Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lillian Moller Gilbreth, American Superwoman

Lillian Moller Gilbreth, pic from Wikipedia
 On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America became law. This amendment finally granted women the right to vote.  One of the many reasons people opposed this amendment was the misconception that since women should be focusing their time on raising their children and taking care of their households, they would or could not be able to concern themselves in worldly matters.

Now, I don't disagree with this comment entirely.  Women should not ignore their children, and it is important for us to create an enviroment in our households that is loving, safe and generally happy.  But c'mon people, because women take care of their families they can't have a clue about their country?  Wrong.

Case in point, meet Lillian Moller Gilbreth.

Here's her brief bio, courtesy of Wikipedia.
  • Born May 24, 1878
  • BA, MA from Berkeley, 1900, 1902 in engineering
  • Married Frank Gilbreth, 1904
  • Had 7 children between 1905 - 1915
  • PhD from Brown University in Industrial Psychology, 1915
  • Had 5 more children between 1916 - 1922
  • 'First American engineer ever to combine a synthesis of psychology and scientific management" (quote from Wikipedia, see link below)
  • Advisor to Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy & Johnson "on matters of civil defense, war production and rehabilitation of the physically handicapped" (quote from Wikipedia, see link below)
  • Wrote books, gave lectures
  • Did I mention she had 12 children?
  • 22 Honorary Degrees, some from Ivy League schools
  • Died at the ripe old age of 93 on January 2, 1972
Here's the Wikipedia link to her story.  It is simply astounding, almost unbelievable.  She was the founding mother of multi-tasking.  The books Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles On Their Toes were written by her children about their life as a large family. 

So today, let's remember Lillian Moller Gilbreth, wife, mother and an extraordinary American citizen who lived in the midst of the suffrage movement and was fortunate enough to have been granted the right to vote for most of her adult life.  Not all of us have the ability to emulate her life exactly, and we can't, we aren't Lillian.  However, it is evident that she didn't sit around and wait for things to happen.  She used her God-given intelligence and abundunt energy and put it to use. 

Congratulations Lillian, You Rock!

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