Read about dynamic strong women who changed the world while we celebrate Taste of the Islands this weekend. The event, see page XX, is hosted by the Business & Professional Women of Marathon and the proceeds are donated to local educational scholarships.
The Other Einstein
Most people have not heard of Mileva Maric. She was a Serbian physicist and the first wife of Albert Einstein, in Zurich, Switzerland at the turn of the century. Mileva struggles to enter the Polytechnic as one of the only woman allowed to study at this level. Possessing a natural proficiency in math and science, Mileva constantly restrains herself, as it is unacceptable for a woman to outshine the male students. Classmate Albert Einstein is immediately intrigued and befriends Mileva, whom he affectionately calls Mitza. Together they form an ideal team to discuss and examine the most challenging theories. Mileva is essential to Einstein’s work. Constantly battling on many fronts from professors and family, she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, surrenders her career and sadly, her name is all but forgotten. This incredible reimagining of a brilliant woman from another time will capture both your heart and imagination.
Margaret Sanger survived a difficult childhood. Born in 1879, she was one of 11 children. Her miserable mother and alcoholic father had little to give and nothing to share. The older girls escaped quickly and for years Margaret tended the younger ones. With a sharp eye and quick wit, Margaret found herself desiring more than the average woman of her time. With a love of learning and thirst for independence, Margaret truly believed change was possible. As the rebels and socialists fought for equality and the vote, Margaret’s nursing position provided health care to the poorest tenements along New York’s lower east side. While her political friends held dinners, discussed world views and downed champagne, Margaret climbed the steepest, filthiest stairwells of buildings where dreams were crushed and women and children were dying daily. These women begged Margaret for change. There were no alternatives at the time and no restraints for abusive husbands. Margaret spent her entire adult life fighting to establish birth control and Planned Parenthood. Author Ellen Feldman narrates the life of a woman that continues to reach out to us a century later.
Daring to Drive
In 2011 Manal al-Sharif was imprisoned for driving in Saudi Arabia. She was forced to sleep on a filthy mattress in a cockroach-infested jail crowded with women. If her travel, intelligence and determination had already set her up as an accidental activist, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Meeting these imprisoned women strengthened Manal’s resolve that things in Saudi Arabia must change. This beautifully written memoir describes her childhood and unwavering faith in her religion and family. Manal felt this one nonviolent act expressed years of struggle and hypocrisy; women can go to school but they cannot get there; women cannot get to a hospital without a male chaperone and a male Uber driver (a stranger) would be safer than a female friend. Manal, a highly educated computer scientist, strove for excellence — a coveted college degree and employment at the highest level — only to realize she will never taste freedom in her country. Finally making headway as the unexpected leader of the Saudi women’s right to drive, Manal says; “the rain starts with one drop.”