This month is Women’s History Month! Today, my oldest daughter and I read Remarkable People: Sandra Day O’Connor by Jennifer Howse (Weigl Publishers Inc.) I had hoped it would spark some kind of interest in biographies, discussion about obstacles women have faced, and some inspiration, but truth be told, my daughter was mostly unmoved. This saddens me, but it also challenges me to make this more regular in her life. I’m hoping the more we read together, she’ll grow more interested, begin to articulate her thoughts, and give a rip about more than the latest Pokémon character!!!
However, I was extremely inspired by O’Connor’s life! Before reading about her today, I knew very little about her. She grew up during the Great Depression on a cattle ranch in Arizona. She went to a boarding school in El Paso, and before becoming the first female Supreme Court Justice, she had also become the first female Senate Majority Leader! As a young woman in the early 1950s, she was turned away by law firms because she was a woman, even after graduating from one of the finest law schools: Stanford Law! It really wasn’t so long ago that gender discrimination was acceptable.
In fact, I tried to draw my daughter out asking, “When she graduated, women could basically stay at home and be a house wife, be a secretary, nurse, or teacher. There weren’t many opportunities for us back then.” And we discussed for minority women, even less opportunities. So it truly is amazing when people break down these discriminatory walls.
Sandra Day O’Connor grew up surrounded my minority peoples such as Native and Hispanic Americans. This gave her a better experience as a leader in our world, as a Supreme Court Justice, regarding the idea of fairness.
She experienced breast cancer all while in the public eye, and resigned so she could be with her husband who had Alzheimer’s. She was a mother, grandmother, and author! She was recognized for paving a path for more women to follow.
The idea that she believed we should all do everything to the greatest of our abilities, even the most menial of all jobs, really impressed upon my mind. My daughter wasn’t as inspired as me, but again, this challenges me to give her more opportunities to learn about people paving a path for more to follow.
I’ve always loved reading biographies and this month, I’m challenging myself daily to learn and read about a woman who left her mark on our society. I’m hoping by the end of the month, my precious daughter will be inspired, too!