2002 Christine Jarosz - Dallas, Texas
Words of Women 2002 Essay of the Year
As an activist, an historian, and a woman I have spent around fifty years paying attention to the women in my life, the future possibilities for women, and the lives and contributions of women who came before me.
From Sappho to Gertrude Stein to the ďBattle-ing Bard of PoteidiaĒ, Gabrielle; from Boudicca to Joan of Arc to Xena; from Nefretiti to Elizabeth I to Eleanor Roosevelt; from first doctors, first social workers, first astronauts, first tennis stars; from great writers, actors, singers, dancers, poets, inventors, scientists, teachers, saints, stargazers, healers, guides, renegades, I am made. I know these women. Iíve read about them, Iíve dreamed about them. Iíve fanaticized about them. Iíve wanted to be them. Iíve marveled at their courage, their wisdom, their joy, and their commitment. Iíve wept at their words, deeds, sacrifices, and deaths. In my journey to be a woman of worth, I look at all these and know I have far to go to compare.
Excluding the women in my life, my Mother, my Sister, the Woman who has torn my heart apart, the woman who inspires me to do the work I do, the woman who holds up half the sky, she is the woman who most inspires. We do not know her name, have, in fact, never known her name, and though she is seen everyday is not recognized. But she is there and has been there always. Cleaning our offices, clerking in the grocery woman . store, making our clothes, marching for equal rights, gathering and hunting for her family. Doing the work, making the effort, living, loving, struggling. Without acknowledgement and most times without pay. Virtually invisible. Behind the scenes. Unknown. Anonymous. Against all customs, constraints, taboos, and cultural slavery; she achieves. In secret and at risk sometimes. But certainly without tribute always.
When you see that which is attributed to anonymous, believe me, that deed or action or word was the accomplishment of a woman. For anonymous was a woman.
Christine Jarosz, WiseWoman - Dallas, Texas