An event crossed my feed on Facebook this week that got my attention. Smaltz Brewing Company has brewed a special beer, She’Brew, to celebrate their birthday and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York. One hundred years! Part of the proceed of sales of this beer will go to Planned Parenthood and Pink Boots Society, a professional organization for women in the beer industry. Friday night, from 7 until 10 pm, this beer will have a debut celebration in Wichita at The Anchor with samples and giveaways. Sounds like fun! I hope to be there to lift a glass to the fierce women who came before us.
The breweries pride in women’s activism in New York, makes me think about our own state’s history in gaining rights for women. Did you know the first elected office to ever be held by a woman in the United States was in Argonia, Kansas? It’s true! Her name is Susanna M. Salter, and she was elected mayor in 1887. Her story is fascinating. She had no idea her name was entered in the race as a prank by a bunch of men, who thought they could teach women a lesson to keep them from running for office, with what they thought would be a humiliating loss. She won with two-thirds of the vote.
One of the influences that inspired me to start the Finishing School for Modern Women is a book, published by Watermark Books, called Radiating Like a Stone, Wichita Women and the 1970s Feminist Movement. If you haven’t read it, you should! This anthology of essays, compiled by the lifetime Wichita activist Myrne Roe, is written by 79 fierce local women who fought hard to make life better for all of us. When I initially read the book, I saw that while some progress has been made, I was amazed at how many of these same issues that held women back then, still hold us back today. I decided then, that the more we can own our power to follow our passions and dreams, and persist in spite of the struggles, the more we create new opportunities for the women.
My own fierce role model is my mother, Cecilia Green, pictured here as Rosie the Riveter at a historic fashion show for the National Federation of Press Women. My mother taught me through her words and actions, that women are smart, powerful and can achieve anything. When we come together, we achieve even more. She inspires me to be all that I can and help others do the same.
Who is your fierce women role model?