The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Women's History Month "N": Nefertiti and Nursing


The bust of Nefertiti from the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin

Nefertiti (meaning “the beauty has come”) was an ancient Egyptian Queen known for her iconic beauty. Though there is not much information on the life of Nefertiti, she is thought to have lived from about 1370 BC to about 1330 BC, and it is possible that her father was Ay, a pharaoh himself, though scholars are not sure of her parentage.  She was the Great Royal Wife to Akhenaten (who changed his name from Amenhotep IV), who moved the capital of Egypt to Akhenaten (modern day Amarna) and changed Egyptian religious practice to monotheism during his reign, worshipping only the sun disc Aten, instead of the full pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses.

During Akhenaten's reign, Nefertiti portraits and statues were highly reproduced in the Amarna artistic style of the era.  Nefertiti was often shown of equal size (and therefore stature) in the art of the period, and the art was less formalized, showing affection between not only Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but also between Akhenaten and his daughters (it is known that they had at least six daughters).  Additionally, Nefertiti was shown performing roles that were the duty of the pharaoh, including the smiting of enemies.  It is clear that she enjoyed vast personal power during Akhenaten's reign, and may  have been co-regent with him, as implied on stela from the time period.  It is also possible that after Akhenaten died, Nefertiti ruled as the pharaoh Neferneferuaten or Smenkhkare, though scholars are unsure, and often debate this theory.  Around 1332 BC, Nefertiti disappeared from all historical records.


I came to live in a country I love; some people label me a defector. I have loved men and women in my life; I've been labeled "the bisexual defector" in print. Want to know another secret? I'm even ambidextrous. I don't like labels. Just call me Martina.
~Martina Navratilova, Former No. 1 Tennis Player

The true face of the unions is not now a man in a hard hat as much as it is a woman in a classroom or in cleaning smocks.
~Karen Nussbaum, Co-founder and Executive Director of Working America

I'm no lady; I'm a member of Congress, and I'll proceed on that basis.
~Mary Teresa Norton, American Politician

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
~Anaïs Nin, French-Cuban Author

No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this--'devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.
~Florence Nightingale, English Nursing Pioneer and Statistician 


Nursing is profession based on caring for the health of individuals, families, and communities.  Though nursing has been a profession for many centuries, pioneers like Florence Nightingale, who wrote Notes on Nursing, helped to revolutionize nursing and improve the conditions of the patients that were being cared for. 

Even prior to Nightingale, women have always had a strong influence in nursing. Historically, nuns provided nursing-like services as they would attend to the sick and the the military had women attend to soldiers who were wounded in battle. In the U.K. top female nurses were known as sisters.  In the US, many women serves are nurses in the armed forces from the Civil War to give their time and humanitarian services to the war effort. During the Spanish-American War, the government began a "contract nurse" service, providing government contracts to nurses and sending more than 1,500 women to provide medical care to Hawaii, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. 

Today, there are a variety of nursing degrees and educational paths. A Registered Nurse is a nurse with certified credentials and degrees to provide technical knowledge of patient care and health. In a recent report done in 2003, it it stated that 92% of all registered nurses are women.

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