DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl who read your column about "Winning Against the Odds." I was surprised to see the names of only five women included, so I decided to add to your list of names.
You once printed a list of African Americans who were born into a society filled with heavy prejudice. Well, that same prejudice was once practiced against women. Women who wanted careers or the same rights as men were shunned. I offer a list of 10 more women who overcame various hardships:
-- Rejected by medical schools in London because of her gender, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first female member of the British Medical Association.
-- Born into poverty was author Louisa May Alcott.
-- Struck with Marfan's syndrome was Flo Hyman, who won a silver medal in Olympic volleyball. She is the namesake of the Flo Hyman Award.
-- Orphaned at age 10 was former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
-- Raised as a slave was evangelist and reformer Sojourner Truth.
-- Ridiculed, shunned and arrested for standing up for their beliefs were suffragettes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
-- Orphaned at 13 was Oksana Baiul, Olympic figure skating champion.
-- Denied admission to most medical schools and blind in one eye was Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree.
-- Incapacitated for a decade as a result of a spinal injury and a lung ailment was Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet and feminist. -- ALISON IN FLORIDA
DEAR ALISON: My column titled "Winning Against the Odds" inspired many responses. Read on for another:
DEAR ABBY: One need not go back to Abe Lincoln or Albert Einstein to find someone who succeeded despite adversity. One need only go to the family next door, or perhaps one down the street.
There are millions of us who were born into abject poverty during the Depression, who lived on bread and potatoes, whose parents couldn't afford to send us to the dentist, who never owned a suit until we were adults, who attended a one-room country grade school with no electricity or indoor plumbing, but who still managed to learn a skill or work and complete our education. Now we live in the 'burbs and have sent our kids through college.
I've been there and done that. And it can still be done. All it takes is hard work, perseverance, and forgoing instant gratification. You have to figure out where you are going and how you are going to get there -- and stop whining and using the excuse that you are a victim. -- CALVIN S. HOLM, THIENSVILLE, WIS.
DEAR MR. HOLM: No discourtesy intended -- but you said a mouthful, Cal!