March is Women of Preparedness Month at PerennialNC! We celebrate the unique strengths of icons, past & present who emulate Christian faith, preparedness, resilience, and grace, amidst an at-risk world. They were & are preparedness-driven, against the odds, to make life better for others.
It takes faith, fearlessness, and self-preparedness, to take a stand as a woman, in the past, to the present day! There are so many women that represent these attributes, who don’t “make the news” or get an award. We honor them all!
"Self-preparedness" has been a significant attribute for women since Biblical times. As written in Proverbs 31: 15 - 30, a husband counted a wife's entrepreneurialism and self-motivation, on behalf of her household, as a blessing.
Proverbs 31: 15-30
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
In fact, one can say that a "preparedness-driven" economy begins in the home. The practice of faith and preparedness has benefits in terms of family unity, resilience, and generational wealth-building. Those benefits empower community growth and stability; even beyond to the strengthening of an entire nation.
Whether married or single, the above scriptures encompass so many benefits than can emanate from a habit of self-preparedness and faith.
One of the women I find most exemplary, across the ages, of the attributes of faith and self-preparedness is Harriet Tubman.
No one had to convince Mrs. Tubman of the imperative to seek freedom. Once she decided, Mrs. Tubman's self-preparedness ignited the necessary ingenuity for countless missions ahead.
Mrs. Tubman mapped out the plan of navigation, using the stars, landmarks, signals, and prayer, to help 100s of fugitive slaves travel from the Southern states to the North; many fled into Canada, over the Niagara Railway Bridge.
Back then, there were no modern tools, such as State Maps, Compasses, or GPS, to assure accuracy along perilous paths, through various terrains and seasons, to achieve successful departures and arrivals of Ms. Tubman's "passengers".
Faith and self-preparedness, when activated for good cause, often brings out the best in our abilities. I call it "brain bloom"!
Fast forward to the year, 2018, Dr. Gladys West, an American Mathematician was recognized and inducted in the US Air Force Hall of Fame for her work in GPS technology
Gladys Mae West (née Brown; born October 27, 1930) is known for her contributions to the mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth, and her work on the development of the satellite geodesy models that were eventually incorporated into the Global Positioning System (GPS). West was inducted into the United States Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018. West was awarded the Webby Lifetime Achievement Award at 25th Annual Webby Awards for the development of the satellite geodesy models.[3
While Dr. West didn't face the life-threatening perils of Harriet Tubman, she still had to navigate through obstacles in her way, to achieve the credibility and respect of her mostly white male peers. The GPS systems, models, and tools that we all use today, owe much to her scientific contributions.
Throughout all, Dr. West's faith, self-confidence, and self-preparedness, made possible the mathematical contributions to advances in land and sea navigation, that benefit all of us today. Gladys West is one of many women of preparedness and "hidden figures" that are beginning to get the recognition due them.
An awareness of such women is essential to instilling a similar expectation of self-confidence, self-preparedness and the faith and necessary for our young people to pursue goals and achieve bright futures. - Pam Kelly
"I'm a doer, hands-on kind of person. If I can see the road and see where it turns and see where it went, I am more sure." - Dr. Gladys West
Caveat: In some pseudo-biographies, Dr. West is credited with inventing the GPS system in its entirely. This is false. Rarely do people invent "in a vacuum", nor did Dr. West ever claim to be the sole inventor.
Many inventions reach their most optimal and functional state after many iterations and many years of combined contributions of several "stakeholders." By saying that Dr. West "contributed to', rather than invented GPS development hardly diminishes her stature in the evolution of GPS technology.