International Women’s Day 2015 Giveaway



March 8th marks International Women’s Day; this year’s theme is “Make it Happen!” What does it mean to “make it happen?” There are various examples cropping up today. Google created a doodle to emphasize jobs that had discriminated against women in the past (and present) and our need to recognize equality in all industries.

Bread and Roses Strike

Striking workers parade through the streets of Lawrence, Massachusetts, during the 1912 Bread and Roses strike. (Lawrence History Center). Click for source.

For me, the theme resonates with the song “Bread and Roses”, best known as the anthem during the Bread and Roses textile strike in Lawrence , MA in 1912.  The lyrics are especially inspiring because it is more than personal self-determination  and will that can make something positive “happen”. Greater equality is linked to solidarity across all genders. It is not just women fighting for women, but a call for everyone to fight for each other, because in the end, we are all affected by oppression.  International Women’s Day I also associate with the motto: “lifting as we climb”– that individual success is only as impactful as the amount of support and success you give to others in turn.

I first heard “Bread and Roses” in undergrad, for it’s my alma mater’s official song and sung during commencement as graduates and alumna carry a laurel wreath through the campus grounds. There is something particularly uplifting to see a line of women across all backgrounds united in song (and inevitably, drawing a chorus from the watching crowd as well).  You can listen to a rendition of “Bread and Roses” and read the lyrics below.

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for—but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

This year, we’re also celebrating IWD with a giveaway sponsored by Corset Story. Readers have a chance to win a prize package containing a pair of their Black Lace Ribbon Arm Warmers and their Steampunk Feather Fascinator. We have two sets we are giving away.


corset story lace arm warmerscoset story steampunk fascinator

Here are the rules for entering.

1) The giveaway will be open to all followers of Beyond Victoriana worldwide. Participants can enter between now and midnight, EST (-5 UTC) on Saturday, March 14th by commenting on this post with the name of a woman from history that inspires you and why.

2) Participants MUST leave their email address in the comment form.

3) Two (2) winners will be selected on Sunday, March 15th via the Random Number Generator and contacted via email. Those selected will have 24 hours to reply with their mailing address and contact info or else a new pair of winners will be selected.

And that’s it. Have fun folks!

UPDATE: Many congrats to Andrew Aulenback and dinenwen for being the winners of this giveaway!



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17 responses to “International Women’s Day 2015 Giveaway

  1. J Harris

    “Ida Wells” is the very first to come to mind, though in rapid succession I’d say:
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (who coined the phrase “Well-behaved women seldom make history”);
    Nellie Bly;
    Octavia Butler;
    Nalo Hopkinson;
    NK Jemisin.
    (Hmmmm….. sensing a pattern here….)

    • M. E. Himemiya

      Audre Lorde is a big personal inspiration to me, Sister Outsider is one of my favorite books. She was so clever and perceptive and wrote so beautifully about such difficult topics, and didn’t shy away from calling out white feminist friends of hers on their racism. Wish I could do the same thing as eloquently as she did!

      Caroline Herschel is like, the total opposite: an 18th century white disabled astronomer. One of the first women working in STEM who excelled and discovered some incredible number of stars & other astral bodied while working with her brother, despite the rest of her family trying actively to repress her.

  2. Emma Sparks

    Chen Shu-chi because she gave more than 300,000 dollars to charities and places in need even though she doesnt make a lot of money herself. She is from my parents home country, taiwan, and no body really talks that much about her but she inspires me

  3. Aphra Behn was inspiring enough for us to name our daughter after her. Sh did something incredibly important to us – she told stories. Yes, she was an accomplished swordsmistress, yes she was an accomplished spy, yes she wore breeches, but most importantly for us, she was a playwright, poet, novelist, translator, and did all this as a woman in Restoration England. Not that she was a woman who did these things, but that she did not pretend to be a man in order to be published, or to have her plays performed.

  4. I have always admired the woman who were trailblazers. There are several that I admire. Elizabeth Van Lew who stood up for her beliefs and spied for the Union, even though she was in constant danger living in Richmond, VA during the American Civil War. Jennie Wade–who is still condemned because she was poor–the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, chose charity over personal safety in the process she lost her life. Mary Lincoln for being the love and main supporter of Abraham Lincoln–she saw greatness in him before anyone else did.

    Michelle L. Hamilton

  5. breanaclark93

    I am inspired by women scientists, especially those who worked hard in the field at a time women scientists weren’t really appreciated. Marie Curie made incredible discoveries, risking and ruining her health. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin discovered what the universe is made of, but was shot down by a male scientist, who published a paper on the exact same subject 4 years later. Nobody has heard of her, but she made a very important discovery in astronomy.

  6. alix scarborough

    Rosa Parks, for her courage.

  7. Joan of Arc remains one of my favourites and leaves an impression on me for someone so young to have so much drive!


    I love Osa Johnson: In the first half of the 20th century an American woman captured the public’s imagination through her films and books of adventure in exotic, faraway lands. Photographer, explorer, marketer, naturalist and author 😀

  9. Given that I am working on developing programming skills and that women are underrepresented in technology and other stem fields and often left out of curriculum covering important developments in coding… Ada Lovelace, for her work as a mathematician on the Analytical Engine project including developing the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Also Hedy Lamarr, gorgeous film starlet and co creator of spread hopping and frequency shifting communications, precursors to today’s wifi and Bluetooth technologies.

  10. Trinh Thi Minh Ha: in an age where Vietnamese women, the daughters of struggling refugees, were expected to go into jobs that would design to ensure the survival of future generations, she ventured into academia and teaches courses that focus on gender politics as related to cultural politics, post-coloniality, contemporary critical theory and the arts. She is widely known as a filmmaker, writer, literary theorist, composer and professor – and my role mode. zm quynh

  11. Helen Keller, who was a Socialist and an activist for international working class solidarity. (Mostly this gets left out of any references to her, and we only hear the Annie Sullivan / miracle worker / fingerspelling “water” inspirational stories, and never learn about her politics.)

  12. Whoopsie. I just left the comment naming Helen Keller as an inspiration, but forgot to add my email address, which is

  13. Marianne Sievers

    So many inspirational women, but my all-time #1 heroine has always been Mary Anning, the mother of paleontology. When I was a little girl, I desperately wanted to be able to go out and search for fossils like Mary. My extremely controlling, conservative mother made me feel like an idiot for aspiring to anything of the sort, but 40-odd years later, I have had the privilege of finally following my dream!

  14. linda voronetsky

    Joan of arc.
    I have look up to her since i was little.
    The reason is she fight no matter what, from fighting in battle to fighting for her tight to live.

  15. Janis Severance

    Pharaoh Hatshepsut!! Because she took the reins of her country & religion, over her husbands dead body, declared herself pharaoh & took. no. shit. She made her own rules. She rocks.