Washington, DC offers rich archives about oratory, rhetoric, and the power of ideas.
It’s all gone down here: presidential inauguration addresses, worldwide movements (& the voices who marched them forward), and states of the union that comprise our nation’s history. I love this city so.
When near the US Capitol today:
I was a few hundred meters from where Elizabeth Cady Stanton first delivered her Solitude of Self speech to Congress back in 1892.
Her persuasive ideas and what stood out:
There’s ample room to analyze this speech (her ultimate appeal for women’s suffrage to the Senate hearing committee). What keeps coming to mind is her focus on ‘individuality of the human soul’ and a pointed focus on the nature of self-dependence.
A favorite excerpt:
“The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread — is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty. Because as an individual she must rely on herself. To throw obstacles in the way of a complete education is like putting out the eyes; to deny the rights of property is like cutting off the hands. To refuse political equality is to rob “the ostracized of all self-respect…”
What voices have influenced your thinking about access to opportunity and self-reliance?
Happy Women’s History Month!
And here’s to self-dependence, self-assertion, and celebration of progress.
More resources and ways to celebrate International Women’s Day:
Fortune Magazine certainly convened an incredible group of forthcoming, strong storytellers at their Most Powerful Women Summit. What keeps coming to mind though are particular remarks from Secretary Clinton.
Nelson Mandela and a story that either ethically challenged or inspired or both.
The Secretary engaged with the audience in two different ways: she gave a closing address for the overall summit and then gave a relaxed, in-depth interview with TIME Chairman Ann Moore. There was a question from Moore that was something like: “What person most influenced you?” At this point, Secretary Clinton’s reply just blew me away.
She shared a specific memory about President Nelson Mandela during her White House years. In South Africa at a ceremony honoring Mandela’s leadership, Secretary Clinton remembered Mandela taking the podium and before launching into remarks, he first expressed gratitude for three jailers that worked in the Robben Island Prison where Mandela was incarcerated for many years. It was his focus on the positive qualities of those jailers and the inherent forgiveness within his gratitude that struck the Secretary and now, my outlook on both storytelling and ability to practice a forgiving mindset no matter one’s circumstances.
One minute audio clip: Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton on women in tech mentoring initiatives (and more)
“Talent is universal but opportunity is not.” -Secretary Clinton on the value of mentoring young women nationally and abroad at the #MPW summit.
Technology, especially social media, is a boon for women expressing their leadership and fortifying their sense of community. It was invigorating to learn more directly from the Secretary about these programs.