Happy Belated International Women’s Day!

Man, do I fail at feminist blogging or what, missing this holiday? Oh well, such are the consequences of slaving away in the laboratory. I have absolutely no idea what has happened in the world in the last week or so. Wars could have started for all I know. I mean, I don’t even understand all of these Charlie Sheen memes!

Anyway, let’s have a belated celebration with an open thread. Discuss what women you look up to and have been most influential in your life. They can be famous, friends, family – but explain why they mean so much to you.


  1. gypsylibrarian says

    Hey, you may have missed the day, but March is Women’s History Month (by Presidential Proclamation and everything). So hey, you are still very much on track. Best, and keep on blogging.

  2. says

    Don’t worry, it isn’t a real holiday anyway. Is there a mascot that can be rendered as a fuzzy stuffed possibly animatronic animal? Is there a mixed drink named after it? Bad sweater designs, candy, gifts, specific meal? Not a real holiday. You’ve got a year… get cracking people! I’ll start it off… the mascot should be a kangaroo.

  3. says

    My sister, no doubt. In college (she was the first and so far only person in my family to graduate college, btw) she wanted to be a sportscaster, which I would imagine is a male dominated field. I wasn’t around back then, but I can imagine her not even giving any consideration to this fact. She’s the kind of person that just does what she wants, and if you stand in her way, well, sucks to be you.She always has everything together, and she’s completely self-made. No one in our family prepared her to be the kind of person she is. She is organized, independent, loving, assertive, and without a doubt the strongest person I know. To stop me from being sent to foster care when I was 12, she took me in. She was only 34, single, with a life and a small business. I know I turned her life upside down, and I’d say I ruined it, but she somehow has absolutely no regrets. I don’t want to think about how my life would have turned out without her.She’s the only person I have ever known that I can honestly say I’ve always been able to depend on no matter what, even when we’re half a continent apart.If I have any nonsexist tendencies, it’s because my sister’s example has led me to take it as an axiom that women can do whatever they damn well please.

  4. the_Siliconopolitan says

    Holiday?I like the Danish name better: The International Women’s Struggle Day. Or Fight.This is not a day for a relaxing. It’s a day for fighting. Until the fight is won.

  5. says

    My Mom. She married into a Baptist family and through sheer force of will changed things. It used to be that after Christmas dinner all the men would sit around jawing while the women cleaned up the meal they’d just prepared. Not so after my Mom came along. She got the men up and cleaning. Hey, it was only fair. The women cooked so the men should clean.

  6. Steven says

    If your supervisor is a man then “you missed international women’s day working for the man”. Yeah, I know thats terrible, but I couldn’t resist.The two most influential women in my life are (of course) my mom, and a certain teacher I had in high school. My mom taught me how to be a good person and this teacher is just the strongest person I have ever known. She is so driven to make things better and is just an amazing person.

  7. Dave says

    Female people I look up to?Well the one who springs to mind is Rita Levi-Montalcini.As a Jewish woman in Mussolini’s Italy, she wasn’t allowed to be part of the university, so she set up a chick embryology lab *in her attic*. (Chick as in Gallus gallus, not some kind of secret all-female research group). Closely followed by Nicole Le Douarin, who did some really kick-ass research with chick-quail chimeras. I also briefly worked in a lab next to Cheryl Tickle, who basically discovered the role of Sonic Hedgehog in limb patterning. As an undergraduate I was taught by Marysia Placzek, who also was also pretty instrumental in developing the role of SHh in neural tube patterning, and put me in contact with the lab I did my PhD in.While I’m really proud of my field for producing some really epic female researchers, I’m also sadly aware that that’s only because developmental biology is a “girly” subject (like obstetrics and gynaecology in medicine) that women are “allowed” to play at science. But still, I feel priveleged to work in a field where women are as often as not the really big players in the field.

  8. steve says

    Carolyn Savage,RN-4 tours in that shithole called Vietnam,in a MASH unit-you’ve seen Robert Altman’s movie by that name? she lived through it.Openly Atheist ,feminist,pro-choice in 1980’s Oklahoma,which took a hell of a lot of guts.None of us could have asked for a better mentor,leader or teacher.

  9. says

    My mom. Everyone agrees with me. She is made of adamantium (I know it doesn’t exist, but if it did…). She puts up with everything and is first to help everyone, no matter what the circumstances.

  10. Kage says

    My mother. For all the things good mothers do, but especially for being able to raise her kids when her mother and grandmother couldn’t. For ending a family cycle of drinking and violence. For somehow figuring out how to raise 4 kids – alone, in public housing, living on (Australian) welfare – so all of us are reasonably well adjusted and successful. This helped lay the groundwork that allowed her 2 grandkids to have safe and financially secure lives and become amazing young adults.As I get older, and she shares more stories of her early life, I am more and more amazed at her strength, her generosity and her natural intelligence.

  11. Azkyroth says

    Dr. Susan Holl. For doing an amazing job running the Sac State mechanical engineering department, being a hypothetical good future role model for my Joey Monster, and still finding time to answer most of my obnoxiously over-eager questioning about the program, course offerings, schedules, and deadlines. O.oI also admire Professor Shar McCarroll at American River for going into mathematics and succeeding essentially to prove wrong the professor who smugly mansplained (in the real sense of the term) that of course she was having trouble in his mathematics class, she was a WOMAN. While at the same time condemning her for whatever personal failings it was that compelled her to turn my having to miss a few classes while on the road for work, and needing to submit homework to her and make up quizzes, into a personal power struggle. >.>

  12. A-M says

    Shannon Lucid flew into space 5 times and spent a total of 223 days in space. I am impressed with anyone who becomes an astronaut, but especially for a woman back when very few women were in the correct scientific field, and their career options were limited. Add into the mix the fact that Shannon Lucid was the only one of the first 6 nasa female astronauts to be a mother, and you have a truly inspiring and remarkable woman.

  13. Valis says

    Leila Khaled, without a doubt! She was the first woman to hijack an airliner (TWA flight 840). She has dedicated her life to relieving the plight of the Palestinian people. I had the great privilege of meeting her once. She is by far the strongest woman I know of.

  14. Serenegoose says

    Ada Lovelace. Whilst my field isn’t computer programming, they’ve been a huge part of my life ever since I was young. She’s as much my hero for being the first computer programmer as she is for being a woman.

  15. Gus Snarp says

    My wife, who manages to be a college professor, wife, and mom all at once. In fact, all moms. But more than that, all single moms, because said wife is out of town all week being a professor at a conference and I am playing single dad. Knowing that it is far more likely to be the woman getting by as a single parent, and they’re out there working, putting food on the table, and taking care of their kids, and how hard I find doing it for a week, makes me realize that they’re superheroes. And fuck Mike Huckabee.

  16. JM says

    Sounds like my daughter, who is one of the women I admire. She just goes after what she wants and has been an outstanding student, musician, and engineer along the way. She is now turning her extra (non-job) energy and focus to living as green as she can.

  17. Zagloba says

    Second.Oh, and my nominations for “woman who deeply affected me and made me a feminist”:1) Tori Fucking Amos.2) Gail Bederman (one of my academic mentor figures, and damn cool lady)

  18. says

    My mentor, Barbara McClintock reshaped how I thought about women in science, and women generally. A very independent person, I remember when I asked here what it was like getting the Nobel prize, and she said “well, I had to go there to accept it, had to wear a costume, you know, and then people I didn’t know sending me letters asking for money afterwards,” so also modest.

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