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Archives for : December2017

Female CEOs Reveal Their Secrets to Success in Business

If you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best.

That’s why it’s so valuable to take the time to find out what advice the people who are already in your field of work might say about how to make your life easier. And, to be honest, many of these pieces of advice are helpful no matter what line of work you’re in. High-ranking women have all had to figure out how to become and stay successful over the years. In doing so, they’ve learned quite a few helpful tidbits for those following in their footsteps.

From business executives to entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar for-profit business execs or world-changing non-profits leaders, all of these impressive women have shared their helpful guidance so we all can learn from their personal ups and downs. Prepare your notebooks, young business leaders. There is plenty of learning to be had.

1…Kat Cole

Do you have what it takes to go from waitressing at a Hooters to running a multi-million dollar company like Kat Cole?

President of Focus Company, the parent company of Cinnabon – she’s willing to hustle and do whatever it takes to learn the job. Her advice is to keep your ego in check when you’re getting feedback on the job.

As she told Business Insider,“A piece of career advice I received when I was incredibly young was that anytime you get criticized, take a moment and assume the criticism is accurate. Assume the person criticizing you is right, just for a moment.”

Cole’s reasoning for assuming the other party’s accurateness has everything to do with keeping your own power. She explained that if you assume they’re correct, you get to consider the criticism with deliberateness like you would any other feedback

A Favorite Kat Cole Quote:

“When we get our sense of self from only one place, when something goes wrong and the inevitable happens, it can crush you emotionally, spiritually and physically. So it’s important not to believe you are defined by one place, one relationship or one thing, and to find ways to keep your sense of self strong.”

2…Jean Brownhill Lauer

Jill Brownhill Lauer is the CEO of the contractor planning and support tech company, Sweeten. Her experience with both traditional and modern business styles means she’s mastered social and business skills on the physical and digital fronts. Her advice focuses on balancing the natural masculine and feminine energies within all of us.

She told Forbes, “My advice to women in tech, and women who want to start their own companies, is to be joyful and passionate – maybe some people will call these ‘feminine’ traits – but don’t allow people to convince you that you are on the wrong path.”

She adds that in order to be successful, especially for women, you need to be willing to embrace and balance natural gender stereotypes. “You need to tap into what might be conventionally perceived as a strong masculine drive but hold on to and highlight what might be conventionally perceived as feminine enthusiasm,” she added.

A Favorite Jean Brownhill Lauer Quote:

“The phrase ‘I can’t’ usually isn’t an option for dealing with tough life situations, at any age, and that was a lesson that I internalized so early on. It’s been the big differentiator for me.”

3…Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba, the actress-turned-businesswoman, founded The Honest Company in 2011. Since then, the company has grown into a net worth of over a billion dollars. For Alba, it’s all about being willing and able to withstand rejection. No matter what is thrown at you, you’ve got to learn from it and move on.

She said, “You’ll never know that something is going to succeed if you don’t try and put yourself out there.

A Favorite Jessica Alba Quote:

“The only way you can measure your success is by reflecting and seeing what you want out of the experience. And the journey is just as much a part of the success you seek out.”

4…Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard has a name that is practically synonymous with powerful women in the business world. While she’s given some really wonderful advice on all sorts of subjects over the years, her most helpful is applicable to both business and life. She thinks it’s more valuable to focus on the positive and enhance that rather than obsessing over the negative things that may be going wrong.

Whitman said, “My advice, having done this a number of times, is to go into an organization and figure out what that company’s doing right, and do more of it. You’ll eventually get to your to-do list and to your fix-it list, but if you come in and just talk about what’s going wrong, you will lose hearts and minds.”

A Favorite Meg Whitman Quote:

“Problems are good, as long as you solve them quickly.”

5…Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg has no problem giving all sorts of sage advice, especially for women in the business world. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Or, at least, she wrote a book on it.

Her best advice also centers around the ability to hear and accept feedback. She explained that she looks for that specific quality in an employee, hoping to find, “Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

A Favorite Sheryl Sandberg Quote:

“Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.”

6…Marissa Mayer

The former-Yahoo tech executive Marissa Mayer advocates for getting out of your comfort zone since that’s where real growth can happen. Especially in the constantly changing world of technology and the fast pace it requires new businesses to take, it’d be impossible to prepare for every little bump in the road.

So Mayer says do it before you think you’re ready. “I always did something I was not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

A Favorite Marissa Mayer Quote:

“Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you they’ll invest in you.”

7…Ida Tin

Ida Tin is not only breaking ground for women in the technology and business spheres. She’s also changing the way women approach family planning thanks to her popular menstruation-calculating app, Clue. The Danish entrepreneur and author advises women to be aware of the risks and rewards involved in finding the time and energy to really be successful at business.

And she believes that you can create your own reality, saying, “Know what you want to build, but also about what price you’re willing to pay personally. And know what price you don’t want to pay. I want to see my kids every day, and sometimes it feels like a choice women have to make – start a business or have kids. I don’t accept that.”

It’s appropriate to hear a reminder about taking control of your circumstances from a woman whose app educates and empowers other women to do just that.

A Favorite Ida Tin Quote:

“I don’t want to accept that you can only build big companies out of Silicon Valley.”

8…Safra Catz

Safra Catz is CEO of Oracle, the computer software giant. She, too, straddles the line between emerging technology and being a woman in the business world. Interestingly, she also believes that you need to be open to feedback. In fact, you need to make sure that you’re not just hearing it, but actively listening.

She said, “Listen, think and don’t be afraid to change your position based on new facts.”

A Favorite Safra Catz Quote:

“The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start something, ideally their own businesses. If you can’t see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.”

9…Jacqueline Novogratz

The non-profit Acumen’s founder Jacqueline Novogratz believes that inspiring hope in others is the best way to be successful in this world. Her company’s goal of creating a global community requires an ongoing commitment to seeing and hoping for the best in others.

So her optimistic approach to business is no surprise. She said, “Inspiring hope in a cynical world might be the most radical thing you can possibly do.”

A Favorite Jacqueline Novogratz Quote:

“May each of you live lives of immersion. They won’t necessarily be easy lives. But in the end, it is all that will sustain us.”

10…Lori Greiner

As a Shark Tank investor, Lori Greiner knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. For her, it’s important to separate your personal and professional worlds. And if she could go back and advise her younger self? She’d encourage herself to go for it.

Greiner said, “Go for your dreams. Go to do whatever you want. There’s nothing stopping you. I believe that if there is any goal that you have for your career, for your life, all you have to do is put your mind to it, and then do all the smart things in which to make it happen. I don’t know the word ‘no.’ So I would say be fearless, be driven, be confident and don’t worry about what happens, make it happen.

A Favorite Lori Greiner Quote:

“A brilliant idea doesn’t guarantee a successful invention. Real magic comes from a brilliant idea combined with willpower, tenacity, and a willingness to make mistakes.”

11…Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of one of the hot companies changing the tech and the health industries, 23andMe. Since she and her company are embarking on exciting new biotech waters, they’ve encountered their fair share of challenges along the way. But her advice is to stay true and focused on what you want no matter what may be happening around you.

She shared, “Stick to your vision…If you know where you’re going, the challenges are minimal.”

A Favorite Anne Wojcicki  Quote:

“The challenge in a startup is you hit a lot of turbulence, and you want people who understand that it’s just turbulence and not a crisis.”

12…Susan Wojcicki

Success is a family affair in amongst the Wojcicki sisters. While Anne is at the forefront of the research and biotech world, her sister Susan is the CEO of Google’s YouTube. Susan believes in being blunt and up front about what you think you deserve.

“Whether it’s salary or a promotion or a job, I think it’s important for women to ask for what they think they deserve,” she said.

She also advocates for creating a good work/life balance no matter what you do. “I don’t want to say that you don’t have to work hard; you have to work hard but you need to have balance as well,” Wojcicki explains, adding, “If I’m there at midnight by myself in the office I’m not really having so many great ideas anymore.”

A Favorite Susan Wojcicki Quote:

“Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities — the good ones — are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.”

13…Elle Kaplan

As the founder and CEO of a money management firm that manages over $100 million in assets, Elle Kaplan knows a thing or two about risk. She also has an intuitive understanding of how you can use money to grow more money. She even joked with Marie Claire about the first time she watched Mary Poppins, and how she was confused at financial strategy for feeding the birds.

She said, “The children want their tuppence to feed the birds. But I thought they should have left their tuppence in a bank earning interest. They could have bought a ton more birdseed that way.”

Her best advice about becoming a business success is specifically geared towards women. She believes they should learn everything they can about their finances and how to invest. And, they should change their perspective on what it means to save money.

She said, “I don’t want women looking for spare change or not buying the latte. I want them thinking like moguls and investing. It’s not about clipping coupons, it’s not a mentality of deprivation, it’s redefining luxury. And the only way you get an investment account is by starting.”

Her own money savvy combined with her incredible work ethic helped her become the business success she is today. She even launched an inspiring lifestyle brand called Love the Hustle to help like-minded women find, educate, and support each other.

A Favorite Elle Kaplan Quote:

“Who you surround yourself with can have a major impact on your life trajectory.”

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Henry Sapiecha

 

22 Things people once believed about women’s bodies

People used to believe a lot of things that now seem completely bizarre to us, thanks to modern science. Most people today would scoff at someone saying the earth is flat or that everything in the universe revolves around it, even though that’s what most people believed just a few centuries ago. People today also know that bloodletting is not a good healthcare practice, that there is no secret process with which to create the philosopher’s stone, and that smoking is terrible for your health.

Some of the strangest beliefs, however, revolved around some truly outlandish things about women and their bodies. Many of these beliefs stemmed from superstition and the patriarchal concept of women being naturally inferior to men. While science still hasn’t proven all the mysteries of the universe, it has definitely debunked all of these old-fashioned theories!

1…Menstruating women can kill swarms of bees

Ancient Roman author, philosopher, and naturalist Pliny the Elder compiled an encyclopedia, titled Natural History, in which he devoted a section to the various “powers” that menstruating women allegedly possess.

As Pliny believed, a woman on her period is a force to be reckoned with. Side effects of a woman’s time of the month include cursing plants in her path, dimming the “brightness of mirrors,” driving dogs crazy, and killing swarms of bees. According to his writings, iron would rust, ivory would lose its polish, and steel blades would be made blunt. If a woman’s menstrual fluid somehow was exposed to lightning during a thunderstorm, the storm would be driven away by the power of the woman’s flow.

It is scary to think about living in a time when the female body was so misunderstood. While women today have it much better than they did in the past, things are still far from perfect.

A recent global study showed that three out of four women believe their country has unequal rights. Nearly half of the women in the world say that they do not personally feel they have equal status to men. One in five people still believe that women are inferior to men.

We might live in a more enlightened time, but there is still work to be done.

2…Women have fewer teeth than men

It wasn’t just the ancient Romans who held unflattering views of women. The ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, has had a huge impact on Western philosophy. While hailed as a great thinker and teacher, his views on women were more than a little problematic.

For a man regarded as a scientist, Aristotle had some pretty unscientific views about women. A woman was believed by Aristotle to be an “incomplete” version of a man, and even had fewer teeth than their male counterparts.

According to Aristotle’s social hierarchy, women were ranked higher than slaves, but below men. In Politics, the philosopher argued that men are superior as they possess “intellectual virtue in completeness.” Women, according to Aristotle, were meant to serve men because they were physically and intellectually inferior to them.

3…Women have wandering wombs 

Another ancient Greek, the physician Hippocrates, deserves the credit for identifying the “disorder” of hysteria. The term “hysteria” was a catch-all phrase that described pretty much anything that went awry with a woman’s mental or physical health. The cause? A “wandering uterus.”

For centuries, people believed that a woman’s womb roamed all over her body like a living parasite. Aristotle used the diagnosis of hysteria to further discredit women. Yet another ancient Greek, Aretaeus of Cappadocia said that the womb is “closely resembling an animal” and “moves itself hither and thither.” Even after people understood more about the human body and its functions, hysteria continued to be used as a diagnosis.

4…Women don’t have sexual urges 

The idea of hysteria persisted through the Victorian Age. Sex during this time was such a taboo topic that it seems like people went out of their way to deny that it was anything but a mechanical process. While men might indulge their sexual urges, such desires in women were considered to be low class. Sex was a burden that women were meant to endure, not enjoy. A popular (though fictional) anecdote has Queen Victoria advising one of her daughters that on her wedding night she should “lie back and think of England.”

Sexual impulses were so repressed, that women went to the doctor to be relieved of their “hysteria.” Symptoms included erotic fantasies, irritability, and wetness between the legs. Doctors would manually stimulate the woman’s clitoris to induce “paroxysm.” This treatment for hysteria led to the invention of the vibrator. Despite all of this, no one involved admitted that women had sexual needs and that doctors were not providing a needed medical treatment, but were, instead, giving women orgasms.

5…Self-pleasure leads to being flat-chested

In the Victorian era, masturbation was a huge no-no. Some of the myths about touching yourself down there are still spread as old wives’ tales. People today don’t really believe that the practice will drive you insane, or make you grow hair on your hands, though these rumors still persist.

But back in the Victorian era, however, people thought that stimulating oneself was not only immoral but could lead to developmental delays, such as girls being flat-chested. John Cowan wrote in The Science of a New Life that “girls who have followed masturbating habits…show usually strong indications of it in the failure of their glandular development. Such persons are apt to be flat-breasted, or, as we term it, flat-chested.”

Myths about the harms of solo-sex were so pervasive that people went to great lengths to prevent their children from touching their private parts. Devices were marketed to prevent masturbation, and doctors even performed clitoridectomies on young girls to prevent the practice.

6…Reading makes women infertile 

In contrast to modern women who tend to outnumber men in universities in much of the world, it was once thought that women who read too much would be rendered infertile. This theory was widely spread by a Harvard professor named Edward H. Clarke who wrote in Sex in Education, or A Fair Chance For The Girls that, while women are capable of learning, too much book learning could lead to infertility and irritability. Clarke recommended that girls receive limited schooling so as not to damage their health or baby-making abilities.

Thankfully, well-educated women took it upon themselves to disprove Clarke’s theories. An 1885 study by Annie Howes, of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, and an 1887 paper by Mary Putnam Jacobi, debunked Clarke’s treatise.

7…Viewing ugly things while pregnant makes ugly babies

In the 18th century, many people thought that the things a woman thought could affect what her baby looked like. In The Pregnant Imagination, Fetal Rights, and Women’s Bodies: A Historical Inquiry, Julia Epstein writes that there was a debate over whether or not “imaginative activity in the minds of pregnant women could explain birthmarks and birth malformations.”

Many people thought that a woman could directly influence the appearance of her child and that looking at unattractive things could cause the child to be born, well, unattractive. It was widely recommended that women avoid “unwholesome” things, lest they deform their developing child.

8…A woman on her period is unclean

The idea that a woman on her period is somehow unclean dates back to antiquity. According to the book of Leviticus in the Bible, not only was a woman on her period unclean, but so was everything she wore and touched. The thirteenth century De Secretis Mulierum (The Secrets of Women) was written by a man claiming to be a monk, Albertus Magnus. According to Magnus, “Menstrual matter is extremely venomous” and a woman on her period gives off “fumes” which can poison children.

These ideas persisted in Western culture through the 20th century, well past the point you’d think people would have dismissed such clearly irrational thinking. In the 1920s, a doctor named Bela Schick described “menotoxin,” an alleged “menstrual toxin” that was secreted in a menstruating woman’s sweat and had the power to cause flowers to wilt. Other “studies” claimed that menotoxin in breast milk caused colic in infants and that a woman who was “menotoxic” during pregnancy gave her baby asthma.

9…Tampons can make women lose their virginity

This myth is still getting some traction, even though there is no truth to it. When Tampax was introduced in the 1930s, many people thought that they shouldn’t be used by young girls. The main fear of moral conservatives was that inserting a tampon would result in the loss of virginity.

Consumer Reports released an article in the 1940s telling people that it was okay for virgins to use tampons. In case there’s still any confusion, the only thing that can make someone lose their virginity is actually having sex.

10…Only willing women can get pregnant 

This myth is particularly terrifying, in that many people still believe it. In 2012, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin claimed that rape victims can’t get pregnant since in a “legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Akin isn’t the only modern politician to have expressed that idea. In 1995, North Carolina state representative Henry Aldridge, said that women “who are truly raped” cannot conceive a child as “the juices don’t flow” and “the body functions don’t work.” In 1998, Republican Senate candidate Fay Boozman said that stress of assault will trigger a biochemical response in rape victims that makes conception next to impossible. Pennsylvania state legislator Stephen Freind claimed in 1988 that the odds of a rape victim becoming pregnant were “one in millions and millions and millions.”

The impossibility of rape leading to conception has been used as a legal defense since at least the 13th century. Vanessa Heggie, a historian at the University of Birmingham, wrote in a blog piece for The Guardian that Fleta, a British legal text from that time period, says “without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

11…Women’s brains are smaller and less capable

Women fought a long and arduous battle to win the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1920 that women in the United States were allowed to cast a ballot, and Switzerland’s women couldn’t vote until 1971.

One of the reasons given for not allowing women to vote was that their smaller brains made them mentally inferior to men. Members of anti-suffragist movements such as the National Association Opposed to Women’s Suffrage (NAOWS) claimed that women did not have the capacity to understand politics and therefore should not be given the right to vote. This idea was so accepted that even women believed it and joined anti-suffragist groups, lending some credibility to a claim on a pamphlet issued by the NAOWS that most women had no interest on how the country was run.

Women’s brains function just as well as men’s brains. They are physically smaller on average, but this correlates to body size and has no impact on intelligence.

12…Female virgins can cure men with venereal diseases

A long-held belief that some people still have faith in is the idea that sleeping with a virgin will cure a person of a disease. There is, of course, no credence to this belief, but it has resulted in the abuse of countless young women throughout history.

People in England and the United States believed well into the twentieth century that sleeping with a young virgin would cure them of syphilis and other venereal diseases. The virgin’s pure and untouched state was somehow thought to have restorative properties that would be transferred to the afflicted man. Even more alarming is the fact that many of the men who sought out young girls for such purposes believed that the disease would be cured in him but passed on to the girl.

In modern times, there are still men who believe in this myth. Men afflicted with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa along with parts of India and Thailand have reportedly sought out young girls in search of this “cure.”

13…Infertility is all the woman’s fault

Women in ancient Egypt were generally viewed as equal to men, but that doesn’t mean that their society understood how women’s bodies worked. Ancient Egyptians were particularly perplexed by what made a woman fertile and assumed that a couple’s ability to conceive rested solely on the woman. It was thought that women with wide hips and large breasts were more fertile than those with narrow hips and flatter chests.

In order to test a woman’s fertility, a clove of garlic or an onion would be placed inside a woman’s vagina. That belief was that if the woman was, fertile her uterus would be linked to her alimentary canal and her breath would smell like garlic or onion the next day. If the smell of garlic or onion didn’t travel to her mouth, then the woman was blocked and would not be able to conceive. This particular fertility test was also utilized by the ancient Greeks.

14…Exercise is dangerous for women 

Strenuous activity was thought to be dangerous for women as it could harm their reproductive parts. It was the general consensus of the Berlin Medical Association in the 19th century that the “ailing health” of women during menstruation and pregnancy was proof that they were the weaker (and therefore inferior) gender.

One 19th century German doctor strongly advised against girls jump-roping as “it made the feet flat, damaged the lungs, and caused twisting of the bowels as well as chronic headaches.” A director of a 19th century gymnastics teachers training institute agreed that women should avoid “exercise which requires sudden and jerking movements… on account of the particular position of the female reproductive organs.”

15..Breast milk is coagulated menstrual blood 

From ancient times through the Middle Ages, most people thought that breastfed babies were being given blood. The dominant belief in these times was that breast milk and menstrual blood are the same substance, but that breast milk “had been heated, coagulated, and whitened by hot air.” This bizarre idea persisted for centuries and was taught by prominent philosophers including Aristotle and Galen, and can also be found in the Jewish Talmud.

16…The uterus has seven cells 

Before people understood the science behind reproduction, they believed that a baby’s sex depended on which chamber of the uterus it was carried in. It was commonly believed that the uterus had seven chambers or cells, with the right three developing males and the left three developing females. If a baby developed in the center cell, it would be intersex, having both male and female features. The concept of the seven-chambered uterus reigned throughout the Middle Ages and persisted long after anatomical dissection proved that there is only one space in the uterus.

Renaissance thinkers eventually replaced the debunked myth with even more ridiculous notions. They believed that the father’s sperm turned the mother’s menstrual blood into milk which also formed the fetus. In order to ensure male offspring, women were encouraged to eat “hot” foods, while foods such as fish and fruit (characterized as “humid” and “cold”) were to be avoided as they could form a female child. It was also thought that sex (provided it was gentle enough not to harm the baby) could help to develop a baby boy due to the exposure to a male presence.

17…Menstrual blood has special powers 

Menstruation has long been one of the most mysterious and misunderstood aspects of the human body. Many believed that menstrual blood has special powers; the 12th century mystic Hildegard of Bingen believed that it could be used to cure leprosy. In ancient Egypt, menstrual blood was thought to have healing properties and was used in the production of medicines. It was also used in an ointment which served to protect babies from evil powers. Indigenous South Americans believed that menstrual blood was the source from which “all mankind was created,” a belief that was also present in Mesopotamia.

18…Pregnancy mood swings are caused by an “irritable” uterus

Pregnancy can be marked by mood swings, thanks to all the hormones coursing through your body. In the 18th and 19th centuries, though, people thought that changes in mood were because “the event of conception stimulated the womb, creating an excitability which in turn affected other organs.”

Thomas Denman, a prominent physician, said that the uterus was prone to “extreme irritability.” The other organs were thought to be so in-tune with the uterus that they would experience sympathy pains, causing morning sickness and the swelling of the breasts. The uterus was thought to also affect a woman’s emotions because “of this general and perpetual irritation,” causing a woman carrying a child to be “sometimes rendered less gentle and patient than is consistent with their usual character.”

19...Female flesh is “spongier” than a man’s

In ancient times, it was thought that women had porous skin, which prevented them from becoming as strong as men. Proof of this could supposedly be found in the breasts, as a woman’s body could hold more moisture than a man’s causing the breasts to swell and grow. It was also believed that when a person was on the verge of madness, blood would collect in the breasts. Since women could hold more blood in their breasts, they were therefore considered to be more likely to be irrational than men.

Men were believed to use up more of the fluids they consumed through physical activity while women instead retained moisture in their “spongy” flesh. Excess fluid would collect in the body and eventually be discharged as menstrual blood. This theory was used to promote the idea that women’s bodies are biologically inferior to men’s.

20…Bad personalities are the fault of the ovaries

If a woman had a bad personality, it was all chalked up to malfunctioning reproductive organs. In the 18th century, it was commonly thought that a woman’s personality was “dominated by her ovaries,” and that “female disorders” could be treated by simply removing them.

Women were frequently subjected to operations to remove their ovaries (and sometimes their clitoris) in order to treat gynecological symptoms. Such operations were also performed for the purpose of “controlling psychological disorders.” Ovaries were removed “for relief of…nervous (psychological) symptoms, menstrual dysfunction, and convulsions.” Ovariotomies were performed on tens of thousands of women in this time period.

At the time, epilepsy was thought to be caused by masturbation, therefore the removal of the clitoris was thought to “cure” the affliction. Clitordectomies were also used to treat “disorders” such as nymphomania and epilepsy. While ovariotomy was discredited as a treatment for psychological disorders by 1906, clitoridectomy was an accepted practice in the United States as late as 1948.

21…Menstrual blood is evil leaving the body

In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was believed that menstrual blood accumulated in the body became “corrupted” and would “attain a malignant and venomous quality.” Menstruation, therefore, was “a monthly purging of those evil humours.”

Women who entered menopause and no longer menstruated each month were thought to be potentially harboring these “evil humours” which were “capable of adding to that complex of female wickedness which could turn aging women into witches.” Because of this, older women were often viewed with suspicion; most of the women accused of witchcraft in Europe during this time were past the age of menopause.

22…We still have work to do

It is scary to think about living in a time when the female body was so misunderstood. While women today have it much better than they did in the past, things are still far from perfect.

A recent global study showed that three out of four women believe their country has unequal rights. Nearly half of the women in the world say that they do not personally feel they have equal status to men. One in five people still believe that women are inferior to men.

We might live in a more enlightened time, but there is still work to be done.

Henry Sapiecha