“The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them, they are afraid of women.” Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

”A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt, American First Lady, diplomat and activist.

(Caveman depicted evolving to seat in front of a computer)

You’ve probably noticed a slight change in format for this “Corner” as we wrap up a year that found women in the streets in numbers not seen in recent times. Now as for the spear and cudgel guy above, you might also have noticed something important missing in this depiction of human evolution. A rib, maybe? Perhaps it’s the little lady starting the evening fire after a long day of planting (so they could stay in one place) Then he could stay home more often. Maybe even start a city. Of course she’d bandage him up a bit if he hurt himself hunting.
Is that really ancient history? Really? With the “season” upon us she’s likely still tending the fire, basting the bird, while he prepares his trusty carving knife. No, things haven’t changed that much. Surely not as drastically as they need to! In too many areas of contemporary life women still remain in handmaiden or supporting roles only – whether in business, politics or religion. UUA, with its majority of female clergy, has every right to crow. But not too much! So just glance back on this year. Finally Bob Dylan may be getting it right. Indeed the times they are a-changin’!What follows are all the women Nobel Laureates who contributed to that changing equation.You may recognize a few…
(Snapshots of the 56 female Nobel Prize laureates.)

International Women’s Day began in 1909 in New York City. Russia followed in 1917. Finally it was adopted by the United Nations in 1975 to celebrate women’s rights. It’s an official holiday in many countries. Women took to the streets again this year on November 25th to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It also marked the start of 16 days of activism set by the United Nations to run through December 10th, Human Rights Day. This time to denounce violence against women and girls. Yet in far too many places incidents of violence, rape and abuse still prevail; ignored, minimized or even used as a tool of war.

The Winter Solstice lies ahead serving, as always, to bring hopes of emerging light and security to human hearts. Please include an additional push of pride and support for that half of the human species (in my estimation) we desperately need to pull us through this tight place in the human story. That certainly includes the strong and awesome women in my own life!

So to all, Merry Christmas, joyous Solstice and the dawning of a year of hope…