Tag Archives: Greta Thunberg

My Girls, Our Girls, and the Women Before Us

By Martina Kohl

“It is my hon­or to be here, to stand on the shoul­ders of those who came before,” Kamala Har­ris, the first female, the first black, the first Asian Amer­i­can Vice-Pres­i­dent of the U.S.A. proud­ly said in her first address to the nation on inau­gu­ra­tion day. Her tone is opti­mistic, her goals are ambi­tious, and her ener­gy seems unlimited.

It is true, we all are stand­ing on the shoul­ders of those who came before, all the women who pre­pared the way for our progress, our achieve­ments. And there has been quite a bit of progress as Car­ol Dyhouse, a social his­to­ri­an at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sus­sex, describes in her new book, Love Lives: From Cin­derel­la to Frozen. The title is a bit mis­lead­ing. Though myths, fairy tales, and pop­u­lar cul­ture tropes still influ­ence us, Dyhouse out­lines how women in the west­ern world have aban­doned the restric­tions of domes­tic life since the 1950s and grad­u­al­ly, though often painful­ly, have claimed access to edu­ca­tion and the pro­fes­sion­al world. A long path it has been to self-deter­mi­na­tion and eco­nom­ic independence.

But even now the ques­tion remains: Have we made enough progress? Because I do wor­ry about “my girls” these days, as Michelle Oba­ma describes them. I wor­ry about “my boys,” too, but this is a blog post to remind our­selves of Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day and Women’s His­to­ry Month. Both encour­age us to reflect on those who came before, but also on those to whom we pass the baton, whose legs we steady on our shoulders.

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