Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
10-18 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTES by Fanny Hurst, Michele Kort, and Chris Evert.
Emily Ferguson Murphy became the first woman judge in the British Empire
In 1916 when Emily Ferguson Murphy became the first woman judge in the British Empire, sitting on the bench of the police court of Alberta, Canada, she was challenged by attorneys who claimed that only a "qualified person" could be a Canadian judge, and in the eyes of the law, a woman was not a "person."
Although Judge Murphy continued on the bench, attorney after attorney challenged her right to sit.
Before long, the argument spread across the nation and reverberated in the mother country of England.
The basis for the claim that a woman was not a person was based on the British North American Act of 1867 that was the basis of rule in Canada. That act used the word "person" as a plural for "he." Therefor, a person could not be a woman; a person could only be a man.
The argument effectively blocked the appointment of women to higher positions with the government as a succession of Canadian prime ministers concurred with the opinion that women were not persons.
Finally, Judge Murphy, along with Nellie Mooney McClung, Irene Marryat Parlby, Louis(e) Crummy McKinney, and Henrietta Muir Edwards asked the Canadian Supreme Court, "Are women persons?" They became known as the Valiant Five. And their gumption would be sorely tried.
After lengthy debate and arguments, the Canadian high court ruled that the word "person" did NOT include women. (Somewhat like the American phrase "All MEN are created equal...")
The question of whether women were persons passed over the desk of five Canadian prime ministers including Sir Robert Borden. Borden actually turned down the petition of thousands of women of Montreal in the late 1920s to have Judge Emily Murphy appointed Senator from Quebec province by saying women could not be appointed to the Senate since they were not persons within the meaning of the law. Murphy had served as a judge for 12 years before she became part of the Valiant Five. Several women had served in Houses of Commons of Canadian provinces and held other government posts.
So what was the question about, really? It hinged - at least in theory - on the term SENATOR that was considered masculine by the Canadian judicial and political system and so women's progress in that direction was blocked.
And without the declaration that women were persons, women were always in danger of being summarily ousted from what political position they had. It was a blade always held over their heads...
In his ruling that women were not persons, Justice Anglin of the Canadian Supreme Court concluded: "that the word 'persons' when standing alone includes women.
"It connotes human beings, the criminal and the insane, equally with the good and wise citizen; the minor as well as the adult. Hence the propriety of the restrictions placed on its use in this section which speaks of 'fit and qualified' persons. The terms in which the qualifications of members of the senate are specified in Section 23 (of the British North American Act which governed Canada) ... import that only men are eligible for appointment." (This section used the masculine pronoun throughout.)
The Valiant Five, although shocked by the decision, did not give up. They took the battle to the Privy Council in England, Canada's court of last resort.
On October 18, 1929, the Privy council, in its full 17th century regalia and with proper pomp, declared, yes, indeed, Canadian women were persons under the British North America Act of 1867. (Canadian women had gained federal voting rights on May 24, 1918.)
There are many authorities in the U.S. - liberal and conservative - who feel that without the ERA or some similar amendment, U.S. women are in the same precarious legal position as were their Canadian sisters.I
Western cultures have the corn goddess and wheat or barley great mothers, etc., eastern cultures have their rice mothers/goddesses.
The female deity for maintaining or increasing crop yields probably dates by to the earliest days of humankind and are authenticated by the various Venus figures found around the periphery of what were probably ancient grain fields.
The rice mother/goddess is the version used by the eastern cultures that depend on rice as its staple.
She takes on the traditional three guises.
The first incarnations is as the mother goddess from whose body rice is produced; the second is the one who nourishes, or fertilizes the crop and guards it against harm guaranteeing a bumper crop.
The final sheaf of wheat or final sheaf of harvested rice is made into a figure, a goddess which contains the very essence or soul of the field and its harvest so that it will "birth" a fine, new crop.
Some Women Who Faced Adversity
Tenley Albright despite an attack of polio that threatened her skating career when she was 11, she exercised and persisted.
She won the figure skating gold medal at the 1956 Olympics, won the world amateur figure skating championship 1953, and won the U.S. championships 1951- 1956.
She retired from competition as a requisite to entering Harvard Medical School . She received her M.D. in 1961 and became a surgeon. In 1979 she became the first woman officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee. (Yep, 1979!)
Mary Anderson, uneducated immigrant, worked in a shoe factory for 18 years, al the while she self-taught herself. She rose to become head of the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor serving 1920-1944.
Barbara Andrews the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the American Lutheran Church was a paraplegic.
Carolyn Farrell, a nun, was elected mayor of Dubuque, Iowa in 1980.
Mother of the Revolution that Freed Bulgaria from the Turks
Tonka Tihovitza Obretenova (1812-1893) is better known as Baba Tonka, the mother of the revolution that helped free Bulgaria from the Turks. She was the mother of 12 children, seven of whom grew to adulthood. All seven died in the wars.
At age 50, she was active in many fronts from carrying supplies to foiling military traps and was a member of the revolutionary committee (1871). Her home was one of its meeting places and a storage area for guns and ammunitions. She often carried the guns to her home herself from the boats that smuggled them across the Danube. After the war she was just as active in caring for returning soldiers and exiles.
She donated a government pension given as a reward for her service to help girls get an education.
10-18 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 10-18-1836, Ellen Browning Scripps assisted her brother in numerous ways on his way to acquiring the Detroit Evening News and was a Jane-of-all-trades from proof to writing to make it a success. She then turned all of her energies and money to helping her brother Edward who was beginning a newspaper career in Cleveland.
Through wise investments in newspapers as well as real estate, she became a multi-millionaire whose philanthropic works included the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla (both with Edward) and then singly endowed the Scripps College for Women in Claremont, CA., and helped establish the San Diego Zoo. She was no heiress in the glass castle spending some man's wealth. She earned her money.
B. 10-18-1877, Florence Dahl Walrath - U.S. founder of a society to help children for adoption.
B. 10-18-1889, Fannie Hurst - U.S. novelist with a deep social conscience.
She published 17 novels, nine volumes of short stories, three plays, and hundreds of articles. She was a long-time friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and supported the New Deal. FH served on the advisory committee for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). She was active in Jewish refugee causes, and a supporter of the State of Israel.
"Nine out of ten marriages.... were merely sordid endurance tests overgrown with the fungi of familiarity."
"(Marriage) should not lessen my capacity for creative work or pull me down into a sedentary state of fat mindedness," as she vigorously defended the right of a woman to her own name, her own social life, and her own personal liberty.
She was the highest paid writer of her day. A staunch feminist, her books covered the spectrum from the right of a woman to her own name and equal pay for equal work, even delving into the problems of homosexuals.
Today she is considered overly-sentimental by "those" critics who always seem to denigrate women's literature. FH saw women's passivity as their worst enemy.
She employed black novelist Zora Neale Hurston as a secretary and then as chauffeur. She introduced her to the literaria of New York and helped establish her as a black novelist.
She was president of the Authors' Guild in 1937, chair of the Woman's National Housing Commission in the same year, a member of the National Advisory Committee to the Works Progress Administration in 1940-1941, a member of the Mayor's Committee on Unity in New York City in 1945-1947, and U.S. delegate to the World Health Organization assembly in Geneva in 1952. She was also a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and active in the Urban League.
B. 10-18-1900, Lotte Lenya, Austrian actress-singer. LL was a star of the musical stage in pre- Hitler Berlin before fleeing to the United States.
She popularized much of the music of her first husband's music, composer Kurt Weill. She starred in the stage version (1928) and then film (1931) of The Threepenny Operaz.
Following Weil's death and the increase of Hitler's anti-Jewish campaign, LL immigrated to the U.S. and led a revival of Weil's works including the Three Penny for which she won the 1956 Tony award. She appeared in Broadway production of Cabaret (1966), in such films as The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) and From Russia with Love (1964).
B. 10-18-1901, Mabel Studebaker - president, (U.S.) National Education Association.
B. 10-18-1903, Lina Radke - German athlete.
LR won the 800 metre gold medal at the 1928 race in record time but since several women fainted after the race - a common enough occurrence with men - the Olympic committee banned the race as too strenuous for women.
It was finally revived in 1960, but long distance running for women did not become a reality until the 1970s.
B. 10-18-1909, Helen Kirkpatrick - U.S. political theorist, whose brilliance led her from journalism and foreign correspondent to the enviable post of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (image at right)
B. 10-18-1936, Joan Kelly Horn - U.S. Representative, U.S. Congress. An educator, JKH was active in St. Louis community affairs and had her own consulting firm before being elected to the One Hundred Second Congress, serving 1991-1993. She was unsuccessful in her bid for reelection. You can read her biography at: http://clerkweb.house.gov/womenbio/
B. 10-18-1919, Anita O'Day - popular big band singer of her day.
B. 10-18-1925, Melina Mercouri - Greek actor and patriot.
Best known in the U.S. for her role of Ilya in the movie Never on Sunday (1960), she was exiled from Greece because of her patriotic work against an oppressive dictatorship.
Following the fall of the military dictatorship, MM was made Greece's minister of culture (1981-89/ 1993-94) in the new government.
B. 10-18-1947, Laura Nyro, U.S. singer and songwriter. LN was one of the leading singer- songwriters in the American rock movement of the 1960s. Critics described Nyro as a the creator of deeply heartfelt music about sex,death and love, and her limits were nothing less than fury and glory. Although she had a devoted cult-like following, she never made it big. However, a number of her songs reached the charts when sung by others.
B. 10-18-1948, Ntozake Shange - Afro-American black poet-writer of Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, (1976) and Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter (1994).
B. 10-18-1950, Wendy Wasserstein - U.S. writer and playwright.
Her best known work is <EM> The Heidi Chronicles</em> for which she received the Tony as best Broadway play. Her mother, a housewife, had a passionate interest in dance and the theater.
B. 10-18-1951, Pam Dawber - U.S. actor.
B. 10-18-1956, Martina Navratilova, Czech- born, U.S. tennis champion.
MN is the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion and winner of more tournaments than any other woman or man in tennis history (up to her retirement in 1994).
Her serve was measured at 90-miles-per-hour and won her 167 singles titles. Her grandmother was a ranking tennis player in Czechoslovakia from which Martina defected in 1975 to become an American citizen.
MN was the dominant doubles player of her day with her steady partner Pam Shriver who from 1983 to 1985 won 109 consecutive matches - a record unapproached in modern tennis.
Martina won 18 grand slam titles 9 at Wimbledon, 3 Australian, 2 French, 4 U.S. opens and in 1984 won 74 straight matches, another unapproachable record.
In 1984, she won 74 consecutive matches and $2,173,556 in prize money, more than any athlete except boxers won that year. At her retirement, AP news wrote "her legacy is not only nine Wimbledon championships, but years of honesty regarding her politics and lesbian lifestyle that won her worldwide respect."
MN won a rare Triple Crown in 1987 at the U.S. Open, taking the mixed doubles (with Emilio Sanchez) and the women's doubles (with Pam Shriver), as well as the women's singles titles.
Her professional career lasted more than 20 years, playing more than 1,600 matches and more singles matches than any other tennis player, male or female.
Endurance-wise, she holds the records for most matches won, most tournament titles, and most doubles titles. She was the number one woman tennis player seven times; she ranked in the top five of tennis for an astounding 19 years! She won the Women's Tennis Association Player of the Year a record seven times - just to mention a few of her honors.
When it was time to retire, MN became philosophical, a far point from her earlier years of hard-edged competition.
Her arch-rival and longtime friend Chris Evert (MN was an attendant at her wedding), said that MN changed women's tennis. "She had muscles!" Evert said that she had to start lifting weights and do other muscle-building and endurance exercises. Such physical fitness is now standard for women's tennis.
Up front about her lesbianism, MN got not one single advertising endorsement during her playing years while players of lesser ability were getting millions of dollars in endorsements.
She was involved in several very public romances that became even more public when they dissolved. She became active in Lesbian and gay rights.
Event 10-18-1995: The Houston Oiler football gave the world a view of family values. Houston Oiler David Williams missed a game against the New England Patriots to stay with his wife Debi, the day after she gave birth to their son Scot Cooper. The offensive linesman was docked $110,000 for the missed game. "Whatever the fine, it's money well spent," said Williams. "I don't regret what I've done." In a poll, 9 out of 10 football fans backed his decision.
QUOTES DU JOUR
"[A woman's place] is not at the front door waiting for the steps of her John and fearful lest the roast be overdone. Her place is where she can give the most service and get the most out of life."
"Nine out of ten marriages.... were merely sordid endurance tests overgrown with the fungi of familiarity."
"[Marriage] should not lessen my capacity for creative work or pull me down into a sedentary state of fatmindedness."
-- Fanny Hurst, U.S. novelist
"Women were supposed to glisten, not sweat; show grace, not strength; excel at sports, but not at the expense of their feminity... Enter Navratilova... Navratilova had muscles."
-- Michele Kort in an article in Working Women, 1996.
"Ten years ago, you didn't have to be a great athlete - you just had to be a great tennis player. Then along came Martina, the way she worked with the weights, the way she was watching everything she was eating - she was giving 100 percent of herself to tennis, and that inspired the women players."
-- Chris Evert speaking in 1995 acknowledging that she had begun lifting weights and going on a full fitness diet to keep up with Martina.
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