrelevant. Helen Clark, one of our strongest and most successful Prime Ministers (and now head of UNDP), is a non-mom. And it was never really an issue in her popularity – though some petty people would raise it from time to time.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    Rose Wilder Lane comes to mind.

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