March-ing Toward a Goal

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March-ing Toward a Goal

authored by Head of School Fran Bisselle

I have always loved that March is Women’s History Month. “March” as activists do — moving toward a goal with fearless passion and a powerful voice — in the name of a cause greater than self. In 1876, this meant five young women marching up to the front door of the Brooks Military Academy demanding to be educated and to be included in that learning community. They changed the course of history for young women in our area as they planted the seeds for distinguished academics at Hathaway Brown.

Marching takes initiative, courage, and character. Marching together engenders empathy, honors interdependence, and fortifies people behind a core set of values. HB’s core values include learning for life and leading a life of high moral character. We believe women’s leadership and talents matter. This mattered in the past, this matters today, and this will matter tomorrow.

After celebrating HB’s historic Swimming and Diving State Championship and all the amazing athletic moments of this year, I thought about trailblazing female athletes of the past like tennis great Billie Jean King. She was the first female athlete celebrated as “Sportswoman of the Year” — a new title for Sports Illustrated in 1972 and one that honored her advocacy work for equality. After learning that the women’s purse at the US Open was significantly less than the men’s, she had threatened to boycott and her action inspired the Open to become the first tournament to offer equal prize money for men and women. Yet even after earning the $100,000 prize money, King was still unable to get a credit card in her own name as women were not eligible for credit until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was signed in 1974. Since the 1970s, many female athletes have continued to pursue equity, including Venus and Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, Megan Rapinoe, and the US Women's National Soccer Team to name a few.

There is no question that at this moment in history, there is a great need for women of vision and courage who are empowered for leadership in a multicultural and globalized society. HB will continue to answer that need by inspiring our students to achieve their utmost potential and to rise boldly to the challenges of our times. Let us celebrate this spirit every day, but especially throughout Women’s History Month!

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