In Recognition of Women’s History Month

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Albert DeCiccio Ph.D., Provost, Southern Vermont College

In recognition of Women’s History Month, and given the recent events in which women’s earned rights have been challenged (highlighted in the incredible attack on Sandra Fluke), I wanted to share with you a link that contextualizes and reprints Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1892 speech, “The Solitude of Self”: http://www.elizabethcadystantonhometown.org/solitudeofself.pdf.   Along with the dogged work her colleague Susan B.Anthony undertook for women’s suffrage, Stanton’s speech finally persuaded our government to give women the right to vote.

It is a masterful speech and influenced a number of literary artists, including Kate Chopin, whose famous novel about a woman’s “awakenings,” entitled The Awakening (1895), was likely inspired as much by this speech as it was Maupassant’s short story, “Solitude.”  I hope you will enjoy and be inspired by this great work.  To whet your appetite, here is one excerpt from the speech that shows the power of Stanton’s words:  “Whatever the theories may be of woman’s dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life, he cannot bear her burdens. Alone she goes to the gates of death to give life to every man that is born into the world; no one can share her fears, no one can mitigate her pangs; and if her sorrow is greater than she can bear, alone she passes beyond the gates into the vast unknown.”

Do enjoy the speech.

As a post-script, it was encouraging to hear yesterday’s news report that Hillary Clinton, another strong woman, has joined in the determined effort to locate the remains of Amelia Earhart, a pioneering woman whose greatness cannot be understated.

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