Catching up some today with my Writing 101 Challenge!
It was to be about the most interesting person I’ve met this year. No one came to mind for that time frame, but I immediately thought of my continuing fascination in recent years, and very much in recent months with the “new woman,” the appearance on the daily scene of women in places and at levels of society we’ve never been before.
Not too long ago we were very much confined to home, not that that’s a bad place to be, but even the best place can seem dim when given little choice in the matter, or if one has to fight hard for it.
Recalling the one interview I had with my appointed university advisor when it was time to choose a major, I’d chosen a subject I knew little about simply because it sounded fascinating. The bemused professor in this midwestern city asked why he should approve this request when we all knew I was only going to get married and have kids! I was unprepared for his reaction but not nearly as much as when I found myself the only girl in all those economics classes. Hindsight has shown me though my choice wasn’t all that rare, I’d just made it in the wrong place.
My how things have changed.
Almost everyday I’m introduced to a new female face in areas not even heard of even ten or twenty years ago, in science and technology, as well as the arts and literature. We’re running countries as well as companies, universities, and hospitals; constructing skyscrapers as well has saving the world’s children, breaking swimming records in dangerous bodies of water, or sailing around the world in them. We’re pursuing our passions along with our causes, to heal the world as well as bruised shins.
What cannot we do? Ask Laura Dekker, an intrepid if I’ve ever seen one:
We are poets as well as athletes, financial czars, artists, chefs, construction workers, mountain climbers, and drivers of 18-wheelers. We are brave and funny, inspiring and super resourceful, witty, and wise as we’ve always been, but now the world not only knows it, but benefits from it in larger ways, and now paying us better for it. Many of us are out-earning most men on the planet in some instances! Maria Sharapova has been listed among the top twenty-five highest paid athletes in the world, the sole woman, earning over twenty million a year. My grandmother couldn’t have spelled that figure!
One woman it was fun to stumble across just in the past week is Susan Credle. Who knew the creative genius behind one of my favorite commercials, the anthropomorphized M&M’s was a woman?
She worked her way up from college-grad, coat-check girl to Creative Director of a leading Chicago ad agency today. Reminiscent of Justice Sandra O’Connor who decades before worked unpaid after graduating near the top of her law school class. Who knew she was headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Whatever it takes.
As a younger woman trying to break down big and little doors, it seemed all-consuming with little time for frivolities and often difficult to connect with my more traditional women friends who didn’t understand why I would “educate myself out of a husband.” I suspect today there’d be much more to talk about.
Of course though the landscape has change, I’m very aware of the way we’ve still to go, but what an achievement not yet a hundred years since we first won the right to vote? Now a woman may be poised for the top leadership job here in the U.S., to bring us up to the status of other countries around the globe where women have held that post for some time now. Perhaps we’ll achieve it in time for the 2020 anniversary of the 19th Amendment!
What an age this is!