Men: without, women are hopeless. It’s funny how a quick grammatical switch can change the entire meaning of a sentence. At one point, women were. That wasn’t their fault though. Society and over-analyzed values played a huge part in gender equality, or lack thereof. Nonetheless, women have been able to dominate this generation and generations before us as corporate leaders and industry ground breakers, fighting tooth and nail to prove that they too can break the mold. In celebration of National Women’s Day, here are seven crazy women in history who did crazy awesome things that prove #OneDayWeDID and #OneDayWeWILL!
1. Saying it like it is. Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1973, Golda Meir was, “[a] pioneer, visionary, risk-taker, indefatigable fund-raiser, eloquent advocate,” according to the Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia. When asked to place a curfew on women to help end a series of rapes, Meir replied by stating, “But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.”
2. The mother of the freedom movement. Known as “the first lady of civil rights,” Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist, who many know as the woman who refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, prompting the Montgomery boycott and other efforts to end segregation.
3. Aged ink. Born 1877, Maud Stevens Wagner was a circus performer and the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Her daughter, Lotteva, started tattooing at the age of nine and went on to become a tattoo artist herself.
4. Just Keep Running. American author and television commentator Kathrine Virginia “Kathy” Switzer is also a marathon runner and best known for being the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry in 1967. In her book The Girl Who Started it All, Switzer writes,”Then he added [speaking of her coach at the time], ‘If any woman could do it, you could, but you would have to prove it to me. If you ran the distance in practice, I’d be the first to take you to Boston.’ I grinned through the gloom and flakes. ‘Hot damn, I thought, I have a coach, a training partner, a plan, and a goal: the biggest race in the world—Boston.'”
5. The Diving Venus. Female swimmers have Australian professional swimmer Annette Marie Sarah Kellermann to thank for this one. Instead of the then-accepted pantaloons, Kellermann inspired others, as she was one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing suit. Kellerman made it a point to challenge the legal restrictions on women’s bathing clothes in the US. In 1907, preparing for a promotional coast swim, she was arrested for indecency on Revere Beach, Boston. Her swimming costumes became so popular, that she started her own fashion line of one-piece bathing suits.
6- 7. Biblical Heroism. According to the book of Judges (2:16), in the midst of the violent and turbulent aftermath of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, the Lord raised up judges to provide leadership for the kingless people. One in particular was Deborah. At the beginning of Judges 4, text reports, Deborah was leading Israel at that time. As both judge and prophet, Deborah implemented complete religious, political, judicial, and militaristic authority over the people of Israel.
Judges 4-5 notably details Deborah’s effective military campaign against Sisera. With the help of another very gutsy woman named Jael who presented a “gentle and quiet spirit,” Sisera was eliminated when Jael drove a tent peg through his skull. The Canaanite armies were defeated. Israel’s victory is punctuated in scripture by the Song of Deborah—one of the ancient Near East’s oldest military poems.
Although this day is adorned with special links about historical movements and cheesy quotes about women’s rights, the truth is that women are crazy and awesome, and they should be celebrated everyday. From running our families to running empires, the more we stick together, the more crazy we can do. Perhaps a grammatical change is needed here, and maybe the truth is: men, without women, are hopeless.