Thanksgiving has never been a favorite holiday of mine. I’m thankful for many things, and take time to consider them this time of year. But eating huge amounts of food – most of which I just am not a big fan of – is lost on me.
Last week Time magazine put out a list of the 25 most Powerful Women of the Past Century. It is a great list. And it got me thinking about who was a surprise and who wasn’t, who should have been included and why. Who I am thankful came before me? Who am I thankful came at any time in history?
Jane Addams was at the top of the list. This was surprising to me as she is someone I have seen as a hero, and often have to explain her background to others. She is the reason we have social workers. Hull House inspired women to do the same in other cities. Addams changed the way this country treated the poorest citizens and newest residents, something we seem to have forgotten over the years.
The list includes obvious choices like Gloria Steinem, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Margaret Sanger and Eleanor Roosevelt. What our lives would be like without these women, I have no idea. Would someone else have come along? Would change have been delayed without them living when they did? The includes modern women too, that those of us in our mid to late 20s are much more familiar with, including Hilary Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Angela Merkel and Julia Child. They have all knocked on glass ceilings, supported women and their rights, and have left a mark that is yet to be determined fully.
When I sit down to give thanks at dinner, I will be thankful for wonderful and supportive family and friends, and roof over my head, two cats I sometimes cannot stand, but always love. I will and also give thanks to Margaret Sanger, Gloria Steinem, Jane Addams, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt and all the women whose shoulders we stand on every day when we live our lives as we chose. They are a part of the reason we can do that.
Who are the women you are thankful for?
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Originally appeared on Fem2.0