This past week at Redefining Female we have been looking at the power of women’s friendships.  So, for today’s Fabulous Female, I thought it would be fun to celebrate some incredible friendships that have served as catalysts in bringing out the best in some pretty inspirational women.  For the sake of this post, I will only share three friendships–but I am sure there are countless more to name!

Many of us today forget about the decades of fighting it took for women to be given the right to vote, nor do we know about the friendship between two of the women who were instrumental in the fight. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in 1851 when they were in their early thirties; little did they know, they were about to embark on a friendship and partnership that would last over fifty years.  Susan was known as the “Napoleon” of the movement, as she was the people organizer and rally leader all over the country. Elizabeth was the “brains of the operation”–the thinker and writer who wrote pamphlets and speeches for the cause. In addition, she was also a wife and mother to seven children.  Susan would often come over to mind Elizabeth’s kids so that she had time to write, and then later they would work late into the night, figuring out their next move.  Elizabeth explained:

Night after night by the light of an old-fashioned fireplace,…we plotted and planned the coming agitation, how, when and where each entering wedge could be driven, by which woman might be recognized, and her rights secured . . . . Such battles were fought over and over again.”

Neither women ever lived to see the day when voting was legalized for women, but their fight wasn’t in vane.

The next friendship for us to celebrate today is between a woman many of us are familiar with, and the woman who made her famous.  Julia Child met one of her best friends, Avis DeVoto, by accident.  The two became friends when Julia wrote a letter to Avis’ husband, one of her favorite magazine writers, and Avis replied. Soon, the two were pen pals; Julia writing from France, Avis from Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Very quickly, through their transatlantic letters, the two became much more than acquaintances. Even from a distance, Avis saw Julia’s great talent and passion for cooking.  Having a background in publishing, Avis not only encouraged Julia in writing her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but also was actively involved in the ten year process it took to get it published.  Though Julia’s book was denied by publishers numerous times, both Avis and Julia saw it’s potential to forever change the landscape of cooking in American.  Avis persevered in finding Julia a publisher, and the rest, as they say, is History.

Finally, in case you have been going through Olympic withdrawal as I have, the last friendship I want us to celebrate today is between Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh Jennings.  Becoming volley-ball partners just after the 2000 Olympics, they have made history by winning Olympic Gold in 2004, 2008, and 2012.  But what is most fascinating to me is their friendship on and off the court.

After the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Misty thought she was done. Keri found another partner, and Misty began to pursue other things; but within two years, she knew her journey with Keri wasn’t finished.  She called Keri, and they reunited. Misty told ESPN“The first two gold medals it was more about volleyball. The friendship we had was there, but it was volleyball, volleyball, volleyball. This was so much more about the friendship, the togetherness, the journey — and volleyball was just a small part of it.’

For the two years leading up to their third win earlier this month, Misty and Keri worked hard at preparing for London. They struggled through injuries and even the testing of their friendship. At one point, they felt so out of sync that they started seeing a sports counselor. Keri is quoted as saying that in counseling “What we learned was that we didn’t want to let each other down. I don’t want to let Misty down. And that was keeping us kind of timid.” As we know, neither of them let each other or their country down this past month, and a big part of that is from the trust they have in one another.

After winning gold, Keri said:  “I’m proud to finish the journey with Misty. It’s been 11 years of really fun and crazy times. She’s the best there ever has been. And for me to be able to play with her so long and be able to call her a friend and a sister is the biggest gift ever.” (ESPN)  Misty and Keri have a friendship in which they have been able to celebrate each other’s talent and bring the best out of each other.

Who of your friends bring the best out of you?