I saw something in the news recently. Maybe you saw it too. There was this older man, maybe he was some kind of famous politician. Anyway, this older man said, “Women and girls should not talk so much.” The news media made a lot of stories about this comment. The comment was not so great, and maybe he made a lot of people angry.
I understand that he is an older man, and maybe he is not thinking so smoothly at this time. But he has lived many years, so he might know about some of the famous women of history who made big news too. In truth, there is a lot of very important science that was done because of many very intelligent and hard working women.
I have a few examples from history to share with you this morning.
Marie Curie, who lived from 1867 to 1934, discovered radioactivity and made the first mobile X-ray machine. This was very important at that time because it was used in World War One and saved a lot of people. Dr. Curie discovered the elements of polonium and radium. She won two Nobel Prizes in both physics and chemistry. She was a genius.
Janaki Ammal of India lived from 1897 to 1984 and she was a famous scientist of plants and trees. She was a botanist and she discovered many kinds of trees and developed hybrid species to keep the biodiversity of India’s natural forests strong. She was a genius.
Katherine Johnson lived from 1918 to 2020 and she was a genius math doctor. Her understanding of math was very important to send rockets into space. If she did not have such a deep understanding of math, and use it with NASA we probably could not go to space. She was a genius.
Rosalind Franklin was a chemistry doctor who discovered the double helix shape of DNA. With her understanding of DNA we can understand how we are connected to so many other living things, and also how to handle genetic trouble. She was a genius.
Japan has a good number of genius creators too. Higuchi Ichiyo, the writer. Yuasa Toshiko, the scientist. Dr. Mukai Chiaki, the astronaut. Kusama Yayoi, the wild modern artist. Yoshimoto Mahoko, the author. Ogata, Sadako, the human rights champion. These are only a few of the great thinkers, scientists, leaders, and historical figures that have made huge impacts on our lives today.
I think that we should all be happy and grateful that they were not silent. We should be grateful that they talked a lot and learned a lot and helped so many people.
The year is 2021. We should not be talking about “equal rights” for women and men. We should not need to say that boys and girls are of equal value. We should all know this naturally and we should all talk about human rights. We should talk about equal rights for all people, and if they are male or female, rich or poor, tall or short, or come from any country in the world, it is not important. A human is a human.
So, if you are a young woman and someone tells you that you should be quiet because you are a young woman I hope you will not listen to them. You can say what you like. You can express your mind as you like. As humans, and as people, we have to always work together to make sure that equality is something that all people have.
Boys and men need to remember that we have many strong women in our lives. We have mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, sisters, and daughters all around us. We have coworkers and friends who are women. We have partners in life too. We have bosses and leaders who are women. We have politicians, artists, writers, sports athletes, Olympians, and rock stars in our world who are women.
It’s a good thing that girls and women are not so quiet. It makes our world much more interesting.