SHE-LOGY: Female Founders
Recognizing philanthropic organizations founded by women for women.
JULIETTE GORDON LOW. 1860-1927.
Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).
This week is the 103rd anniversary of the Girl Scouts. It was on March 12, 1912 when Juliette assembled 18 girls together in Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting.
GSUSA has since been known for promoting leadership among young girls. The organization aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning badges by acquiring practical skills.
LADY MARY JANE KINNAIRD. 1816-1888.
Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).
YWCA was founded in 1855 in London by two Englishwomen to provide a safe place for young women en route to the Crimean War. It was the result of the convergence of two separate organizations –Kinnaird’s General Female Training Institute and Emma Robart’s Prayer Union. These two initiatives shared a concern for the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of women and girls everywhere. (Source: History of YWCA)
I decided to choose Kinnaird’s name in this She-logy post, without meaning to diminish the role of Robarts, simply because it was due to the nature of Kinnaird’s interest in work abroad and the expansiveness of the British Empire that the initiative spread rapidly to western and northern Europe, India, and the US.
YWCA England & Wales changed its name to Platform 51 in December 2010. The name reflects the proportion of the population that are female. Among others, Platform 51 provides accredited courses and information, advice and guidance to women from disadvantaged communities.
The YWCA is a movement of women working for social and economic change around the world. It advocates for young women’s leadership, peace, justice, human rights and sustainable development, both on a grassroots and global scale. It is the largest women’s organization in the world, and the second oldest organization of its kind, second only to the Relief Society.
SARAH MELISSA GRANGER KIMBALL. 1818-1898.
The Relief Society is a philanthropic and educational women’s organization and an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was founded in 1842 and has approximately 6 million members in over 170 countries and territories. The Relief Society is often referred to by the church and others as “one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Officially, the Relief Society is “founded” under the name of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. The first General President of the Relief Society was Emma Smith, the wife of Joseph.
That said, I’d like to celebrate a woman named Sarah Granger Kimball for the Relief Society. She formed the Ladies’ Society of Nauvoo, which was the antecedent of the Relief Society. The initial meeting in preparation for the organization of the Relief Society was held in her home. The Relief Society was her idea. Although “she was passed over for President in favor of the Pastor’s wife”.
In the spring of 1842, Sarah Granger Kimball and her seamstress, Margaret A. Cook, discussed combining their efforts to sew clothing for workers constructing the Latter Day Saints’ Nauvoo Temple. They determined to invite their neighbors to assist by creating a Ladies’ Society. Kimball asked Eliza R. Snow to write a constitution and by-laws for the organization for submission to President of the Church Joseph Smith for review. After reviewing the documents, Smith called them “the best he had ever seen” but said, “this is not what you want. Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord , and He has something better for them than a written constitution. . . . I will organize the women under the priesthood after a pattern of the priesthood. (Source: Wikipedia)
I am not familiar with the organization as well as the Mormon culture and religion, so I would rather feature this article I found that spotlights on Sarah: Sam Gamgee and the Relief Society.
- Sarah was by her own definition a “woman’s rights woman”.
- When she became a widow, she neither re-married or became a plural wife, which many women in her position would have felt the need to.
- Sarah was constantly striving to help her sisters exercise their minds.
- Sarah became an active participant in the Utah Constitutional Convention and less than a decade later, she was named the leader of the Utah Women’s Suffrage Association, traveling to Washington, D.C., as Utah’s delegate to the NWSA.
SHE-LOGY is a blog project open to everyone who is interested to celebrate women this whole month of March. If you’re reading this, I extend that invitation to you to contribute post/s about the women you’d like to honor. You can email me at email@example.com. Thank you for reading this.