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This week's editorial

This week's editorial from senior editor Joan Ritchie.

As March is annually celebrated as Women’s History month and comes to an end, I think about the women who have been influential in my life; it’s women who have gone beyond the ordinary to dig deep into their spirits to push beyond borders to make an impact in the lives of those around them. We recognize the contributions of women throughout the ages, and those who continue to influence society now and in the future for good.  

I think about a woman’s female circle of influence and in-turn, how that influence has affected our very own lives. Mothers, friends and mentors speak into our lives, and help to mould us into the people we become. I have many and am grateful for their influences in my life. My love and heartfelt thanks go to those women who I hold dear and remember at this time.  

As I roamed through lists and lists of women of influence on the internet, I became rather disillusioned as to who the list contained. Sure, many of these women forged to the top of whatever ladder they were climbing, but I must say, not without skin and blood beneath their fingernails to get there. It’s funny what power sometimes does to a person.  

Then I think about those that developed a legacy through challenges, as they sojourned on into the history books making an impact on future generations. These are the women I will name and honour today.  

  • The ‘Living Saint’ Mother Theresa (1910-1997) who gave her heart and soul to make the poor, dying and unwanted in Calcutta and around the world her passion. She showed the true essence of charity.   
  • Marie Curie (1867-1934), physicist and chemist, who was the first women to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her discovery of radium and polonium which became the game-changer in cancer treatment and cures. She also created a portable x-ray machine that was used to treat frontline soldiers in WWI.
  • Anne Frank - Annelies Marie Frank (1929-1945), is probably the best-known of Holocaust victims - a German-born Jewish girl who kept a diary in which she documented life in hiding under Nazi persecution. With an unfounded belief in the good of mankind, she wrote in her diary, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.”  
  • Nellie Bly - Elizabeth Cochrane (1864-1922), adopted the name Nellie Bly as a pen name to go undercover as an investigative journalist. She faked mental illness in New York to go into a mental asylum on Blackwell Island in New York. She reported the unfair treatment patients endured and was instrumental in the local municipal government investing more money into improving conditions for the mentally ill.  
  • Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was a Black American activist instrumental in the civil rights movement, when she would not give up her seat to a white man on a bus.  She became an inspiration exuding dignity and strength in the struggle to end racial segregation. 
  • Phan Thi Kim Phúc (1963-) – the ‘Napalm girl’ whose photograph became the symbol of the horrors of the Vietnam War. She used her personal tragedy for the wider good and gives speeches around the world about her life story and the power of forgiveness.  
  • Malala Yousofzai (1997-) the fearless human rights activist passionate about female education.  As a survivor of a gunshot by a Taliban gunman at age 15, she lived to tell her heroic story and received a Nobel Peace Prize at 17yrs.  

We have not seen the end of women who endure hardship, overcome boundaries and continue to make indelible marks on human history, but every female on this earth has the power to influence others for good.  

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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