Celebrating International Women's Day 2019 by Janina Parrot Jacobs

Born in the streets of New York when 15,000 suffragettes marched, demanding voting rights and fair wages in 1908, International Women’s Day is now a global celebration of the economic, social, cultural, and political achievements of women. Grassroots activism encourages unity and reflection regarding current situations in hopes of life-changing action. This year’s theme ‘balance for better’ advocates equal opportunity everywhere, whether in business, government, media….or golf.

Golfweek magazine gave props to 39 women who are enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame. ‘Babe’ Didrikson Zaharias, Mickey Wright, JoAnne ‘Big Momma’ Carner, Nancy Lopez, and Annika Sorenstam preceded this year’s inductees, LPGA stars Peggy Kirk Bell and Jan Stephenson. Golf history buffs will know Mrs. Bell as the owner of Pine Needles and Mid-Pines Inn and GC in Southern Pines near Pinehurst. She passed away in 2016 but showed the world how successful a woman-owned business could be, back when women didn’t own golf facilities. Ms. Stephenson was renowned not only for her great golf ability but also for her beauty and stunning figure. However, she was routinely criticized when using those assets to pose for calendars and photos - some a little risqué - but which actually brought thousands out to watch LPGA tournaments.

Women everywhere must be free to embrace their feminity and express themselves without asking permission or fearing repercussions. Centuries ago, women golfers were compelled to dress in outfits that were cumbersome and improbable to wear. Styles have evolved and now you see stylish shorter skirts, shorts, skorts and sleeveless tops that only 30 years ago would have been frowned upon at most clubs. Truth is, many women golfers have beautiful legs and toned shapes…so why not show it off, while being comfortable at the same time?

There are two schools of thought circling around this year’s celebration. One is that women indeed should be praised and appreciated for everything we’ve accomplished, often in the face of adversity. Two, others believe that women will have truly triumphed when there’s no need to set aside such a day. Which school do you favor?