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  • Pauline Hoffmann

International Women's Day

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Women's Suffrage - March Into Women's History

Each year I work with a colleague to highlight the work of extraordinary women during Women's History Month. We take the NCAA basketball bracket, remove all the basketball and add women. We share the bracket with anyone interested and encourage people to vote for the woman to win it all in our bracket. To view the current bracket and past winners click here.

While 2020 was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in 2021 we continue to celebrate the strides made to allow people of all genders and all races to vote in democratic elections worldwide. This year we celebrate suffrage and women who have led or lead countries around the world.

Pew Research has a wonderful gif detailing the countries that have had female heads of state since 1950 (visible below).

Having researched female heads of state and having just gone through our own presidential election here in the United States it is interesting to me the number of countries (75) - as well as the specific countries - that have had female heads of state. By the way, 13 of those countries have had more than one female leader.

How did I get this information? Google can be your best friend but you have to pay attention to what Dr. Google shares with you. What are some of the words/phrases I Googled to get the info I needed?

- First female leaders in the world

- Countries that have had female leaders

- Women who were involved in global women's suffrage

- Countries that allowed women to vote

I think you get the idea. I also had access to some other tools. The League of Women Voters distributed a Women's Suffrage Timeline with information from the National Women's History Museum, African American Women and Suffrage, Infoplease and Wikipedia.

The bios and photos of the women in our bracket are taken largely from Wikipedia. Yes, I'm an academic and I use Wikipedia. Honestly, I use it to get photos and bios each year for our bracket because it's easiest and quickest. We take a paragraph or two and nab a photo. We cite our sources. If I was doing more in depth research, I would use Wikipedia to get me started...perhaps. I would want to use additional sources (as noted here) to get more information or to corroborate information.

I will write a separate blog post in the future about how to find appropriate sources. It will also be a topic in one of my classes and on the podcast - it's that important to mention more than once!

The theme for the 2021 International Women's Day is Choose to Challenge. On this International Women's Day, I will reflect on the women who have chosen to challenge. I will think about the women who have led in countries and think about what they must have faced in order to lead. What trials and tribulations did they go through? What obstacles did they face? What discrimination? They chose to challenge the status quo. They chose to challenge the patriarchy. They chose to challenge.

I am thankful to be a woman in 2021 in the United States. I welcome dialog of women worldwide.

Happy International Women's Day. I raise a glass of wine (or two) to women worldwide!

And I choose to challenge.

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