Sunday, October 02, 2005

We've Come A Long Way Baby and Still Have A Long Way To Go!

I love to just browse thru history books, genealogy records, and the encyclopedia. Browsing thru the Wikipedia encyclopedia I came across the women's suffrage stamp (see picture on the left). In looking at the women's suffrage stamp I got to thinking about my great, great Aunt "Flossie" and my Grandmother "Dee." Why did these two women come to mind when I saw the stamp? They came to mind because they grew up during the time that the women's suffrage movement was at its peak.

Little history lesson : American women earned the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. This amendment was finally accomplished after years (actually decades, if not centuries) of effort by women, in general, and the women's suffrage movement, in particular.

My "Flossie" victorian doll pattern is named after my great, great Aunt Florence (who is shown on the left). My great, great Aunt Flossie was born in 1882 and was the first women to go to college in our family. She graduated from Tufts University in 1904. She then went on to be one of the first women to work for the State Department of Corporations and Taxation. She worked for the state until she retired in 1947.

My "Dee" victorian doll pattern is named after my Grandmother Doris (who is shown below). My Grandmother "Dee" was born in 1896, went on to college and graduated with a teaching degree in 1917.

My great, great Aunt "Flossie" was a true believer of women's rights, as was my Grandmother "Dee". Both women were very intelligent and were very strong women. Both were very confident in themselves and both held strong beliefs and convictions. They both were believers in women's rights. Their beliefs definitely had a profound affect on my mother which, in turn, had an affect on me.

As an aside. I just love asides, don't I? The only weakness in my Grandmother as far as women's rights were concerned had to do with the wearing of pants. She strongly disagreed with this fashion statement and was very critical of my Mother for wearing them. I never saw my Grandmother in anything but a dress or skirt. God forbid a bathing suit. Yikes!

In any event, where is all this leading us. In thinking about all of this I came to the sad realization that some of the young women of today don't realize how difficult the path for women's rights has been and how important the right to vote is. Some don't realize how far women's rights have come.

Just the difference in rights between now and 35 years ago when I started working is staggering. While the changes in the workplace are very evident and promising, they still have a long way to go. When I started working "old boy networks" were the norm. Women really weren't wanted in the workplace. Most of the boards of directors of all the companies were men. All of the executives, to be sure, were. All the politicians were men. And so on, and so on, and so on.... A women executive, no way. The men would say "they don't have the skills." I would argue "how can we get the skills if you never give us a chance?"

My grandmother and great, great Aunt lived in some amazing times for women. They would be astonished at the accomplishments of women today. That said, however, we still have not had a female President, the number of females in Congress is still far too little and one of the only two females on the Supreme Court has just retired.

The women in my Grandmothers and great, great Aunts day had to fight for their rights and fight for the right to vote. We've come a long way, baby (how true). Yet, we've still got a long way to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment