Three Cheers!
To Womanhood on International Women's Day

To this month of International Women’s Day, (8th March) it is apt to place the names of some of the women who met with bravery whatever came in their way. Today, we can see them giving us their examples and it is a great pleasure reading about them. I think, to whatever point we want to take our journeys – especially as the journeys will be fraught with uneven seasons, we should not become prisoners of our self-created cages. There are many occasions when we feel defeated, lost, confused. The greatest part of these heroic women’s propulsion was the sense of conviction in what they wanted to achieve.

Wangari Maathai was the first woman from Africa to be honoured with the Noble Peace Prize in 2004, for her contribution in sustainable development, democracy and peace. Plus, she is committed to not only protecting the existing planet-environment, her strategy is to secure and strengthen the core basis for ecologically sustainable development. She thinks globally and acts locally. For instance, Wangari Maathai, Founder of The Green Belt Movement has been mobilizing for nearly 30 years – poor women to plant 30 million trees. Her methods have been adopted by other countries as well.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was a woman who earned the global title for herself as: The Lady with the Lamp, after her habit of making rounds at night, tending to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War of (October 1853 – February 1856).

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence into a rich, upper class British family. Despite resentment faced by her to join the profession of nursing, Florence rebelled against the conventional role a woman was expected to have of only becoming a wife and a mother.

Taking it as a call from God, Florence worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing. She laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment in 1860, by opening her nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

Florence Kelley (1859-1932) born in Philadelphia (U.S.A), was deeply influenced by her father who strongly believed in child welfare; he provided books for his girl to give her focus on the condition of children who were subjected to harsh labour and no educational system. Even though laws had been passed, adherence was scarce. Along with her father, Florence Kelley made mid-night tours to factories where children were subjected to horrid conditions at work.

Still very young, Florence Kelley began to develop a mature attitude towards her cause of social service, and right till her death, she remained a solid supporter for it. Though she had to put up with a difficult spouse and raise two kids, she actively continued to see that the State Legislature passed the first factory law prohibiting employment of children under the age of 14, limited the work day to eight hours.

Geeta Chhabra

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