Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mukhtar Mai - Bravest Woman in the World

Mukhtar Mai is not a college graduate, in fact she is barely literate. And yet a New York Times columnist said, "There is no one person who has been more courageous - or more effective - in the struggle for women's rights in the developing world." Mukhtar truly is a Gutsy Woman. In June, 2002, in her villege of Meerwala in Pakistan, and at the age of 33 years, she was gang-raped by four men who wanted to punish her brother for something they thought he had done. With her honor destroyed she was expected by her community, and even her family, to kill herself in shame. Instead, Mukhtar drew from deep within herself a sense of dignity and strength and determined to show her village the true meaning of honor.

Gathering herself together, and against her family's objections, she went to the police. Ultimately her four attackers were placed in jail and her government awarded her with $8,300 in damages. You might think that she would get out of her village and run as far as she could, as fast as she could. But, Mukhtar did not, she chose to stay in her hometown.

She used the money to start the villages first school, despite further threats to her safety. She spoke out about education and its benefits for helping women to learn to respect themselves and to speak up. She taught other women that education will stop future generations of men from abusing women. Mukhar has even found the compassion and courage to teach the children of the very same men who raped her!

Since 2004 and when her story became public, Mukhtar has received many thousands of dollars from individuals internationally to help with her school. Thousands of Pakistani women have travelled to her remote village and shared their own stories of rape and abuse. Many came to receive help and others simply to thank her for sharing her story. In response to accolades she has received for her bravery, Mukhtar has simply said, "It's because of the support of the world that I feel brave."

Mukhtar Mai is truly a Gutsy Woman and one that will be role models for women around the world for years to come! You can read more about Mukhtar on Wikipedia and from journalist Michael Thompson.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Go For It!

"I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome."

~ Golda Meir

Friday, May 16, 2008

Women of Worth

This is a fantastic website! L'Oreal of Paris has created a website and gives awards to "Women of Worth" for their contributions to their communities. Now these are the gutsy women of today! Click on the title to this post and go check out their website!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lucy Autherine Foster

Juanita Lucy Autherine Foster was born October 5, 1929 in Shiloh, Alabama the daughter of Hosea and Milton Lucy. As one of ten children she went to public schools through junior high. She worked in the cotton fields and also helped to raise watermelon, sweet potatoes and peanuts for her family. She graduated from Linden Academy (high school) in 1947.

Lucy’s undergraduate years were spent at Selma University in Alabama and the all-Black Miles College in Fairfield, Alambama. In Fairfield she met Hugh L Foster whom she later married. In 1952 she graduated with a B.A. in English. From there she decided to go to graduate school at the University of Alabama, never realizing how that decision would change her life forever!

She knew it would be challenging at best to get into the school and so she approached the NAACCP for help. Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley and Arthur Shores were assigned as her attorneys. Court action to get her enrolled began in July, 1953.

Neither Lucy, nor her family, friends or attorneys thought the case would go as far as it did. On June 29, 1955 the NAACP secured a court order restraining the university from rejecting Lucy and her friend based solely upon their race, thereby forcing the University of Alabama to admit them. Two days later the court amended the order to apply to all other African-American students wishing to enroll in the university. So, on February 3, 1956 a 26-year old Lucy enrolled as a graduate student in library science.

The other students, however, were not excited about the prospect of having Lucy in their ranks and they mobbed and mocked her. They threw eggs at her and tried to block her way. Police escorts were needed to get Lucy to and from her classes. That same evening she was suspended from the university. The Board stated that the action was taken for her safety and that of the other students. The NAACCP lawyers did not accept the suspense and took action against the university again.

Unfortunately they were not able to make a case on Lucy’s behalf and the court determined that the suspension was justified and Lucy was expelled from school.
Unfortunately Lucy was not able to find work as a teacher following the University of Alabama expulsion. She was considered too controversial. So, in the spring of 1956 she moved to Texas and married her college sweetheart, the Reverend Hugh Foster. They had five children and later on she was hired as a teacher. After 17 years in Texas the Foster’s returned to Alabama in 1974 where Lucy worked as a substitute teacher. It was during this time period that she began speaking periodically at civil rights meetings.

Oddly enough, in 1988 two professors at the University of Alabama invited her to speak to a class, telling students about her experienced more than 30 years before. One of the students asked, “Did you ever try to re-enroll?” Foster admitted that she had not, but said she would consider it. Several faculty members came to her aid and worked with the university to overturn her expulsion.

So, a year later, Autherine Lucy Foster entered the University of Alabama to earn her Master’s Degree in elementary education. Her daughter Grazia enrolled about the same time as an undergraduate majoring in corporate finance. In the spring of 1992, they both received degrees.

Autherine Lucy Foster is truly a gutsy woman!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

To Karen - the Gutsiest Friend I Know

Not too long ago my friend Karen told me that she is facing a serious illness and some major surgery coming up next month. Throughout the whole ordeal she has not lost her sense of humor, graciousness or strength. I know that deep down she is fighting her own "demons" and may even be frightened (although she would never admit it!) I care about my friend very much and am a better person for knowing her. She is the gutsiest woman I have ever had the privilege to know! Karen - you are in my thoughts and prayers!

A Friend is a Treasure
A friend is someone we turn to,when our spirits need a lift.
A friend is someone we treasure,for our friendship is a gift.
A friend is someone who fills our lives,with beauty, joy and grace.
And make the world we live in,a better and happier place.