We’ve come a long way.
The Bluffton magazine mailed last week takes a look at the Shriver Report through a Bluffton lens, telling the stories of Bluffton alumnae from various eras.
It’s odd to think that it wasn’t that long ago that women were encouraged to receive training to work outside the home – but only if they wanted to be a teacher or nurse. That notion is so foreign to our current reality that it seems like it should be studied in history books, not heard in stories told by our mothers and grandmothers.
Among the goals listed for the Bluffton women’s study minor is “to work toward the goal of a just and equitable world.” While women have come a long way, sometimes it feels like we have a long way to go.
I remember talking with Dad after learning that women were often paid less than men even when doing the exact same job. I was in junior high and this concept was totally unbelievable to me, “That’s so not fair.” To which Dad replied, “Why sure it is. Men work to support their families. Women work for extra spending money.” I remember thinking then, as now, that is so wrong.
But then this is the same man who instilled the belief in me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Like the time I found a leak in the waterline to the livestock. When I reported the problem to him, his response? “So fix it.” He told me what to do. I did it. And, to my knowledge, he didn’t go check my work. What an amazing life lesson.
That was in the era when women worked outside the home, but still felt solely responsible for all homemaking chores. Super Moms they were called.
Luckily we, men and women, have continued to change. I look at my son’s generation and am amazed. The guys cook, clean, are involved with child-raising (or in my son’s case - dog-raising.)
So, yes, we’ve come a long way, women. There are so many opportunities now open to us. We owe a debt of gratitude to the women who paved the way for us to enter what was previously considered “male” professions – medicine, politics, business…
But, we’ve also come a long way as a society. Let us continue to treat each other with respect, with kindness, with fairness and work together toward “a just and equitable world” for all.