The past week has been a whirlwind of excitement! As I reflect on the week, one thing that has struck me is the prevalence of strong women in my studies, social life, and travels.
In my history course, we are learning about the American Revolution and how the British lost the colonies. We discussed Martha Washington, wife of George Washington, and Margaret Gage, wife of General Thomas Gage, a leader of the British military. Although Martha and Margaret were only discussed briefly, I realized that without them, the course of American and British history would be incredibly different.
Martha Washington acquired a great deal of wealth from the death of her first husband, allowing her and George to live a lavish life. This provided George Washington with some of the connections he needed to gain respect within the upper-class social circles. Had Martha been poor, or had her husband lived, President Washington may not have become the revered figure he is today. Thank you, Martha!
Margaret Gage is slightly more interesting- there is speculation that she sympathized with the Patriots and actually served as a spy! She may have provided the Patriots with information about the battles of Lexington and Concord. Although the evidence is only circumstantial, it is fun to think about how that may have affected the ability of the British to operate militarily. Thank you, Margaret!
Anyways, on to powerful women in the 21st century.
After having a week to get to know my peers, mostly women, I have realized that we are mostly strong, independent women (sorry, George, Nick, Jack, Dr. Trainor and Dr. Leeman) that are going to achieve great things. Despite not knowing many of the people on the trip before coming, I have learned that we are all leaders in different ways, both at Salve and abroad.
Yesterday, when we met a young waiter who tried to convince us all that feminism was dead and that gender-equality was what we really should pursue, I was incredibly proud when we all reminded him that feminists advocate for gender equality (that’s part of the definition!) and that they were the same thing. The waiter was undoubtedly both intimidated and entertained by the obvious passion many of us felt for the subject!
My last strong women shoutout goes to my family back home. I am so incredibly grateful to have such a supportive base cheering me on from the States. I miss them, but know that they are with me here in spirit. Special shout-out to Jess and Sarah (my sisters), who followed in my footsteps last night, earning the Citizenship Award (awarded to one boy/girl from each grade), just as I did!
Cheers to you, Mum and Dad, you must be doing something right!