Column | Don’t Let ‘Women Aren’t Supposed To’ Stop You

For millions of years, gender roles have existed in society. And there has always been those who rebel against those roles.

In 1650 B.C.E., women of the Minoan Crete society were merchants and ship captains. They were farmers, hunters, doctors and priestesses. They were gymnasts, riding on the back of bulls and participating in athletic events.

Sappho, a female poet from the Isle of Lesbos in 500 B.C.E., was one of Ancient Greece’s most popular poets. This was in an era, and in a region, Athens, where women were property, and marriage was seen simply as the transfer of ownership. Her poems are what Homer is now famous for writing, Odysseus and the Iliad.

Diotima, a Spartan woman and follower of Pythagoras, was supposedly the tutor of Socrates. Theano, another student of Pythagoras, was an expert in physics and psychology. She created the theory of “The Golden Mean” and took over the Pythagoras school after his death. Axiothea, a student of Plato, disguised herself as a man to study with him. Artemesia was a commander of a fleet of ships that fought on the side of the Persians against the Athenians during the Battle of Salamis.

Around the 330s B.C.E. during the Hellenistic Period, Phye held the highest political office a woman has ever held. Women such as Cleopatra VII (the Cleopatra) and Arisone II became female pharaohs while their husbands never received the title, and Agnodice became the first gynecologist.

Fast forward a few thousand years to 1098, to Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard was more than just a remarkable woman, she was a remarkable person. She was the founder of the natural sciences, created her own constructive language, participated in arts and sciences and considered a prophet of God. She founded two convents, went on preaching tours and fashioned a theology with women as the central figures. She was an abbess of the highest regard and the Roman Catholic Church never denounced her, but rather supported her theology.

Another time leap to the 1940s when women were an integral part in winning the second World War. About 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces during that time. They included the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, who on March 10, 2010, were awarded the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal.

For years women have been programmers, scientists, musicians, preachers, speakers and warriors.

So, don’t listen to those who say women shouldn’t. Women have been doing “men’s jobs” since long before this common era began.

Go do.