The Matilda Effect: Women Scientists Sidelined

Margaret Rossiter, Cornell Univ.

This month’s Smithsonian Magazine (Oct. 2019) has a feature article by Susan Dominus entitled “Sidelined.” Matilda Joslyn Gage is featured prominently in the article. There is a large portrait photograph of her (The same one that is on the cover of my book, Quoting Matilda.). There is even a large color photograph of the Gage House in Fayetteville, New York, where Matilda lived for over 44 years.  It is now an interactive museum.

Margaret Rossiter

 

Dominus is reporting on Margaret Rossiter, a science historian. She is also the one who coined “The Matilda Effect,” named after Matilda Joslyn Gage, of course, to describe what happens to women scientists, inventors, etc., who don’t get the credit for what they have accomplished.  Rossiter wrote an essay, “The Mathew Matilda Effect in Science.”  In that essay, she stated: “Gage noticed that the more woman worked the more the men around her profited and the less credit she got.”

Rossiter, a professor emerita at Cornell University, has written Women Scientists in America:  Struggles and Strategies to 1940, a study meant to counteract the glib response of a gathering of professors in 1969 when she was only 24-years-old.  In an informal gathering, she asked them, “Were there ever women scientists?” They answered with a resounding “NO!”  Though someone did bring up Marie Curie’s name, they dismissed her as just being a helper to her husband, who was, they assumed, the real genius in their discovery of radium—despite the fact that Curie had won two Nobels!

Margaret Rossiter reminds me of Matilda Gage.  Both searched archives and doggedly pursued the data that would prove that women’s accomplishments were vast.  Yes, even in the fields of science and invention. Like Gage, this uncovering of the past to dig out the real story was also Rossiter’s quest.  Like Gage, she investigated the systematic way that the field of science deterred women and “a chronicling of the ingenious methods that enterprising women nonetheless found to pursue the knowledge of nature.” She documented their slow but determined progress toward scientific breakthroughs and inventions. She also recorded some statistics:  In 1938, 13% of science PhDs were female; less than half would get postdoctoral funding. In addition, she illustrated that administrators needed to reform academic institutions to make them more hospitable to women. It certainly wasn’t for lack of merit that they didn’t advance.

Rossiter, a professor emerita at Cornell University, has written Women Scientists in America:  Struggles and Strategies to 1940, a study meant to counteract the glib response of a gathering of professors in 1969 when she was only 24-years-old.  In an informal gathering, she asked them, “Were there ever women scientists?” They answered with a resounding “NO!”  Though someone did bring up Marie Curie’s name, they dismissed her as just being a helper to her husband, who was, they assumed, the real genius in their discovery of radium—despite the fact that Curie had won two Nobels!

Margaret Rossiter reminds me of Matilda Gage.  Both searched archives and doggedly pursued the data that would prove that women’s accomplishments were vast.  Yes, even in the fields of science and invention. Like Gage, this uncovering of the past to dig out the real story was also Rossiter’s quest.  Like Gage, she investigated the systematic way that the field of science deterred women and “a chronicling of the ingenious methods that enterprising women nonetheless found to pursue the knowledge of nature.” She documented their slow but determined progress toward scientific breakthroughs and inventions. She also recorded some statistics:  In 1938, 13% of science PhDs were female; less than half would get postdoctoral funding. In addition, she illustrated that administrators needed to reform academic institutions to make them more hospitable to women. It certainly wasn’t for lack of merit that they didn’t advance.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, a Brown University professor emerita and expert on developmental genetics, displayed astonishment over Rossiter’s first volume. She said this about it: “It meant that I should never believe anything anybody tells me about what women did or didn’t do in the past, nor should I take that as any measure of what they could do in the future.”  Those women back in 1870 (when Matilda published her book, Woman as an Inventor) were also pretty astounded to learn that many inventions purported to have been invented by men were actually conceived by women. Our Mrs. Gage had a quote about this subject, too: “In history written by men, the women who have most largely influenced the fate of the nations are but alluded to. Many women are almost entirely ignorant of the deeds of their sex in the past.”

Athena
Minerva
Isis
Surawati

 

 

 

 

Perhaps with the resurgence of superheroes and gods and goddesses, our present generation has become aware of the many inventions attributed to Athena.  But Matilda’s book also spoke of Isis in Egypt (breadmaking & agriculture, flax and the arts of healing and embalming), Minerva/Athena in Greece (all kinds of tools:  plow, rake, yoke and bridle to farmers; and handicrafts, especially weaving; musical instruments: flute; the very  important earthen pot (and it’s ornamentation); also war chariots and shipbuilding.  Even Surawati in India, the “Mother of the Incas” in Peru and many of the empresses of China (Yao:  spinning) and the discovery of silk were included.  She also did not leave out the Amazons, who were purported to have invented the javelin, shield and battle-ax.

Matilda asserts that there is no doubt that women were the originators of lace as well as many other fabrics—velvet, gauze, crepe, satin, pongee, etc. Upscale inventions included cashmere shawls and Attar, an expensive perfume.

Semiramis
Mother of the Incas

The discovery of cotton as a textile fiber was ascribed to Semiramis in the East and “The Mother of the Incas” in America.  Also, in America at a much later date, the straw bonnet was manufactured in 1798 by Betsy Metcalf.  Those of you reading this will be surprised to learn that it was actually a woman who invented the cotton gin.  Catherine Littlefield Green, a plantation widow, conceived the cotton gin and then asked a boarder in her home, Eli Whitney, to assemble it for her.  Women had a hand in inventing many other mechanical harvesters as well, though the patent was often claimed by a man.  The processes of canning food, handling babies (the baby carriage), a spinning machine and rotary loom, even a self-fastening button made domestic life easier.  But women were also inventors of improved war machinery, train and factory updates, and surgical instruments.  Indeed, though many a wise and talented woman was burned as a witch in earlier eras for their superior knowledge of the healing arts, they continued to contribute medicinal advances.

A heroine of mine, the German Benedictine medieval nun, writer, composer, philosopher, mystic and visionary who was considered by many to be the founder of scientific natural history, Hildegarde de Bingen, who wrote a medical book that is still being referred to for its wisdom of incorporating the four elements in diagnosing and curing patients, must be mentioned here.  I also want to recommend a book that our Women Transcending Boundaries Book Group recently read.  Hildegard played a prominent role in Victoria Sweet’s memoir God’s Hotel:  a Doctor, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine. Dr. Sweet discovered Hildegarde and did do a pilgrimage in Spain and Germany. She started applying Hildegarde’s techniques to her own practice with some very amazing and satisfying results.  Instead of relying on the technical devices that the medical community relies upon in this century, she started using Hildegarde’s methods as well:  listening to the patient, carefully observing, and considering all aspects when deciding on treatment.  Hildegarde’s System of the Fours was a holistic system. Her medicine combined the “four humors” theory of premodern medicine with her own knowledge of medical botanicals. Dr. Sweet traveled to Switzerland to study Hildegard’s original manuscripts as part of her doctoral program. Like Gage, she also taught herself German so that she could read Hildegard’s manuscripts in the original.  At the completion of her studies, she embarked on a pilgrimage tracing the path of St. James from France through Spain. She broke the journey into three separate trips over three years’ time, each time returning to Laguna Honda with new insights and more challenges wrought by the modernization of the hospital under financial duress. Sweet’s study of Hildegard formed the basis of her Ph.D. in the history of medicine and resulted in an award-winning book, Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Sky: Hildegard of Bingen and Premodern Medicine.

Dr. Howard Walsdorf

A friend of mine in Syracuse has written something similar.  Dr. Howard Walsdorf is a local chiropractor and Natural Healer. His book is entitled The 4 Element Lifestyle:  A Powerful, Natural Way to Regain Health & Vitality. I have read his book and I highly recommend it!  Again, Fire, Air, Water and Earth qualities form the basis for individual healing.  They can be tapped into for personal growth, spiritual transformation, and physical healing.

There is much more to the Smithsonian article. Rossiter’s journey is also fascinating to read about. She discovered women scientists—”but they were undervalued, underpaid, kept as assistant jobs where they did mountains of tedious work, never promoted like their male counterparts (‘hierarchical segregation’).” Perhaps, I will write more about her in future blogs.  She deserves it.  She researched why women got less funding than men.  Why are they underrepresented? She even researched the almost ubiquitous sexual harassment endured by female scientists. The article also includes eleven short bios of female scientists in America who Rossiter has brought “out of the shadows!”

“No less is the darkness of the world kept more dense and its civilization retarded [than] by all forms of thought customs of society, or systems of law which prevent the full development and exercise of woman’s inventive powers.”—Matilda Joslyn Gage, Woman as an Inventor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matilda at the State Fair

Yesterday I manned (womaned?) the Gage House’s table in the Arts and Food Building at the New York State Fair.  I got up early to drive to the special Orange Parking Lot at the Fair, making several wrong turns before I found the right area.  It was Maple Syrup Day at the Fair, but it was also Women’s Day and International Day.  Since the Gage House Foundation had only one shot at a tabling event, this was the best possible day.  The beautiful weather made for large crowds and lots of traffic passed our table.

The table had plenty of pamphlets and a large choice of woman power stickers to peel off and stick on one’s shirt.  There was a sign-up sheet available so people could get on our email list.  As Sally Roesch Wagner recently was rewarded with a grant for upgrading technology at the Gage House,  there will be many more woman-related events coming up at the house Matilda lived in for forty-four years in Fayetteville, New York. We volunteers and staff at the Gage House get together for “Mondays with Matilda” at the House in order to do some brainstorming for future projects and to share and compare notes with each other.

I loved engaging in conversation with the Fair-goers who paused at our table.  There is so much to share about Matilda!  But an obvious opening question to ask in order to draw them in is “Do you know who Matilda Joslyn Gage was?”  A few locals know of her, but mostly in an incomplete hazy way.  But the New York State Fair-goers who came long distances to experience the Great New York State Fair—which was the very first state fair and is still the biggest state fair—were not familiar with our heroine.  Well, there is so much to say about Matilda that it is impossible to do more than scratch the surface.  Fortunately, we were in a corner of the building and did not get as much noise and interference as other areas had.  Also, we had for sale (just $5.00!) copies of Matilda’s booklet Woman As An Inventor. On the cover is written:  “In history written by men, the women who have most largely influenced the fate of the nations are but alluded to.  Many women are almost entirely ignorant of the deeds of their sex in the past.”

What’s a booth without an activity to incentivize people. We also had a big black trifold board on which our “customers” were asked to mount a sticky note onto it with the name of a woman (past or present) that also was/is rather forgotten by history.  [My theory is that, unless you write your own autobiography or someone else writes a biography of you, you may be forgotten by history, even if you weren’t purposely “kicked out.”]  As I researched Matilda, I discovered many lesser-known names that have been forgotten, even though they were not “lost” on purpose.  But I am especially excited tonight about an amazing woman who, against all odds, rose to prominence and lived to be 108. My friend Joanne Verone just happened to send it to me as I started to write this article.

Her name was Clara Belle Drisdale Williams.  I had never heard of her. Have you?  And yet she has been mostly forgotten or never became famous enough to cross my radar.  But, unlike Matilda who was purposely ignored in the history books until lately, Clara even had a street named after her.  Read about her here:

Clara Belle Drisdale Williams [1885-1993] was the first African-American graduate of New Mexico State University. Many of her professors would not allow her inside the classroom, she had to take notes from the hallway; she was also not allowed to walk with her class to get her diploma. She married Jasper Williams in 1917; their three sons became physicians. She became a great teacher of black students by day, and by night she taught their parents, former slaves, home economics. In 1961, New Mexico State University named a street on its campus after Williams; in 2005 the building of the English department was renamed Clara Belle Williams Hall. In 1980 Williams was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree by NMSU, which also apologized for the treatment she was subjected to as a student. She died at 108 years old.

I would appreciate it if you would reply to me on this website where my blog offers a space for comments.  If you know of someone who was mostly forgotten in history, please share it with me.  Tell me what you know about her.  I might get around to researching her more deeply and blog about her here.

The problem often is that it is not that women were written out of history but that they were never recognized in the history books in the first place!  This conundrum coincides with “The Matilda Effect.”  Named after our Matilda Gage, because she wrote a small book called Woman as an Inventor back in the year 1883, “The Matilda Effect” applies when a woman has invented or created something but a man gets the credit for it.  As women could not sign contracts nor apply for patents, a man’s name went on most of these documents.  Yet, even now, The Matilda Effect is still apparent among women scientists, artists and other areas of creativity.  This seems to happen especially when women are part of a team.  Even if they did most of the work or were the ones that came up with the solution, a man’s name is often identified with the project instead of any women participants.

I hope to hear from you so we can all get acquainted with additional unsung heroines!

Gage Protest at the Statue of Liberty

The statue stands 151 feet high (on top of a 154-foot-high pedestal) and depicts Lady Liberty raising a torch in her right hand and holding in her left hand a tablet inscribed with the date of the publication of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

MANY protests and protest marches have been happening.  And there is A LOT to protest.  I have been participating in several and will participate in one this coming Friday night.  It is being dubbed “Lights for Liberty.”  My understanding is that there will be similar protests all over America that night—despite the fact that it is a difficulty for people of the Jewish Faith.  Candles will be lit and speeches will be given.

Growing up in the Midwest in a small town near St. Louis, I never experienced any protest marches or demonstrations.  We watched on TV Vietnam protests and women’s rights demonstrations.  The closest I came at that time was a small contingent of SDS members on the quad of my teacher’s college, Illinois State, doing a silent protest.  The closest public demonstration that I participated in was going to the state capitol in Springfield with a small group of women who had formed a group we called “Housewives for the ERA.”  When I lived in Pennsylvania, near Scranton, there were no demonstrations in which I participated or even remember.  The closest I came then to activism was written protests against the building of a trash incinerator.

Things changed when I moved to Syracuse.  Maybe its that New York vibe.  Certainly, when I lived in the Midwest, most of “the action” seemed to be happening on the west coast or on the east coast.

Since moving here, I have made quite a few bus trips to Albany for various causes.  Many of them concerned environmental issues:  another incinerator problem, hydrofracking, climate change (especially the huge march inspired by Bill McKibben in New York City and another on a blisteringly-hot and muggy day in Philadelphia.)  More recent ones have been marches against gun violence.  If you have read my most recent posts, you know I have participated in the first Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. followed the next day by the 2019 Women’s March. Currently, I have been working and volunteering on issues considering immigration. I and many others will be at a “Close the Camps” silent protest downtown tomorrow from 12:00-12:30.

But enough about my protest marches.  It is one particular protest of Matilda Joslyn Gage’s that I want to share today. In 1886, the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to honor the shared commitment to the idea of liberty by the United States and France, was dedicated.

The New York Times described the excitement surrounding this event: “All day yesterday people came to the city in droves to participate in today’s celebration. Extra heavily loaded trains, much behind schedule time, were the rule on every railroad entering the city. Every hotel was crowded to its utmost capacity last night, and there was hardly one of the better-known hotels which did not have to turn away hundreds of would-be guests.” Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty to a city that was crowded with spectators. The ceremony included speeches by the president and famed French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, among others, as well as music and gun salvo. The finale featured the statue’s designer, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi.  He was perched in the statue’s torch.  At the official time, he pulled a rope removing a large French flag from the front of the statue, revealing Lady Liberty’s face to the crowd.

On first thought, you would probably think that Matilda would be all for this.  But her take was quite different.  She and other progressive women, members f the New York City Woman Suffrage Association, attended the unveiling ceremony in the New York harbor in order to protest the ironic symbolism of “Lady Liberty.”  She argued that a woman could not represent liberty in a country where women were not even guaranteed the right to vote.  They deemed It the greatest hypocrisy of the 19th century.  Liberty represented as a woman in a land where not a single woman had the liberty to vote!

The New York State Woman Suffrage Association had to jump through some hoops in order to get to the event.  They couldn’t get tickets to attend the unveiling on Bedloe’s Island (now known as Liberty Island) because they were unaccompanied women, according to the National Park Service.  However, they found a way. There was a parade of ships sailing by the island to celebrate the unveiling that day, so the suffragists chartered a boat and crashed the procession. The suffragists on that steamer held up banners protesting the unveiling, attended by 2,000 to 2,500 men on the island. The men were also joined by at least two women, both of whom were there with their husband or father.

Gage remarked on the occasion: “It is the sarcasm of the 19th century to represent liberty as a woman, while not one single woman throughout the length and breadth of the land is as yet in possession of political liberty.” To her and the other protesting suffragists, this was a travesty.  Indeed, so was the celebration surrounding it—which included many boats surrounding Ellis Island and fireworks and other speeches. These women were imaginative and did display civil disobedience.  But their actions contained no violence.

This engraving, based on a drawing by Charles Graham, shows New York Harbor and the Statue of Library illuminated by fireworks to celebrate the statue’s unveiling on Oct. 28, 1886.

 

 

 

Gage’s protest at the unveiling of Lady Liberty was not the last held there.  As Betty Little says in a recent article, “The Statue of Liberty has long been a magnet for protest. For more than 130 years, the statue, with its famed inscription “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” has served as a powerful symbol for Americans who want to protest injustice. A recent protest happened a year ago on July 4th.  Immigrant activist Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, climbed up to the Statue of Liberty’s feet to protest the treatment of immigrants and asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexican border. In particular, her protest spotlighted the thousands of children whom the U.S. separated from their families and has yet to reunite. As a result, Liberty Island was evacuated shortly after the seven protesters unfurled an ‘Abolish ICE’ banner from the statue’s pedestal and Okoumou climbed the statue’s base. Okoumou, of Staten Island, was born and educated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but she has lived in New York for at least the last 10 years. She joined the group Rise and Resist, which unfurled an “Abolish ICE” banner at the base of the statue, and had been taking part in about one protest a week with the group.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1970, Feminist Betty Friedan called for a national women’s strike on August 26 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted U.S. women the right to vote. Friedan, the outgoing president of the National Organization for Women at the time, urged women to forego paid and unpaid work in order to draw attention to gendered disparities in employment, education and household responsibilities. A similar protest is arising right now with the stir that the U.S. Women’s Soccer Champs inequality in pay (18% on the dollar compared to what the men’s soccer team gets paid—who didn’t even qualify for the championships.)  Friedan (from whom I had the pleasure of hearing a speech in person) said at the time:  “I propose that the women who are doing menial chores in the offices as secretaries put the covers on their typewriters and close their notebooks and the telephone operators unplug their switchboards, the waitresses stop waiting, cleaning women stop cleaning and everyone who is doing a job for which a man would be paid more stop.”

Two weeks before the march, about 100 protesters hung a banner on Statue of Liberty’s pedestal that said “Women of the World Unite.” This “liberation” of Lady Liberty helped build momentum for the August 26 strike, during which 50,000 women marched through the streets of New York City.

The year after the women’s strike, 15 or 16 members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War occupied Liberty Island for three days to protest the Vietnam War. On the door to the statue, they posted a letter to President Richard Nixon. They said, “Now, as we sit inside the Statue of Liberty, having captured the hopes and imaginations of a war‐weary nation, we have run out of all excuses … Mr. Nixon: You set the date. We’ll evacuate.”

Inside the Statue of Liberty, a spokesman reads the demands of members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), who barricaded themselves inside the structure overnight as a symbolic protest.

 

 

The flag of Puerto Rico flying from the head of the Statue of Liberty after 28 Puerto Rican nationals seized the Liberty Island and the statue. In October 1977, Puerto Rican nationalists draped a Puerto Rican flag across Lady Liberty’s crown. For decades, residents of the U.S. territory had lived as second-class American citizens who couldn’t vote—so activists draped a banner across the statue’s pedestal, calling for Puerto Rico’s independence.

 

 

 

 

In 1979, 40 unarmed Muslim students loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini laid siege to the statue for several hours and chained themselves inside the monument’s crown to demand death for the deposed Shah of Iran.  They unfurled a banner from the crown that declared “The Shah Must be Tried and Punished.”

In 1980 Croatian nationalists detonated a time-delayed bomb in the museum that once occupied the statue’s base. According to law-enforcement officials, the perpetrators were terrorists who, for the prior five years, had conducted a wave of bombings, assassination attempts and other terrorist acts around the U.S. Their goal was Croatian independence from Yugoslavia.

The famous poem by Emma Lazarus wasn’t added to the base of the statue until years later in 1903. Her sonnet, “The New Colossus,” it includes the famous lines:

“‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marches: Indigenous Peoples and Women’s March

Back in January, I was invited to go along down to DC for the Indigenous People’s March and the Women’s March.  Wanda and I have done several Sierra Club Service Projects together and many other activities—such as a local Syracuse March protesting the Keystone Pipeline in support of the protesters at Standing Rock.  She has also invited me to Laguna Pueblo in Arizona for their feast days, The Field Museum in Phoenix, concerts with her sisters, Joanne and Diane Shenandoah, who sing beautiful Native American music—well you get the picture.  These trips often involved connecting with Native people in various parts of the country.  So, it felt quite natural to join the Indigenous People’s March that was planned for the day before the Women’s March.

But…we arrived at the beginning of the march site a little late.  So, we didn’t actually do the march.  But we caught up with everyone shortly afterward and reveled in the splendor of all the many styles of Native dress.  To have the Washington Monument in sight and the Jefferson Monument right in front of us was inspiring in itself.  We listened to speeches and participated in a circle dance. Drums, rattles, singing and chanting were all part of the festivities.  So was a serious talk about the many young Indian women who are being raped and “disappeared.”  The numbers are much higher than that of any other population.   One speaker called out the names of every one of them. Also, calling out the derisive names that indigenous peoples have been called,

It was a friendly crowd and Wanda met up with a few people she knew from other parts of the country and from our local Onondaga Nation.  There seemed to be a large representation of the Haudenosaunee.  Their purple and white made them stand out.

 

Many of you assuredly heard on the news the next day about an elderly Indian man, Nathan Phillips, being harassed by a group of young teenagers from the South, many wearing MAGA hats.  We met a few of the moms of these students in the bathrooms beneath the Lincoln Memorial.  They were just asking directions and were part of the Planned Parenthood protesters.  Meanwhile, a different drama was unfolding outside.  We saw the large men who were proclaiming that they were Black Hebrew Israelites. They were a strange kind of activists, indeed.  We missed the confrontation where, supposedly, teenage boys were being attacked.  The news that night constantly replayed the footage of a small crowd of MAGA-hat wearers making noise.  The smarmy smile of one young man seemed highly insulting.  This was all refuted when additional footage was produced later on.  Mr. Phillips claimed that he inserted himself into the possible confrontation in order to quell any violence that might have occurred between these large black men and the mostly white kids from the South.

Wanda and her daughter Rachel and I missed this drama also.  It seemed to be going on quite a distance from where we were standing.  It is too bad that the incident got blown out of proportion and used as a weapon between those on “the right” and those on “the left.”  I am glad we were not in the midst of the somewhat disrespectful attitude of the teenage boys who were acting foolish and “whooping it up.”  But it should not have escalated in the media to the point that the news reports on both sides exacerbated the whole event.  Sadly, as a result, many of the important points that the marchers and their spokespersons were trying to make did not make the news.

I am glad I could be a part of it, listen to some of their history, hold hands and have conversations, help myself to free sassafras tea, and enjoy the richness and diversity of the many representatives of tribes all over the world.

The next day, we got to the Women’s March on time.  (Wanda had worked in Washington, D.C. for years several decades ago and she knew the city well.)  It was crowded and there were plenty of pink pussy hats. (I had brought mine that had been given to me before the first Women’s March when I was in Atlanta.)  I could have stayed home and joined the march in downtown Syracuse.  Or I could have gone to the big march being held in Seneca Falls.  But since I was left out of the first march, it was important to me to do the D.C. trip. [Read one of my first blogs from January 2018, and you will see why I missed participating in that first march. It was a very ironic turn of events.]

There were plenty of signs and we were all handed some free ones to carry.  The mood was upbeat and power driven.  There were so many of us that we moved slowly.  But no one was angry (except at Trump) or pushing, or out-of-line (Well…maybe the ladies who were selling large photos of naked women to try to make a point about body image.)  There was a spark in the volume of our protest shouts as each segment passed in front of Trump Tower.  The march was not very long.  But there were plenty of good speeches by famous and near famous important people to listen to.  Free food and drink were offered. Wanda and I got stopped by some gentlemen with cameras who wanted to interview us briefly about the event.  We obliged and shared the good things we had to say about it. And Rachel “shared” her dog Chloe, the cutest little white fluffy service dog ever.  I came to the conclusion that Chloe and Rachel were the most photographed of anyone else in this march.

You may have heard that there was controversy over the D.C. March this year.  That probably significantly contributed to the numbers being down this year.  One of the leaders was also a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement.  She was criticized for allowing Louis Farrakhan to have part in the day’s agenda.  I could understand the dilemma, though.  I experienced a similar issue when I decided to use a quote from Khadijah Farrakhan in a teachers’ resource book that I wrote about ten years ago.  Though Farrakhan himself was controversial, the quote I attributed to him pertaining to the importance of women certainly was a positive message.

While there is more to say, I will stop here and let the photos tell more of the story.  My soul was finally satisfied.   I had participated in many marches since moving to Syracuse.  So, it was highly frustrating to keep missing the women’s marches! The irony of that reaches the ridiculous!