Making History, Herstory

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In 1987, the month of March became Women’s History Month to recognize the role of women in American History. A lot has been written about the women’s suffragette movement for equality, including the right to vote. (Really America, you had to wait until 1920 to make that a thing?!) I’m truly grateful for the sacrifices made by the women before me, but that’s not what this blog is about. No, we’re here to celebrate the fun contributions women made. And there’s plenty to celebrate!

Feel free to play Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun in the background while you read this!

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First, let’s celebrate laughter. And we have to begin with that crazy redhead, Lucille Ball.

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Not only was she talented, beautiful and smart, but she also co-founded with her husband the production company that produced I Love Lucy. Desilu became the second-largest independent television production company in the U.S. Not bad for a woman and an immigrant from a communist country!

Another enterprising comedian was Mary Tyler Moore, who we just lost this past January.

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MTM Enterprises produced many sitcoms including: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Lou Grant, Phyllis, The Bob Newhart Show and WKRP in Cincinnati.

And of course there was Carol Burnett and her variety show.

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You never knew who was going to be the first break out of character on her show and bust up laughing, which is what made it so fun. Kind of like some of the SNL skits.

SNL had many talented women on the program, including Tina Fey, who became the first female head writer in 1999.

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(Really SNL, 1999?!) Personally, I would have given that first female head writer gig to Gilda Radner back in the 1970’s!

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And not be outdone by the youngsters are the Golden Girls.

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Still going strong after all these years. Thank you for being our friends, and speaking honestly about aging. Unfortunately, I’m finding that show much more relevant now than when it first aired!

Let’s move on now to some really important historic contributions. Chocolate chip cookies and ice cream!

Ruth Wakefield was educated at the Framingham State Normal School Department of House Arts. I promise I didn’t make that up. She ran out of baking chocolate and instead used broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate thinking it would absorb into the dough. That didn’t happen. Instead she invented chocolate chips for chocolate chip cookies! Since she was working at the Toll House Inn when that happened, she decided to call her delicious treats the Toll House Crunch Cookies. Thank you Ruth!!

Nancy M. Johnson was ahead of her time, creating an ice cream freezing machine in 1843 before freezers were invented. Unfortunately, Nancy sold that patented machine off cheaply, and it went on to become the standard mechanism for many years of ice cream making.

One woman who was very savvy with her business was Sarah Breedlove Walker.

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In 1867, Sarah was the first person in her family born free from slavery. After losing her hair to a scalp ailment, she created her own hair treatment, and went on to market it to other black people who had very limited options when it came to hair care. But she didn’t stop there. Over the years she created a variety of beauty products, and by the time she past away at the age of 51, her business was valued at over one million dollars. This made her one of America’s first self made female millionaires! The first of many self made millionaire/billionaires who came from very humble beginnings.

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So what excuses do we have? I’m talking to the guys too! No more excuses. Let’s get busy making our own history, and have fun doing it! And feel free to leave a comment on the women who have inspired you.

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