Independent Women – History in the Making

History has a strange way of making the world seem simultaneously vast and small; old and new. Perspective always has a way of changing the way you see the world, and, like an optical illusion, you’re never able to grasp the full picture at the same time. Look too closely and you miss the big picture. Grasp the big picture and you miss the interesting details.

I was given a little bit of perspective not that long ago when I volunteered to help with Tribe Table @ Bentonville Film Festival and got to listen in on the stories of women in the film industry while they were interviewed by Tribe of Women founder, Amy Robinson. One guest talked about how women have only been “allowed” to have credit cards within the past 40 years. Another talked about her previous work experience as a sales associate in the late 1990’s and how she was only allowed (that word again) to work on a sale up to a certain dollar amount, at which time a man would have to come and finish the deal.

Shock… Then Awe

I was shocked. Not only because they didn’t think that women didn’t have financial rights, or that someone who had done all of the work to get a sale to where it was, could suddenly not seal the deal, but that this occurred the past few decades, and within my lifetime.

And thus, out of curiosity and a desire to understand and contextualize the progress of women in history, I was inspired to develop my own timeline, “A Brief History of Women’s Independence”. I wanted to remind myself of just how recent the rights I often take for granted were won. In particular, I wanted to give myself a little bit of perspective on women’s rights – how far we have progressed, how much we can accomplish in mere decades, and how far we still have to go.

I cannot stress enough that this is a brief and biased history (as is most history). In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to focus only on women’s independence in the U.S. beginning in the 1770’s. Even with this shortened time frame, I’ve missed a lot. For example, I didn’t include the still current #MeToo movement or that there’s a record number of women running for office – that history is still being written. One of the biggest things missing from this timeline is the social attitudes and prejudices. For example, I would be surprised to find in any of my history books the limits and discrimination of financial rights for women, or the year women they were finally allowed to finish the sales they started. Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet? At least for some.

So, while this exercise has helped put things in perspective for me, I realize it is only my perspective – a young woman in the United States of America perspective – and that there are other perspectives to add and stories to be told. Societal attitudes and prejudices have a much more mercurial nature than laws and history portray. When looking through textbooks it’s easy to find when a law, such as voting rights for women, was enacted. However, when society’s attitude changes to accept the underlying premise of that law, that “Women should be treated as equals to men,” – is not so easy to pinpoint. Maybe because we haven’t arrived at that point in herstory. At least not everyone. At least not yet.

Herstory

History is organized by numbers, but it’s perpetuated by stories. Only through storytelling do we learn about others, ourselves, and our world.

Artist: Shepherd Fairy’s “We the People” Series

Like I said, this timeline is biased. I leafed through history and picked out things that interested me, but the timeline is missing stories that I can’t tell, a depth that I can’t add. Within one of our pillars at Tribe of Women is “Tribe Stories” – the place where we connect. And that’s what we ask from you, our readers. Any stories you have, of how women’s rights or societal attitudes have changed (or have not changed), of yourself or of others, we urge you to share, to write, to tell. Your stories are part of the narrative of herstory lived and that is still being written.

Your Story

What historical events do you think should have been included? What stories or memories do you have of historical changes in laws or in attitudes? What are you celebrating this 4th of July? Please share in the comments below, post on the social media thread where you found this blog, or send it to us directly at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net with “Independent Women” in the subject line.

Tribe of Women Loves Mood and Market

Tribe of Women is proud to announce our latest partnership with Mood and Market!

Mary, the founder of Mood and Market, had been dreaming of running her own business for years. As a wife and mother, she rarely found time for herself in her hectic schedule. Being a mom felt like her only role, and while she loved it, she knew that she wanted something in her life to take ownership of. After being a stay at home mom for 15 years, she decided it was time to start doing something simply for herself. In 2015, Mary began her own interior design business and saw intense growth. The business was successful, but it removed her from the home more than she liked. It was impossible to strike the balance between running a successful business and being an attentive wife and mother. Who hears that? (Me! Me! Me!)

Passion & Repurpose

She quickly decided that her family was more important than her business, and spent a year transitioning back into “mommy-dom”. Mary began to wonder if it was possible to stay at home and still have a “thing” outside of the home that would also help support the family. That “thing” stems from creativity and love of all things transformable. Mary likes to say that her mother was a junker before it was cool. That habit that once embarrassed Mary eventually turned into her passion. Now, she has adopted her mother’s love of “junk” and turns antique furniture and vintage housewares into something new and beautiful. One thing that sets her work apart from other junkers is her eye for authenticity. Mary has a knack for recognizing historical characteristics of pieces, from how old they are to the type of wood they’re made from. She finds joy in making trash into treasure, and, as her mom used to say, “being able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

Mary’s idea for Mood and Market was born from the combination of her love, gifts, and desire for work/life integration. She also wanted to lift up and create a community of other local artists that could not only help with production but feature their skills and talent. Since there’s not enough time in the day to be a wife, mom, find antique goodies, or learn different trades (welding, painting, etc.) to transform them… she decided not to. Mood and Market allows Mary to find beautiful pieces and create a vision of transformation while relying on other local artists to bring them to life. She loves to spotlight the artists she partners with on her website and support local business.

Tribe it Forward!

Mary brings the Mood, and her best friend, Loray, brings the Market. Loray understands the ins and outs of how to run a business and happily brought that knowledge to the table. Loray also has strong ties to Tribe of Women, knows our belief in women entrepreneurs being vital to economic growth, and our desire to walk our talk of women supporting women. We are proud to be working with Mood and Market and are so grateful that a portion of their women’s equality “Under Wear” line of clothing sales go to support our “gift one” Tribe Talks.

Women supporting women. Shop Mood and Market and let’s tribe it forward, together!