By Annette Ermshar
Special to The Outlook
Phrases like girl power and women empowerment are particularly pertinent and celebrated this month, as March is Women’s History Month. As we honor women this month, I selected a few favorites … and although there are many more past and current names not listed, here are six fun facts that celebrate “female firsts.”
1. Naomi Parker Fraley was the inspiration behind Rosie the Riveter, a cultural icon of World War II. Representing women who worked in factories during the war while men served in the military, her iconic strength highlighted women’s abilities to spearhead new jobs and industries. From the remarkable efforts of Rosie and other women during this era came the famous phrase,“We Can Do It!”
2. Aretha Franklin is a timeless singer and musician who is coined the “Queen of Soul.” She was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She brightened our musical world with her voice and presence.
3. A group of female baseball players that made up the first All-American Girls Professional Baseball League which started in the 1940’s while the male players went to war. These female players broke the barriers and limits that were formerly placed on women and sports that were traditionally played by men.
4. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman nominated to be on the Supreme Court, paved the way for women’s leadership and voice at the highest levels of law and government.
5. Katharine Graham was the first woman to become a Fortune 500 CEO (in the 1970’s), and The Washington Post flourished under her leadership, paving the way for female positions of leadership and success in business.
6. Dorothy Buffum Chandler, a local hero, was a powerhouse among cultural leaders in L.A. and broke new ground for what a woman could accomplish. She was a visionary in raising money and building the Los Angeles Music Center. Without her vision and leadership, the Music Center may not have been built in our lifetime.
These women, and countless others, have paved the way for advocacy and leadership among females, and model what is and what can be possible for current and future generations of women. In the words of Coco Chanel, “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
We also pay tribute to all the women superheroes of our community who are both strong and soft; pensive and vocal, confident and humble, caring and tough, sensitive and bold. Remember this as we honor our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and nieces and female friends, colleagues, bosses, neighbors and role models.
As Michelle Obama eloquently phrased: “Here’s to strong women; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”