1804: Mary Tyler Peabody Mann born November 16th, (educator, publisher, writer, kindergarten reformer, Transcendentalist)

  • Born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, she was a teacher, author, mother, and wife of Horace Mann, American education reformer and politician
  • Growing up in Salem, Massachusetts, Mary Peabody left home at eighteen to teach school in Maine. She moved to Boston to assist her sister Elizabeth in the operation of a school for young children; in their mid-twenties, Elizabeth and Mary moved into a boardinghouse
  • Although the board of education’s powers were limited, with Mary’s assistance, her husband Horace Mann, shaped public opinion regarding school problems and created public support for increasing the pay of teachers and improving their training through the founding of state normal, or teacher-training, schools.
  • Mary joined the ranks of reformers. Overeating was one of the vices that Mary campaigned to change; her Christianity in the Kitchen: A Physiological Cookbook purported to serve as a moral guide to good eating. It was the housewife’s duty, Mary believed, to educate herself in the latest scientific knowledge in order to keep her family healthy. Citing the research of scientists, she warned her readers against rich and fatty foods and advised moderation in spices and abstinence from alcohol.
  • As a widow, Mary also wrote for a variety of periodicals on topics related to education (no matter how obliquely), translated works from the Spanish, supervised the education of her sons, participated actively in philanthropic work, and aided her sister Elizabeth in her kindergarten in Boston. Her essay, “Moral Culture of Infancy,” was published in 1863 in a single small volume with Elizabeth Peabody’s “Kindergarten Guide:” Moral Culture of Infancy, and Kindergarten Guide: with Music for the Plays.
  • The collaboration of Mary and Elizabeth included promoting the speaking career of Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, the first Native American woman known to secure a copyright and to publish in the English language. In addition, Mary helped Hopkins with her book, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883).
  • In her eightieth year, Mary began to write her first novel; Juanita: A Romance of Real Life in Cuba Fifty Years Ago (1887) appeared posthumously.


1899: Mary Margaret McBride born November 16th (journalist, broadcaster)

  • Originally employed as a print journalist, McBride hosted an extremely popular daily radio program during the late 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Her audience was composed mainly of women. Her show mixed spontaneous interviews with notable guests, many of whom were women, and useful information with a heavy dose of advertising targeted at women. Topics discussed on her show included prostitution, unwed mothers, marriage in the modern world, and pioneering women. The program offered an alternative to the afternoon soap operas and demonstrated that women’s interests ranged beyond cleaning tips and recipes. McBride maintained complete editorial and commercial control over her program and in doing so made lasting changes in the style of radio talk shows.
  • She worked a year as a reporter at the Cleveland Press, and then until 1924 at the New York Evening Mail. Following this, she wrote freelance for periodicals including The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and starting in 1926 collaborated in writing travel-oriented books.
  • McBride first worked steadily in radio for WOR in New York City, starting in 1934. This daily women’s-advice show, with her persona as “Martha Deane”, a kind and witty grandmother figure with a Missouri-drawl, aired daily until 1940.
  • In 1934 and 1935, she was the women’s page editor for the Newspaper Enterprise Association syndicate. In 1937, she launched on the CBS radio network the first of a series of similar and successful shows, now as Mary Margaret McBride.
  • She interviewed figures well known in the world of arts and entertainment, and politics, with a style recognized as original to herself.
  • She accepted advertising only for products she was prepared to endorse from her own experience, and turned down all tobacco or alcohol products.



Benazir Bhutto elected leader of Pakistan, 1988, November 16th

  • A public left-wing politician and stateswoman who served as the 11thPrime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1988 until October 1990, and 1993 until her final dismissal on November 1996
  • In 1982, at age 29, Benazir Bhutto became the chairwoman of PPP – a centre-left, democraticsocialistpolitical party, making her the first woman in Pakistan to head a major political party.
  • In 1988, she became the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state  and was also Pakistan’s first and thus far, only female prime minister.
  • Benazir Bhutto’s popularity waned amid recession, corruption, and high unemployment which later led to the dismissal of her government by conservative PresidentGhulam Ishaq Khan.
  • In 1993, Benazir Bhutto was re-elected for a second term after the 1993 parliamentary elections.
  • In 1996, the charges of corruption levelled against her led to the final dismissal of her government by President Farooq Leghari.
  • Benazir Bhutto conceded her defeat in the 1997 Parliamentary elections and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1998.
  • After nine years of self-exile, she returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after having reached an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf, by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.
  • Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a bombing on 27 December 2007, after leaving PPP’s last rally in the city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the scheduled 2008 general election in which she was a leading opposition candidate.
  • The following year, she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.


Quote of the Day

Benazir Bhutto Speech – Male Domination Of Women

Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan
Beijing, 4 September 1995

As the first woman ever elected to head an Islamic nation, I feel a special responsibility about issues that relate to women. In addressing the new exigencies of the new century, we must translate dynamic religion into a living reality. We must live by the true spirit of Islam, not only by its rituals. And for those of you who may be ignorant of Islam, cast aside your preconceptions about the role of women in our religion.

Contrary to what many of you may have come to believe, Islam embraces a rich variety of political, social and cultural traditions. The fundamental ethos of Islam is tolerance, dialogue, and democracy.

Just as in Christianity and Judaism, we must always be on guard for those who will exploit and manipulate the Holy Book for their own narrow political ends, who will distort the essence of pluralism and tolerance for their own extremist agendas.

To those who claim to speak for Islam but who would deny to women our place in society, I say:

The ethos of Islam is equality, equality between the sexes. There is no religion on earth that, in its writing and teachings, is more respectful of the role of women in society than Islam.

My presence here, as the elected woman prime minister of a great Muslim country, is testament to the commitment of Islam to the role of women in society.

It is this tradition of Islam that has empowered me, has strengthened me, has emboldened me.

It was this heritage that sustained me during the most difficult points in my life, for Islam forbids injustice; injustice against people, against nations, against women.

It denounces inequality as the gravest form of injustice.

It enjoins its followers to combat oppression and tyranny.

It enshrines piety as the sole criteria for judging humankind.

It shuns race, colour, and gender as a basis of distinction amongst fellowmen.

When the human spirit was immersed in the darkness of the Middle Ages, Islam proclaimed equality between men and women. When women were viewed as inferior members of the human family, Islam gave them respect and dignity.

When women were treated as chattels, the Prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him) accepted them as equal partners.

Islam codified the rights of women. The Koran elected their status to that of men. It guaranteed their civic, economic, and political rights. It recognised their participative role in nation building.

Sadly, the Islamic tenets regarding women were soon discarded. In Islamic society, as in other parts of the world, their rights were denied. Women were maltreated, discriminated against, and subjected to violence and oppression, their dignity injured and their role denied.

Women became the victims of a culture of exclusion and male dominance. Today more women than men suffer from poverty, deprivation, and discrimination. Half a billion women are illiterate. Seventy percent of the children who are denied elementary education are girls.

The plight of women in the developing countries is unspeakable. Hunger, disease, and unremitting toil is their fate. Weak economic growth and inadequate social support systems affect them most seriously and directly.

They are the primary victims of structural adjustment processes which necessitate reduced state funding for health, education, medical care, and nutrition. Curtailed resource flows to these vital areas impact most severely on the vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.

This, Madam Chairperson, is not acceptable. It offends my religion. It offends my sense of justice and equity. Above all, it offends common sense.

That is why Pakistan, the women of Pakistan, and I personally have been fully engaged in recent international efforts to uphold women’s rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights enjoins the elimination of discrimination against women.

The Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies provide a solid framework for advancing women’s rights around the world. But the goal of equality, development, and peace still eludes us.

Sporadic efforts in this direction have failed. We are satisfied that the Beijing Platform of Action encompasses a comprehensive approach toward the empowerment of women. This is the right approach and should be fully supported.

Women cannot be expected to struggle alone against the forces of discrimination and exploitation. I recall the words of Dante, who reminded us that “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.”

Today in this world, in the fight for the liberation of women, there can be no neutrality.

My spirit carries many a scar of a long and lonely battle against dictatorship and tyranny. I witnessed, at a young age, the overthrow of democracy, the assassination of an elected prime minister, and a systematic assault against the very foundations of a free society.

But our faith in democracy was not broken. The great Pakistani poet and philosopher Dr. Allama Iqbal says, “Tyranny cannot endure forever.” It did not. The will of our people prevailed against the forces of dictatorship

But, my dear sisters, we have learned that democracy alone is not enough.

Freedom of choice alone does not guarantee justice.

Equal rights are not defined only by political values.

Social justice is a triad of freedom, an equation of liberty:

Justice is political liberty.

Justice is economic independence.

Justice is social equality.

Delegated, sisters, the child who is starving has no human rights.

The girl who is illiterate has no future.

The woman who cannot plan her life, plan her family, plan a career, is fundamentally not free….

I am determined to change the plight of women in my country. More than sixty million of our women are largely sidelined.

It is a personal tragedy for them. It is a national catastrophe for my nation. I am determined to harness their potential to the gigantic task of nation building….

I dream of a Pakistan in which women contribute to their full potential. I am conscious of the struggle that lies ahead. But, with your help, we shall persevere. Allah willing, we shall succeed.

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