Celebrating Women’s History Month

by Matilda Butler, Post #12

I focus on the ABC’s of Writing in these posts, but today I want to step back as part of an ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month. Kendra Bonnett and I have been writing about women in several of our posts on our website. Kendra’s most recent post, last Friday, described three women who have been important in her life.

This set me to thinking about women I admire who have influenced my life, directly or indirectly. The first is Eleanor Roosevelt and I’ve given my reasons in a blog on Women’s Memoirs.

Betty Friedan has also had a major influence on my life — and actually continues to do so. Her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, came along at a fortuitous point in my life as it did for so many women. Because of her writings, I began the long, serious look at what I was doing and where I was going. At the time, I was recently married and about to be swept into a life that might be described as a continuation of my mother’s life. Instead, I was soon in a consciousness-raising group with other women who wanted to carve out a place for themselves rather than relinquishing all that space to their husbands.

The rest, as they say, is history — my history.

But even now, Betty Friedan influences me. I am conducting more research on women born during World War II — the women known as Rosie’s Daughters in the collective memoir that Kendra and I wrote. It has been ten years since I conducted my initial interviews and it is time for me to talk with women about this past decade as we all head into our 70s. In researching the literature on aging, I once again found myself reading the words of Betty Friedan. But this time, instead of The Feminine Mystique, I’m reading her Fountain of Age.

Once more, I am indebted to this forward-thinking, insightful woman who put her thoughts on paper for all of us to consider.

If you would like to read about the woman who was my first source of inspiration, follow this link to my post on Story Circle Network’s One Woman’s Day.

Hope you celebrate the many women who have influenced your life. If you like, leave me a comment about some of these women.

5 responses to “Celebrating Women’s History Month

  1. Pingback: Women's History Month: Women Who Inspire Us with Their Stories — Memoir Writing Blog

  2. Matilda,

    Last fall as part of the Second Mile Award to celebrate my father’s 95th birthday, I formed the “Women of Inspiration” award for women over 75 in my life who have pointed the way for graceful and powerful aging.

    It was moving for both them and me. These close to hand influences are important to celebrate.

    Janet Riehl

  3. Hi Janet:

    You’ve raised such an interesting point. It is vitally important to let women know that they have been a role model or a positive influence in your life — while they are still alive. My grandmother (I’ve written about her over on SCN’s One Woman’s Day today) never knew how much she meant to me.


  4. Janet,
    “Graceful and Powerful aging”…I love this statement! I think of my Grandmother, now passed, and my Mother who at 74 is still building furniture (she’s a carpenter) travelling, hiking in the mountains and speaking out for Social Justice. She is an amazing woman and carries herself with the strength of a Peaceful Warrior. I have met so many older women who exemplify this image, on the bus, in a grocery store anywhere one might strike up a random conversation with another person. Older people tend to talk more, they’re not plugged into I pods or frantically texting on their phones. I’ve heard so many amazing stories and snippets of wisdom from women who will remain anonymous in name, but who’s stories will continue to inspire me!

  5. Jennifer:
    How wise of you to gain wisdom for the stories of other women. Thanks for sharing that with us. It is important to carry on conversations with those we meet. What may seen like an ordinary story to them may be extraordinary to us.

    Your mother is “an amazing woman” — I agree. She’s the type of person who inspires all of us.


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