Last semester I went through an experience I’d never gone through before in my teaching career: I taught a student whose face I couldn’t see. The reason? She was from Saudi Arabia, and she was wearing a niqab, that part of her all-black outfit that covered her face from the bridge of the nose down.
Reprinted honor of Madeleine Albright turning 82-years old
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is a petite woman who can fill large university auditorium with her presence. These days, Dr. Albright teaches, lectures and writes. She frequently speaks to university audiences land enjoys telling young people that they can be anything they want to be with hard work. Her audiences listen enthusiastically and a recent crowd at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was no exception. A packed house and 2 overflow rooms with video feeds were arranged for the presentation by our 64th Secretary of State. She was the highest ranking woman in government from 1997-2001 and the first female Secretary of State.
Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, continues to marginalize women on its English language pages and among its staff. This conclusion is not theoretical but unequivocal. It’s based on academic studies, public statistics and anecdotal evidence.
Wikipedia’s data is daunting, according to the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator.
• Less than 18% of 1.6 million English Wikipedia bios are about women, up from 15% in 2014.
• Put another way: of about 1,615,000 bio pages, fewer than 300,000 are about women.
• Meanwhile, men account for about 90% of all English Wikipedia’s volunteer editors.
Wikipedia’s brand image is more reflective of 1920s paternalism than 21st century modernism. The San Francisco-based nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, has a noble mission: Democratize the free flow of information and knowledge to diverse populations worldwide.
But is English Wikipedia practicing what it preaches?
Sadie Hawkins Day! I didn’t know anything about it. The vibrations though with which the name permeates our culture and whatever the holiday celebrates have always seemed a wee bit strange and but also lighthearted. It is celebrated on November 13th and since today is November 13th I feel oddly compelled to inform myself of the wisdom or lack of wisdom passed on by this “Holiday.” It would appear to be a very American holiday, but the Scots and my Irish ancestors might argue with that since they celebrate something comparable on February 29th called of course “Leap Year.” But that is another story!
The Sadie Hawkins Story
The American story is that Al Capp, a famous and brilliant cartoon artist of the last century,3 depicted in his daily cartoon, Lil Abner, the trials and tribulations of a hillbilly town called Dogpatch. The most powerful and the richest man in Dogpatch was named Hezekiah Hawkins who had a daughter named Sadie and at the advanced age of 35 she had not married. Sadie was also “the homeliest gal in all them hills” and her father was scared that she would spend her life at home as a spinster, a terrible and humiliating fate for any woman in Dogpatch.
Originally a professional educator from Ukraine, Fiona Citkin is among the successful women immigrants to the US. She came to America as a Fulbright Scholar studying languages and cultures. She holds 2 doctorates, speaks 3 languages, and has published several books, including the award-winning Transformational Diversity. Fiona is Managing Director of Expert MS Inc. For her latest book, How They Made It in America , she interviewed 100 immigrant women and profiled 18 of them in this book.
Editor’s note: I’m honored to be included among the 18 profiles in the book.
By default, gritty women famous for their accomplishments are highlighted throughout Women’s History Month. Society looks to prominent women as role models exemplifying idealistic aspirations of achievement. Often, their humble beginnings are overlooked as emphasis is placed on successes and outcomes. With few exceptions, famous women did not begin their lives as famous people. Their experiences, family upbringing, life-learnings, challenges, and accomplishments cultivated into opportunities at the right time. Famous women made history by taking action. One should never assume history is past tense. History continues evolving and growing organically, providing new opportunities to add accomplishments.
Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, explains extremely successful individuals demonstrate unusually high levels of resiliency and hard work. These individuals have an intrinsic understanding of their desired goals and are determined to achieve them. Gritty people combine hard work, resiliency, and drive with a sense of direction.
Ordinary women with extraordinary backgrounds have a diverse lifestyle to achieve astonishing things in life. Women’s History Month pay tribute to these illustrious, ordinary women. Most ordinary women intentionally seek everyday activities and experiences that are diverse and have impactful outcomes. I am an ordinary woman with extraordinary accomplishments. I grew up in the slum area of inner-city Houston, Texas, but still had the determination and resilience to graduate high school with honors, the top 10 of my class. Thereafter, I pursued and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston. I was the first member of my entire family to attend college.
I enlisted into the military as an active duty Army soldier, truck driver (18-wheelers and 5-ton vehicles). While on active duty, I pursued and obtained my Master of Arts in Education and Doctor of Educational Leadership. After transitioning from the military, I became a Department of Defense high school physics and chemistry teacher, while obtaining a Master of Divinity degree in Biblical Studies. I have a diverse educational and professional background, as an ordinary woman, accomplishing extraordinary things in life.
What we are facing in the United States, and really throughout the world, is a crisis in consciousness, a clash of value systems. Values are that which one believes. Values are the impetus for thoughts, attitudes, and actions and yet we seldom have conversations about the underlying reasons for the actions and cultures. It was over 20 years ago that Paul H. Ray created a platform to gather information as to the values held by the citizens within the U.S. This research study, which has been repeated several times, hold some key information to conversations around the problems being seen.