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Feisty women from history: Not everyone’s cup of tea – Fiona Tatton, Womanthology Editor

Fiona Tatton - Womanthology Founder and Editor
Fiona Tatton

Hello and welcome to issue 52. It’s Women’s History Month and we thought we’d take a look at the kick-ass women from the past who stop and make us think about our futures. What is it that makes a woman decide to go out and make positive change happen? It’s hard enough today to make your mark, but how hard must it have been looking way back through the mists of time when women were expected to shut up and not to speak until they were spoken to?

It was Laurel Thatcher Ulrich who said: “Well behaved women seldom make history,” and it’s true, so why on earth would you want do as the world expects you to? Why not shake things up a bit and make something incredible happen?

The women in history who got stuff done were not generally those who sat back complicitly on the side lines waiting for permission. They went ahead with their plans and sought forgiveness (or not) after the event. They also took chances. It’s scary doing things differently when the world is standing by and commenting noisily. I read recently that most people judge because judging is easier than thinking, and this couldn’t be more true.

Women who achieved great things in history were all thick skinned. Happily, history tends not to document the people who are the noisy critics of the women who got on and changed things but all too often we hear the stories of the way incredible women were judged harshly.

“A woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

There’s a strong emotional resonance across generations of women, a strong need for women to pass on their wisdom to prevent future generations from being held back. I genuinely believe that storytelling and sharing wisdom is the key. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself on the bad day you’ve been having when you read about the life of a tragic heroine like Marie Curie, or Amelia Earhart. Come to think of it, despite all her brilliance, Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t have the best time of it either.

The women who we hear from in this edition talk about the female role models who helped them become who they are. Who is it that you look up to, and perhaps even more importantly, who looks up to you? Life is a finite resource so wouldn’t you rather be the person with the fascinating Wikipedia entry that captures people’s imaginations, the person who touched people’s lives and the person who made the world better?

Now more than ever as we live in an ever more interconnected world with technology and resources at our fingertips we have infinite abilities to reach out and connect with others. You’re reading this on a mobile, laptop or tablet, so why can’t you use that device to inspire others with your work? Dream big. The possibilities are limitless and you have more strength and you can ever know.