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At one time anyone with radical ideas was considered crazy, non conformist, ostracized, vilified, persecuted and even killed. The accomplishment of radical thinking throughout history has produced remarkable results , bringing positive and productive changes. Some “radical ideas” such as the Millennium Seed Bank Project, Engineering Solutions for Ocean Cleanups, Milan’s Vertical Forest Skyscrapers, Community Supported Agriculture and Rooftop Farming are such examples.
However radical ideas have not always been received with instant acceptance, often hard fought battles precluded that approval.
One outstanding example is the Suffragette movement. Originally founded and led by Millicent Fawcette in Britain often including a militant approach others did not subscribe to, the battle cry went out. A decade-long struggle intended to address fundamental issues of equity and justice began. Support for the movement included Mary Ann Shadd from the Black Abolutionist movement, as well as socialists and temperance activists.
The campaign was taken up by women in many countries. It wasn’t until 1900 in Canada that “propertied woman” had gained a footing and the right to vote or stand for office and even then on a limited scale. Only able to vote in municipal council or library and school board elections, it was a start. The first provincial victory occurred in Manitoba in 1916 and later followed by Quebec in 1940 as the last province to concede the vote.
Denmark granted women’s suffrage in 1915 and near the end of the war, Canada, Russia, Germany and Poland recognized women’s right to vote and American women won the vote in 1920.
The radical idea that women were equals, could vote, and had a mind of their own, no longer considered chattel astounded, frustrated and angered many.
It’s difficult in today’s society to imagine a world without the significant contributions of so many women, too numerous to relate here. Golda Meir, labour activist and fourth prime minister of Israel and second prime minister in the world to Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school. What of Gertrude Stein’s contribution in writing, or Rachel Carson a pioneering environmentalist?
From important to noteworthy to significant, women’s contribution worldwide whether scientific in nature, introducing provocative styles in writing, to flying across the ocean, this radical thinking brought about a fundamental change, outlook and acceptance.
Pretty radical, hey?