I sometimes hear some book or article praised that teaches about “Women who shaped history”.
I think that is an idea born out of ignorance. Women have always shaped history. The women shape the rising generation. The women who shaped history the most are the ones history has all but forgotten. History has its tides and movements, but is presented without understanding that the mothers that raised each generation were the dominant influence in the direction the next generation would take. The goodness or badness of a rising generation is largely the work of the mothers of the previous generation.
The generation in which a free country could be established was raised by peculiar mothers. It was not one mother that could accomplish it any more than one man could make a free country. It was a lot of mothers raising their children up the best they could according to the light and truth that was available to them. That was women shaping history. And shape it they did.
We have women shaping history all around us. But they are doing it now primarily by seeking for something greater than being wives and mothers and training and nurturing their own children. Thus we see history being shaped by women these days in a degenerative way.
I believe it was Joseph F Smith that prophesied of a generation of mothers that would not stay home with their children, and whose children would rebel. That was fulfilled when the mothers that went to work in the World War 2 effort didn’t return home after the war ended but stayed at work for greater financial prosperity. They raised the hippy generation.
The rising generation currently has a major problem with discarding morality as being a small matter and rejecting gospel truth whenever it conflicts with worldly wisdom. This is the result of the previous generation of mothers who, by and large, chose to work outside the home. There you have it again: Women shaping history.
Women always shape history. The Lord gave them an innate love and interest in their little ones that inspires them to shape history toward Zion if they will hearken to the light that is given to them.
If they do not give heed to that light, they still shape history.
Yes, Fathers are also an important influence, but it is women who are primarily responsible for the nurturing of their children.
Whenever society has moved forward toward Zion the women of those days shaped history by nurturing their children. History is always being shaped by how mothers view and pursue their divine role of raising children up to light and truth. If it is second to their other pursuits, then, to borrow a line from Elder Maxwell “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will, in the end, make no difference what you have chosen instead.” Such women will shape a history of successive generations that become successively more rebellious. A generation cannot be raised up to God as a secondary interest, a subsidiary pursuit to personal accomplishment.
Zion will not be built without women shaping history. Women can shape history and build a Zion, one generation improving upon the previous one, by centering their lives on their roles as wives and mothers, raising their children up to the Lord and building a Zion in their own homes. And if they do that, then shape history they will.