History Is Full of Mothers Who Changed the World While Taking Care of Their Children

Family, Policies

The Quest to ‘Have It All’ Isn’t New. History Is Full of Mothers Who Changed the World While Taking Care of Their Children

The notion that mothers can simultaneously nurture their children and their careers is often seen as a modern phenomenon, an indication of how far women have come in the march toward gender equity. But in fact, history is full of mothers who reached beyond the domestic sphere—courageous women who overcame societal barriers and changed the world for people far beyond their own children.

The inspiration for Mother’s Day herself, Ann Jarvis, was a social activist and pioneer in the public-health movement in the U.S. As a mother living in an Appalachian coal-mining community in the 1800s, Jarvis suffered the loss of not just one, but eight children. Determined to combat high infant-mortality rates in the area, Jarvis began to organize Mother’s Day work clubs that provided desperately needed education, medicine and supplies.

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