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Need a reminder that your voice matters? Check out 21 quotes from women who spoke up.

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PBS Victoria

History is full of women who bravely fought to make a difference in the world.

As activists, journalists, or fighters, women have stepped up to combat social injustice and defend their freedoms. Others worked their way into “boys clubs,” helping to pave the way for others to follow.

A Woman Suffrage Party parade through New York in 1915.  Image by Paul Thompson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.


But while women have always been working toward making the world a better place, their voices were not always heard or acknowledged. And some of these women still do not get the recognition that they deserve in classroom history textbooks, even though their contributions are undeniable. All of them are inspirations.

Here are 21 quotes from just a few notable female leaders about how to make a better world:

1. “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” — Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Journalist, suffragist and progressive activist Ida Wells Barnett (1862-1931). Photo by R. Gates/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Wells-Barnett was an important African-American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She also marched in Washington, D.C., in 1913 for universal suffrage.

2. “I hate wars and violence but if they come then I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.” — Nancy Wake

Code-named "The White Mouse," Wake was one of the most decorated Allied servicewomen of World War II. She joined the resistance when the war broke out, and is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers and downed airmen.

3. “Don’t sit and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Sarah Breedlove

Breedlove, who later became known as Madam C.J. Walker, was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire, making her fortune by creating a line of specialized hair products for African-American hair.

4. "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." — Mother Teresa

Charity worker Mother Teresa seen in her hospital around the time she was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress. Photo by Mark Edwards/Keystone Features/Getty Images.

The founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor, Mother Teresa is one of the most important humanitarians of the 20th century. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was canonized as a saint in 2016.

5. “When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off.” — Amelia Bloomer

A 19th-century women’s rights activist, Bloomer helped transform the way American women dressed, advocating for corsets and petticoats to be abandoned and shorter skirts with pants underneath. She also established one of the first newspapers written, edited and published by women: The Lily.

6. “If it is true that men are better than women because they are stronger, why aren’t our sumo wrestlers in the government?” — Kishida Toshiko

A writer and women’s rights activist, Toshiko is also known as Japan’s first female orator. She is famous for her “Daughters in Boxes” speech that criticized a family system that confined women at home.

7. “You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.” — Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was detained for 15 years. Photo by Drn/Getty Images.

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was a vocal critic of Myanmar’s dictator U Ne Win, and she initiated a nonviolent movement toward achieving democracy and human rights in her country. More recently, she led the National League for Democracy to a majority win in the country’s first openly contested election in 25 years.

8. “Energy rightly applied can accomplish anything.” — Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Jane Cochran, who wrote under the pen name Nellie Bly, was a brave American journalist known for her investigative and undercover reporting, including her 1887 expose on the treatment of asylum patients at Blackwell’s Island.

9. “To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.” — Carrie Chapman Catt

She was an activist instrumental in the suffrage movement to get women the right to vote. Chapman Catt also served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and founded the League of Women Voters.

10. “Truth is powerful and it prevails.” — Sojourner Truth

Abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Born a slave, Sojourner Truth became a popular spokesperson for abolition and women’s rights. She is renowned for her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech.

11. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

We all know that Curie is a famous physicist who conducted important research on radioactivity that led to the discovery of polonium and radium. But did you know that she was twice the winner of a Nobel Prize? She also advanced women's role in the scientific community.

12. “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” — Maya Angelou

Angelou was an acclaimed American poet, actress, writer, and activist. She is perhaps best known for her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

13. "We will not have failure — only success and new learning." — Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria ascended to the throne just weeks after her 18th birthday and went on to have the second-longest reign of any queen in British history. Historians often associate her reign with imperialism but also with cultural expansion and advances in industry, science, and technology.

14. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” — Malala Yousafzai

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Yousafzai, an advocate for girl’s education, made headlines after she survived being shot in 2012 by the Taliban. The incident didn’t stop her from continuing to speak out for education. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

15. “You must come to terms with the reality that nothing outside ourselves, be it people or things, is actually responsible for our happiness.” — Mary Edwards Walker

Walker was a doctor at a time when female physicians were rare, was arrested several times for dressing in men’s clothing, and became a vocal women’s rights activist after the Civil War.  

During the Civil War, she worked as an assistant surgeon and was captured by the Confederates. She became the first and only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor — though Congress tried to take it back in 1917. She refused to return the medal, proudly wearing it until her death, and President Jimmy Carter reinstated her honor in 1977.

16. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is fingerprinted by police Lt. D.H. Lackey in Montgomery, Alabama, on Feb. 22, 1956. Image by Gene Herrick/AP Photo.

One of the most famous civil rights activists is Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in 1955. She was a key player in initiating the civil rights movement in the United States.

17. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."— Eleanor Roosevelt

First lady Roosevelt was also a writer and humanitarian. She is credited with changing the role of the first lady through her active participation in American politics.

18. "Believe in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world." — Mary McLeod Bethune

Bethune was one of the most prominent female African-American educators and civil rights activists at the start of the 20th century. She was known as the "First Lady of the Struggle."

19. “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005. Photo by Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images.

As president of Liberia, Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state in Africa. She also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

20. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” — Helen Keller

Keller, who lost her sight and hearing when she was 19 months old, was an educator, a leading humanitarian, and one of the co-founders of the ACLU.

21. “If you don’t have an idea that materializes and changes a person’s life, then what have you got? You have talk, research, telephone calls, meetings, but you don’t have a change in the community.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Shriver was an advocate in the worldwide struggle for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. She founded the Special Olympics in 1968.

Whether they were marching for civil rights, resisting political oppression, or advancing women’s position in the workplace, these women — and many others — fought the good fight.

The 1911 Solvay conference in Brussels. Marie Curie is the only woman in the photograph. Image by Benjamin Couprie/Wikimedia Commons.

They remind us that change is possible. Their words continue to resonate and inspire today.

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Identity

Do you have a 'gay voice'? Here's how to tell.

Have you ever wondered if you have a “gay voice”?

Photo pulled from YouTube trailer "Do I sound gay?"

For anyone who's wondering if they have a gay voice and what that actually means.

This article originally appeared on June 5, 2015


Have you ever wondered if you have a “gay voice”?

If you're anything like me, the answer is yes. Many times.

For anyone who’s laid awake wondering if your voice is just as gay as you are, I've created a rigorous test for you to finally get some answers. Follow the chart below to see if you, in fact, sound like a homosexual. ***(Image needs to pulled from Robbie Couch who wrote the article.)


Temporary pic pulled as a place holder

Temporary pic pulled as a place holder******

Yes, that's correct: You do not have a "gay voice" — because a "gay voice" is not really a thing.

Unlike humans, voices do not identify as certain genders or sexual orientations. They're just ... sounds. (Crazy, I know!)

Stereotypes about what LGBTQ people sound like lead some to think their gay-dar can accurately sniff out queer folks in a crowd based on voices alone. However, research shows we actually do a pretty poor job at guessing another person's sexual orientation solely using our ears.

Even if we do wear our queerness on the tips of our tongues, though, why should it matter?

Some LGBTQ people fret over their voice, fearful their queerness is on display every time they speak. And that concern is understandable. Sometimes, it's not a matter of accepting yourself, but a matter of survival: When your voice outs you as an "other" in an environment that's hostile toward gay, transgender, or otherwise queer people, personal safety becomes a priority.

“A lot of gay men are self-conscious about sounding gay because we were persecuted for that when we were young," LGBTQ activist and media personality Dan Savage said in the 2014 documentary "Do I Sound Gay?"

CNN's Don Lemon, who is openly gay, also chimed in on the topic. Has he ever felt insecure about "sounding gay"? “I’d have to say, if I told you ‘no,’ I’d be lying," Lemon admitted in the documentary.

But we should never let a bully's bigotry convince us our voices should be silenced. You sound perfect the way you are, honey — and don't you forget it.

Checking out the documentary "Do I Sound Gay?", available on multiple streaming platforms. Here's a look at the trailer:

This article was written by Robbie Couch and originally appeared on 11.5.15

Joy

Pet cockatiel is obsessed with singing 'September' by Earth, Wind and Fire

Kiki remembers the 21st night of September ALL. THE. TIME. and it's actually quite impressive.

Representative hoto by Saqib Iqbal Digital on Unsplash

Apparently, "September" is all the rage with cockatiels.

“Do you remember…the 21st night of September?” has been one of the most iconic song openings of the past 45 years, as the R&B hit by Earth, Wind and Fire perpetually serves as a catchy favorite for dance clubs, movie scenes and TikTok clips alike.

However, "September" has also gained wild popularity among an unlikely group—pet cockatiels.


One cockatiel in particular has taken a shining to the song to the point of obsession, to the combined delight and chagrin of his owner. You see, Kiki doesn’t just like listening to the song, he sings and dances to it. Loudly. Over and over. At uncomfortable hours of the morning.

Kiki’s owner has shared multiple examples of her pet bird reveling in his favorite song, and it’s hilarious every time.

Watch:

@kiki.tiel

Send help plz wheres the off button on parrot #fyp #foryou #bird #cockatiel #parrotsoftiktok #birdsoftiktok

"Kiki…it's 7 o'clock in the morning…" Yeah, Kiki does not care. Kiki is feelin' the groove.

This isn't just a one-off and it's also not just a random song. Here we can see that Kiki recognizes it and sings it when his owner plays it. (Just after pooing on her leg—the reality of having a bird, in case these videos make you want one).

@kiki.tiel

Babywipes handy at all hours 🫡 #bird #cockatiel #fyp #foryou #september #parrot

But Kiki doesn't even need anyone else around in order to sing his favorite song. Here he is singing and dancing all by himself when his owner left the room and left her camera running to see what he would do.

@kiki.tiel

Partying without me :( #cockatielsoftiktok #birds #fyp #for you

As cute and hilarious as this is, it surely gets old after a while, right? It's one thing to watch in a video—it's got to be entirely another to hear it all the time at home.

It's also not just a Kiki quirk. Apparently, "September" is a "thing" among cockatiels. Other cockatiels have been known to love it and sing it, though not quite as well as Kiki does.

Someone on Reddit asked why so many cockatiels love the song—one person even said it was basically the cockatiel national anthem at this point. No one knows exactly why, but this explanation by Reddit user nattiecakes is as good an explanation as any:

"Yeah, cockatiels genuinely like the song in a way they don’t universally take to many other songs. My cockatiel is 17 and early in life basically seemed to max out his harddrive space learning a little bit of La Cucaracha, The Flintstones theme, the phrase 'pretty bird,' and this horrible alarm clock sound that is similar to the hungry baby cockatiel sound. We thought we could not get him to learn anything else because they do have some limits.

Then 'September' came. Every cockatiel loved it. We decided to see if our cockatiel loved it.

I sh*t y’all not, within a DAY he whistled the first three notes, which is really all that matters. He hasn’t been able to learn more, but he loves it.

Now our African grey whistles it to him constantly. He used to reliably whistle La Cucaracha to our cockatiel when our cockatiel would get angry and upset, and our cockatiel would start singing instead and forget he’d been upset. But almost immediately our grey switched to using 'September' 90% of the time. Like, it’s so plain even to our grey that 'September' is the song to unlock a cockatiel’s better nature. I think the grey likes it a lot too, but he has many other songs he likes better.

As for why cockatiels like this song so much… all I can guess is it really resonates with their cheery vibe. I think the inside of a cockatiel’s mind is usually like a disco."

Rock on, Kiki. Just maybe not so early in the morning.

Identity

High school girl’s response to ‘Ugly Girls’ poll inspires positive reaction

This brave high school student stood up to her school’s cyberbullies.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Lynelle Cantwell had a response on her own Facebook page.

Lynelle Cantwell is in 12th grade at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador (that's Canada).

On Monday, she found out that she had been featured on another student's anonymous online poll entitled "Ugly Girls in Grade 12," along with several other classmates.


Cantwell responded via Facebook with her own message, which has already been shared more than 2,000 times and counting.

cyber bullying, bullies, kindness

The unkind poll.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Take a look:

bullying, brave response, community support

“Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly.” - Lynelle Cantwell.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Since posting her brave response on Facebook, more people have come out to show support than people who voted in the first place.

Check out some of the responses:

appreciation, confidence, self esteem, love and support

Some responses to her post.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

The School District of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that it will be looking into the incident further. For Cantwell, the positive outpouring of love and support vastly outweighs the initial cyberbullying and is raising her confidence in new ways.


This article originally appeared on 08.20.17

Health

Artists got fed up with these 'anti-homeless spikes.' So they made them a bit more ... comfy.

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

Photo courtesy of CC BY-ND, Immo Klink and Marco Godoy

Spikes line the concrete to prevent sleeping.


These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.

As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.

The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.


Not all concrete steps have spikes on them, but outdoor seating in cities like Montreal and Tokyo have been sneakily designed to prevent people from resting too comfortably for too long.

This guy sawing through a bench was part of a 2006 protest in Toulouse, France, where public seating intentionally included armrests to prevent people from lying down.

Of course, these designs do nothing to fight the cause or problem of homelessness. They're just a way of saying to homeless people, "Go somewhere else. We don't want to look at you,"basically.

One particular set of spikes was outside a former night club in London. And a local group got sick of staring at them.

Leah Borromeo is part of the art collective "Space, Not Spikes" — a group that's fed up with what she describes as "hostile architecture."

"Spikes do nothing more than shoo the realities of poverty and inequality away from your backyard — so you don't have to see it or confront what you can do to make things more equal," Borromeo told Upworthy. "And that is really selfish."

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

charity, social consciousness, artist

A bed covers up spikes on the concrete.

assets.rebelmouse.io

The move by Space, Not Spikes has caused quite a stir in London and around the world. The simple but impactful idea even garnered support from music artist Ellie Goulding.

"That was amazing, wasn't it?" Borromeo said of Goulding's shout-out on Instagram.

books, philanthropy, capitalism

Artist's puppy books and home comforts.

assets.rebelmouse.io

"[The project has] definitely touched a nerve and I think it is because, as a whole, humans will still look out for each other," Borromeo told Upworthy. "Capitalism and greed conditions us to look out for ourselves and negate the welfare of others, but ultimately, I think we're actually really kind."

"We need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."
anti-homeless laws, legislation, panhandling

A message to offer support in contrast with current anti-homeless laws.

assets.rebelmouse.io

These spikes may be in London, but the U.S. definitely has its fair share of anti-homeless sentiment, too.

Spikes are pretty obvious — they're a visual reminder of a problem many cities are trying to ignore. But what we can't see on the street is the rise of anti-homeless laws that have cropped up from sea to shining sea.

Legislation that targets homeless people — like bans on panhandling and prohibiting people from sleeping in cars — has increased significantly in recent years.

For instance, a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty that analyzed 187 American cities found that there's been a 43% hike in citywide bans on sitting or lying down in certain spaces since 2011.

Thankfully, groups like "Space, Not Spikes" are out there changing hearts and minds. But they need our help.

The group created a video to complement its work and Borromeo's hoping its positive underlying message will motivate people to do better.

"[The world] won't always be happy-clappy because positive social change needs constructive conflict and debate," she explained. "But we need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."

Check out their video below:

This article originally appeared on 07.24.15