Reflections on Women 2011
The Last Lions, a poignant National Geographic documentary of a lioness nurturing her three cubs after her spouse dies, evokes echoes of the women’s movement in Liberia. I recently met Leymah Gbowee, a mother from Liberia, who organized 1,000 women to sit for many months in front of the fish market to demonstrate against Charles Taylor, the President of Liberia, in protest of his atrocities against women and children. After many months of nonviolent and organized efforts including sit-ins, Taylor was deposed. Gbowee knew that she could not do it alone.
The lone lioness in The Last Lions cannot kill water buffalos alone, the only source of food for her cubs and herself. She finally joins a pride of other lionesses and together they are able to hunt and care for themselves. The cubs grow and thrive; soon they will be independent and hunt in their own groups.
In unity there is strength whether in the animal kingdom or among humans. Gbowee knew this and is now the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award as well as the Blue Ribbon for Peace from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Abby Disney, insightful filmmaker, has made a compelling documentary about Gbowee and in the spirit of women helping women, is housing Gbowee’s daughter, a student at the Marymount School in Manhattan, in her own home in New York City.
I was fortunate to attend a women’s college in New York City, Barnard College, where friendships that were forged many years ago are still burning brightly today. The tradition of women helping women continues in the stream of young women who come to intern at Education Update. I am proud to help and guide them and am immensely gratified when they come back to visit.
This is Women’s History Month, a time to recall the accomplishments of those women who excelled in their fields before us, a time to applaud the achievements of those “Women Shaping History” today who appear in our pages. Our cover honors the largest number of women to ever lead the City University of New York, a historic place for immigrants to achieve their dreams of a better life.
May the ancient Greek goddesses Ceres, earth mother; Venus, beauty; and Minerva, wisdom, continue to inspire us to improve the lives of those around us through education, peace initiatives and health endeavors.
Thanks to the last lioness and to Leymah, as well as all the women in this issue, for their courage, guidance and wisdom! #