Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

Dreaming big and doing what I want. Thanks, feminism!

The world is full of amazing women and I pay extra attention to them because that’s what I want to be when I grow up.

Women's Day Parade

Feminism is important.

My ears perk up when I hear about women being awesome.

My ears?
or rather, my soul.

I pay attention to the FIRSTS for women.

I read about them and soak up inspiration.
Words of wisdom.
Bright ideas.

Yityish Aynaw.

How about this young woman. Just read about her today and woowee! Ethiopian heritage, Israeli Soldier, Ms. Israel beauty queen… dining at the White House.  I mean dang girl,




Sheryl Sandberg. Duh.

Best line from the Time Magazine article, Confidence Woman, regarding Sandberg:

“Some people emanate ‘I’m a pro at what I do. And I’m such a pro that when you’re around me, you’re going to want to be more of a pro too,’” says Chris Cox, Facebook’s VP of product. “And that’s how it felt when she showed up.”

I like that.  I want to be like that.

Brigid Schulte.

She’s with our gal Sandberg. “Let’s make feminism less scary.”
Schulte gives us a lot to think about mothering and fathering amidst a busy American life.
(She’s also a friend of my family… soooo that’s pretty awesome.)

Benazir Bhutto.
Excuse my language, but what a total BAMF!!!!
Why weren’t American women of the 1990s reading Daughter of the East?!
If they HAD they would have understood that feminism IS STILL NECESSARY!!!
People trying to tell BB that you can’t have a PREGGO Prime Minister!!!!! Hmmf.
The sad thing is, when we have a woman president in America I’m sure people will say the same crazy stuff.

Mama Congo.

Mama Congo!

This blog rocks.  Speaking of international perspectives on women, careers and motherhood…
American culture is such a strange thing, especially when it comes to breast feeding.
Americans could learn a thing or two from the matriarchal- I will take care of my kids whenever, wherever, however I feel like it- NO-NONSENSE motherhooding going on in Congo.  Booyah.

My Mama.

Speaking of no-nonsense motherhooding.
Sally Reams is the greatest mother to ever walk the planet earth.
She went from cheerleader-sorority officer-seamstress to competetive rower-department of defense manager-super mom.
She worked all day and then made us dinner, made us do our homework, made us ack right, etttttcetera!
Yea, you read it right- ACK right.
She recently sent me this fantastic PBS documentary called Makers: Women Who Make America. Watch it!

Women Wordsmiths.

In high school English, the only book I ever actually read was Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Loved it.  Later, loved: The Help and Secret Life of Bees.
Fiction by women for women is important.

(So is non-fiction, of course!)
Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.
Nine and Counting.
The Accidental Adventurer.


As my life expanded across the Atlantic and back, I’ve become totally obsessed with Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi. She’s a Nigerian writer and has written two of the most beautiful novels I’ve ever read.
I stayed up until 5 in the morning finishing Purple Hibiscus.

There is just so much negative non-fiction about Africa.
And her books are like a breath of fresh air.
Her books share more of a REAL picture than non-fiction ever could.
Half of a Yellow Sun.
Totally brilliant.

Speaking of suns, I’ll never forget when a group of my 7th grade girls in Kinshasa knew that I had read The Kite Runner.
“Ms. Rich, you HAVE to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. It’s even BETTER than The Kite Runner because it’s about GIRLS! and the power of… GIRL POWER!”
So I took their advice, and sat at the airport reading it, crying like a baby at the beautifulness of it all. This girl power story that was recommended to me by 7th grade girls.

Lastly, but certainly not least.
My favorite spoken word pieces.

Zora Howard is awesome.  I came across Bi-Racial Hair when I was teaching a poetry unit in Brooklyn last year.

Annnnd Zora Howard is still awesome, studying at Yale.

Sarah Jones is inspiring.
Ted talk. Spoken word. Both amazing.
Recently discovered T. Miller .

How about Edwidge Danticat from Haiti.  Breath, Eyes, Memory.  What a BOOK!
How about one of my favorite poets from South Africa, Natalie Molebatsi.
Her poem, Listen up Child, ranks right up there with Phenomenal Woman.

The list could go on.

Hillary Clinton.
Michelle Obama.
Katherine Graham.
Mary McLeod Bethune.
Billie Jean King.
Tina Fey.
Coach Porterfield.
Mrs. Lodato.
My girl scout leaders.
My stepmom.
My sisters, Megg and Mattie.
My sister-in-law.

My girlfriends who are engineers.
who are writers and fashionistas.
who are adventurers and going to business school.
who are starting a family and become great cooks.

The nuns I worked for in Goma.
The director I worked for in Kinshasa.
The principal I worked for in Brooklyn.

These are the amazing women I will continue to pay extra attention to.
Because that’s what I am determined to be.

Because of all the feminists before me,
and all the feminists around now…
makes it pretty easy for me to

dream as BIG as I freaking want,
and actually DO whatever I want.

To be a woman, phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, I’ll be.


5 comments on “Dreaming big and doing what I want. Thanks, feminism!

  1. Lonnie Rich (dad)
    March 22, 2013

    Amen, sister. . . . I mean, daughter. Your mom and I got started working in NOW and for pro-ERA candidates!

  2. Sally aka Mom
    March 22, 2013

    Thanks for the shout out Sara! I remember the first time you and i discussed women’s rights. Do you remember when you were in high school and you called me at my office in a last minute “panic” because you had no visual aid for a speech you had to make at school. When I asked what your speech was about, you told me it was to do with the equal rights amendment. We had never before discussed that I was a feminist or anything about my involvement in working for equal rights so you had no idea of my involvement until then. I was so thrilled to learn of your interest. I suggested you use some old ERA buttons I wore when marching for equal rights in the 70s. And conversations ensued! And I love it that you continue to have such great appreciation for those who have gone before you, paving the way, and those who continue paving the way and setting examples for all of us.

  3. Sarah
    March 23, 2013

    A mention between Benazir Bhutto and Sally Reams makes my day any day! But surely you should be at the top of this list. Nice work, Sara!

  4. Rachel
    March 30, 2013

    Sara, this is such a great post! Thanks for mentioning my blog– I feel honored to be included with so many other amazing women :). I’ve been looking at your page for Educorps and it looks like a wonderful nonprofit!

  5. Pingback: The Softball Story | Beans & Rice for the Soul

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2013 by in books, feminism, humanities.
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