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Know Thy Place

If you’re like me, you can think of several instances where women figure prominently in an event, but really don’t get a lot of credit for their efforts. When Jesus- yes, that Jesus- died and was put in a tomb, women were the first ones to believe he had risen, but the men didn’t believe them. When Jeanne D’Arc (Joan of Arc) led the French to victory, her own king mistrusted her enough to have her burned for heresy after having led his army to victory! When Jane Addams started collecting garbage in her Chicago neighborhood because she knew it bred disease, the men around her just shook their heads and scoffed.

These women, and countless others, have been told their ideas or actions – no matter how helpful those ideas or actions might be- were out of line, that they didn’t know their place. I myself was once told I didn’t know my place, ostensibly because I had corrected the facts of an elder, but actually because I was shaking the apple cart a bit too much with my ideas and actions. I refused to accept that notion, and I certainly don’t want the 8,000+ girls and young women in Putnam City to accept that either. The Foundation is proud to support strategies specifically geared toward girls, like making sure that our STEM Labs start in time for girls to get hooked on STEM before studies show it’s too late.

All across our schools, women are making a difference in the lives of children every day. I can think of several women who made a difference in my personal history while I was in school. My fourth grade teacher at Harvest Hills, Ms. Williamson, was sweet and patient. Ms. Anderson, my honors English teacher at PCHS, is the reason this sentence won’t end with a preposition. I just saw one of my sixth grade teachers, Ms. Murphey from Northridge, the other day and she was still boosting my confidence like she did so many years ago. They may not figure into the history of the world in the same way Joan of Arc did, but they all made my future bright.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I hope you use it as yet another opportunity to thank the teachers in your life, for it is a female-centric profession. They have transformed countless lives for the better, and rightly deserve to be celebrated.

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