March is Women’s History Month. During this time, we honor women who’ve paved the way for future generations, broken down barriers blocking their path, and mentored young women for successful participation in the world. It’s a time to recognize all women and their awesomeness.
The United States has celebrated March as Women’s History Month since 1987; Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity – that means forever! The President of the United States issues a Proclamation every year in March recognizing the extraordinary achievements and accomplishments of American women.
On March 8th, women around the world celebrate International Women’s Day. Woman globally acknowledge significant advances while bringing attention to the pervasive gender-related disparities within their social, economic, cultural and political environments. It is also a call to action for accelerating gender equity. This year, women are urged to take off from work, dress in red, and actively participate in the several activities planned for the day.
We applaud all women and can’t begin to imagine a world without them. This year, OurBKSocial focuses on the Brooklyn woman. Who is she? Why is she great? What does she value? How is she unique? What does she believe in and what does she fight for?
To answer these questions we need to take a good look at the environment that birthed her. Sociologists suggest we are greatly influenced by our environment. Sure, genetics significantly contribute to our behavior and personality, but so do our experiences. Let’s take a look at Brooklyn women and their surroundings.
Brooklyn is the second largest of the five boroughs of New York City. Having been once a city itself, Brooklyn is now the most populated borough with nearly 3 million residents. There are several cultural groups living together harmoniously in densely populated Brooklyn. According to Census Data, 38% of Brooklyn residents are foreign born speaking numerous languages including: Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Yiddish, Arabic, French, Creole, Italian, Hebrew, Amharic, and Urdu.
The median age in Brooklyn is 34.7 and 53% of the population is female. 42% of women have never been married. Of the women who gave birth, the largest percentage by age was between 30-35 years old. There are approximately 2.8 persons per household in the County of Kings. 19.8% have received a bachelor and 10.4%, a master degree.
According to Fortune Magazine’s article, “This is the city with the largest percentage of women-led startups,” Brooklyn is the number one location for women entrepreneurs. About 28% of Brooklyn-based startups receiving initial funding between 2009 and 2014 had at least one woman founder – the national average is 15%.
City-data reports Brooklyn women are employed as nurses, home health aides, administrative support staff, supervisors, school teachers, information and customer service representatives. They also work in maintenance, management occupations and 3,517 Brooklyn females are military veterans.
A Brooklyn Woman is:
Brooklyn’s environment has nurtured numerous girl children who have made significant and positive contributions to the world. One such Brooklynite is Ailene Fields. She was born Eileen Rubin in 1948. As a sculptor and stone carving teacher, she has created pieces in stone, bronze and acrylic. Her work, Sacred Spaces, in stone symbolizes places of peace she feels are most necessary for people today living in the loud, hectic, and fast-paced concrete jungle.
Fields composed masterpieces through art, King composed musical masterpieces. Born Carol Klein in 1942, singer and songwriter, Carole King was raised in Brooklyn. She wrote several mega hits including “It’s Too Late,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)”. King is the first woman to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Barack Obama awarded her this honor in 2013.
Barbara Levy Boxer, born in 1940 is a Democrat who served as a United States Senator while Barack Obama was president. Though she represented the state of California, Boxer was born in Brooklyn and graduated from George W. Wingate High School and Brooklyn College. The Atlantic asserts the California senator has been an outspoken voice on abortion and an inspiration to female politicians.
Lorna Simpson, born in 1960, inspires women through her photography. In the beginning of her career, Simpson traveled a lot nationally and internationally; she observed much during her journeys. In her work she explores history, gender, identity, culture, and race in America. Simpson beautifully uses images of African-American women to tell her-story. Simpson became the first black American women to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale.
Gabourey Sidibe who at 26 years old was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Sidibe made her acting debut in the 2009 film based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. She powerfully portrayed Precious, a 350-pound, 16 year old mother of two who was raped by her father and abused by her mother. This award winning movie sparked needed conversations on child abuse, obesity, incest, poverty, and social services.
These are just a few of Brooklyn’s famous females. The list is long and includes journalists, rappers, actors, models, judges, politicians, athletes, disc jockeys, chefs, business owners, civil rights leaders, feminists, producers, artists, singers, engineers, architects, and songwriters.
Though it is necessary to mention our celebrities, we must also recognize the unsung Sheroes in Brooklyn who contribute daily to this great borough and work tirelessly to take care of their family and community – the single mother working two and three jobs, the female head-of-household, the block association president, the city worker, the transit employee, the babysitter, the senior citizen coordinator, the waitress, and the retail clerk.
All of these ladies are taking care of business and doing it with that Brooklyn flavor. We thank you!