When I arrived he was on the phone so during the wait I had a chance to talk with Milton Scott who represents newspaper interests when the Arkansas Legislature is in session. We talked about a number of things concerning my new book and somehow we got into the subject of success and opportunity and why the United States of America is such a great country.
It is always my heart’s desire to give credit where credit is due and during our discussion Milton shared an interesting concept that I had never really thought about before.
He said, "One of the reasons our country is so successful is because of the great contributions that women have made to our economy." He went on to say, "They make up half of the population, they are highly educated, they are motivated and they are hard workers. This is not true for many countries in other parts of the world."
Later, as I thought about what Milton Scott had said, I realized that it was true. In those countries where women are treated as property, have no rights and very few freedoms — because of oppression — along with graft and corruption where democracy does not exist, you have squalor, poverty and terrible living conditions. To use a boxing metaphor, "It’s like trying to win with one hand tied behind your back."
It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to pay tribute to the women of America, to thank you for your contributions and for helping to make our country the greatest nation in the world.
I would also add that many of the victories that women have won, even in our own country, did not come easy. Back when I was in high school I learned the names of three women who were early pioneers in the movement to secure the right to vote for women. The most notable was Susan B. Anthony, along with Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cody Stanton. All of their efforts failed until a rare opportunity came along that would change the course of history. This opportunity was called the First World War. While most of the men were away fighting a war, women came to the forefront and stood in the gap.
They worked in factories to turn out munitions (here I’m reminded of Rosie the Riveter of World War II fame) and all the other items necessary to fight a war; they reared the children and were there to greet the victorious troops when the war was over. Because of their patriotism, gaining economic independence and the strong support of President Woodrow Wilson, on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, giving the right to vote to women. Susan B. Anthony was not around to see it. She died in 1906.
Now, back to what I said earlier about a democracy. The power of a true democracy is the ballot box, and today we see women participating in every facet of leadership in our country.
One place where this is most evident to me is the opening of membership to women in civic clubs. We just finished the year for our local Lions Club with a woman president, and I was privileged to be her sponsor.
The issue of leadership is not about domination, It’s about ability, and any successful organization is built on mutual respect. I know this for sure. Women have some strengths that men don’t have and I would not want to be without them. Besides that, they improve the looks of the club. In my mind, I can see a couple of readers smiling just now, but of course I don’t know who you are.
Women are special for another important reason. Millions of women in this nation are also mothers and our national leaders thought this was so important that they set aside a special day that we call "Mother’s Day" to honor them. As a Christian, I would like to say that a godly mother is the best gift that any man could ever have.
There are still many issues in America today that divide us, but still many, many more that unite us. As it relates to the future of our nation, I am reminded of a statement I heard one time about a successful marriage, "Marriage is not looking at each other. It is looking in the same direction together."
There is a passage in the Bible in the 31st chapter of the book of Proverbs that talks about a worthy woman that says in part, "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Her children rise up and bless her. Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all."
It’s an honor for me today to pay tribute to the women of America.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. He may be contacted at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway AR 72034.)