(Barnwood C of E Primary School, Gloucester, for the record.)
I soldiered on. And when I finally got my headship (' No-one will ever appoint you as their deputy, apply, for headships,' A kindly LEA officer finally explained, after five years.(!). ) I didn't get bitter, I got a Master's Degree, and when I finally achieved my goal, at least I had the satisfaction of knowing I'd made it on my own merits. I do wish though, that the men that were given a head-start at my (and other women's) expense, knew that they hadn't.
For many years, a highlight on the Francis Parental Pride Trail was the annual night out at The High School for Girls, Denmark Road , Prize Giving. (The high point of which was the presentation of the Cup for Netball to a young woman about seven feet tall.) My daughters would receive their prizes, then the guest speaker would give an encouraging homily to the assembly. One speaker quoted the first female mayor of the City of Toronto, who said,
'To get on in the world, a woman has to be twice as good as a man. Fortunately, this isn't difficult.'
How I laughed!
AIN'T I A WOMAN!
- That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddles
or gives me a best place...And ain't I a woman?
Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed and planted
and gathered into barns
and no man could head me...
And ain't I a woman?
I could work as much
and eat as much as a man —
when I could get to it —
and bear the lash as well
and ain't I a woman?
I have born 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother's grief
none but Jesus heard me...
And ain't I a woman?
that little man in black there say
a woman can't have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn't a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!
If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world
upside down, all alone
together women ought to be able to turn it
rightside up again.
The Creation of The World
The first day
I came to in the dark cold trembling
while I gathered twigs lit them he came out
of the cave shivered held his hands over
the fire and said: Let there be light
The second day
I woke at dawn carried water from the river
to wet the clay ground so the dust wouldn't
whip his face he came out I poured water into
his palms he washed his face looked up and
said: Let's call the roof sky the dryness earth
and the gathered waters the seas
The third day
I got up early picked blue red yellow fruit
piling small seeds between two stones ground
kneaded roast them he awoke stretched ate the
bread the sweet fruit said: Let the earth
bear tender grasses grasses with seeds fruit
The fourth day
I awoke suddenly swept the yard with a branch
of leaves soaked the laundry scrubbed the
pots cleaned the tools he woke as I sharpened
the scythe rolled over and said: Let heavenly
bodies light the sky to divide day from night
The fifth day
I rode in the morning filled the troughs
gave the horses hay milked the cows
sheared the sheep grazed the goats stuffed
the geese cut nettles for the ducklings
ground corn for the hens cooked slops for
the pigs threw the dog a bone poured the cat
its milk he yawned slowly rubbed the sleep from his
eyes and said: Let everything multiply and
grow and cover the earth
The sixth day
Pains woke me I gave birth to my child cleaned
swaddled nursed him he leaned over let the
little hand squeeze his thumb he smiled at
his likeness and saw that truly all of his creation
The seventh day
The baby's crying woke me I quickly changed
his diapers nursed him he quieted down I
lit the fire aired the apartment brought
up the newspaper
watered the plants dusted quietly
made breakfast the smell of coffee woke him he turned
on the radio lit a cigarette and blessed the seventh day
Eva Toth and Laura Schiff( Ain't I a Woman! 1987, Linthwaite I (Ed) Peter Bederick Books, NEW YORK)