Women in the Extremes
From babies to powerful brokers: Thinking of you in Women’s History Month
by M.L. Faunce
In these pages over the years, in March for Women’s History Month, I’ve celebrated the lives of women known to many, and some known only to a few. Here, we’ve honored present and past women in military service, including the World War II generation. We’ve celebrated feminists and athletes, artists and politicians, and remembered our own mothers, grandmothers, aunts and nieces. We’ve celebrated grown women and a few just beginning to bloom.
This year at women’s history month, my thoughts turn to a baby, female of course. Not the celebrated baby of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, but a great-niece whose birth I witnessed in early January. This baby bears the name of two strong women, Lily for my grandmother and Grace for the baby’s own grandmother. Amid her stretching and suckling and sleeping, she grows in our hearts and into a world she can’t yet know. I watched as her lips shivered at the sudden cold of the delivery room after the nurturing warmth of the womb.
For now we are her surrogates, her guardians, keeping her warm, envisioning the life that will be hers in another world we can’t know.
In 2007, a woman is a serious contender for the White House, while another, close to the current president and called Madam Secretary, decided against a run for office.
Another woman heard the words Madam Speaker spoken for the first time in history in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her introduction onto a new stage gave us a look into the future. The new speaker surrounded herself with youngsters, one holding a baby girl, on the dais of the most powerful pulpit in Congress, perhaps the world.
Women presidents oversee governments in Ireland, Sri Lanka, Latvia and Finland, to name a few. A female Supreme Court justice just one this new year presides over the nation’s top cases.
In 2007, the stage for women is full, indeed. Oprah Winfrey exhibits her own special powers: star power, brainpower, monetary power. Using a phrase made famous by entrepreneur Martha Stewart, she speaks of the latter as a good thing. The fetching Brit and Academy Award-winning Best Actress Helen Mirren is a powerful queen, on and off the screen.
Power is what we want to bestow to our daughters, our nieces and great-nieces. The power to achieve, to succeed, to exceed in their time, in their own way. In some world cultures, women still lack power. Sex selection and so-called son preference is widely practiced, including in countries like China.
This year for Women’s History month, I celebrate the future of us all: my niece’s baby girl and all the baby girls of this year. The babies whose lives just might hold the key to a better life, a better Bay, the cure for cancer, the answers to global warming, with titles to match, whether Madam or Dr., Ms. or Mrs.
ML Faunce, of Churchton, is an award-winning, long-time contributor to Bay Weekly.