Six women who are going to help us make some history

March 14, 2020

 

 

It’s a cacophony of coronavirus right now, but March is still Women’s History Month and when it comes to “women’s history” let’s be honest: We’re still writing it. While yes, we’ve made progress, it’s very clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

 

I’ve got a few thoughts about the women who, I think, will help us get us there. While some are actively working to move women into more positions of power in boardrooms, courtrooms and government hearing rooms, some are doing all those things just by showing up and being part of our national conversation about gender and equality. 

 

With everything going on in the world, it’s more important than ever to add a little spice -- some diversity of perspective, thought and opinion -- to your social media feed. Because sharing is caring, I thought I’d share some women creators who inspire me, make laugh, and help me continue to believe that “more” and “better” for women are not just a dream: 

 

Jemele Hill

Fun fact: I met Hill in 2003 in the press box of Spartans Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan, as she covered a Michigan State football game for the Detroit Free Press. I was desperately trying to follow along as Associated Press sports reporter Larry Lage showed me how it’s done. Spoiler: Covering a football game is hard work. Since then, I’ve followed Jemele’s career as she skyrocketed from a reporter in Michigan to ESPN personality to Trump truth teller. I greatly admire Jemele’s honesty and her dedication to her craft (she’s at The Atlantic now) while also trying new things like being on camera and being behind the microphone on her own podcast via Spotify called, “Jemele Hill is Unbothered.”

 

Glennon Doyle

Funny feminism. It really should be more of a thing. I’m so glad I found Glennon Doyle in the past few years. OG followers of Glennon have been with her since she started her blog, Momastery, in 2009, which -- fun fact -- is the same year I started mine via Blogger, then called “Amy Runner: Not any runner, Amy runner.” I have to say, I love everything on her accounts, particularly her sister’s hilarious comparison of the once crowded Democratic primary field (“ … it’s only the future of our Republic!”) to the much maligned Fyre Festival. Bonus: Glennon’s new book, “Untamed,” hits store shelves this week.  

 

 Mirna Valerio

The saying goes, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” I think that especially applies to athletics and endurance sports, including running. It’s easy to think that these types of events are only for “a certain body type” and until we regularly see other shapes, sizes and ages, we don’t think they’re doable. That’s where Mirna comes in. She’s showing what’s possible -- even running ultramarathons -- if you put your mind to it. She doesn’t just have the guts to take on a huge goal like that, but she puts herself out there and talks about it and even addresses bullying. That’s bravery. She’s been featured by several media outlets and in a handful of podcasts, including this one and this one. Spoiler: They’re all great. 

 

 

Laura Bassett

It may seem silly, but among my barometers of endorsing women who inspire me is whether they prompt me to act -- even if it’s through a “like” on Twitter. And when it comes to that, I can rarely make it through a day without liking something -- a tweet, article or insight -- from Laura. Her very brave column on Chris Matthews this month? It takes balls to do that, but to go through the harassment that came after? Grit and guts. 

 

 

Connie Schultz

I’ve been a fan of Connie and her work since I started dreaming about becoming a journalist as a young woman in my family’s suburban Cleveland household that got the Plain Dealer delivered every day. Schultz, a longtime columnist at the newspaper who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work, was an incredible role model to me, someone who wanted to be a writer, but didn’t know anything about the profession. She’s now an author and a syndicated columnist who also has something to say about things, including the heartbreak of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s failed bid to be the Democratic nominee for president. I have a deep appreciation for smart, quick-witted women who speak their mind, which is among the reasons I really like following Connie on Twitter. The other: She’s also invested in lifting up the voices of other women. 

 

Jenna Wortham

My only complaint about the Still Processing podcast produced by the New York Times and hosted by Jenna and Wesley Morris? That there aren’t more episodes. I love thoughtful, well-produced podcasts and Still Processing is among my favorites. The themes discussed by the hosts, who are both culture writers at the paper, have been incredibly helpful to me as a 40-something woman trying desperately to understand, and appreciate, the radically different life experiences of people who aren’t white and straight. A few of my all time favorite podcast episodes from Jenna and the team over the past few years? Her description of touring Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation as a queer black woman. Her love note to “Old Towne Road” and hat tip for Lil Nas X.  And then there was her take on what we should have learned from Lauryn Hill’s album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” a CD I easily played hundreds of times as a new “working woman” just out of college. 

That’s just a few of the people who remind me that the world isn’t absolute shit. And these days, it seems like we can take all the lifting up we can get. So who’s on your lift up list?

Amy Bailey was a member of the Michigan Capitol Press Corps from 2000-2006. She lives and works in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband, son and an easily excitable Australian Shepherd named Max. Amy's guest column, Something to Say, publishes periodically. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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