The Increasing Stature of Women
Amendment number 19 of our Constitution was ratified in 1920. It said that no citizen shall be denied the right to vote by the United States or any state on account of sex. Now after 200 years plus in this new country women were allowed to remove aprons, leave the kitchens and go out to vote. In my readings I have not detected any great action or movement based upon this amendment. In fact, most women stayed as housewives. Born in 1924 I saw women in the thirties in the form of five sisters. All were born prior to 1920 and all finished high school in the thirties. They sought education that would lead to careers. The opportunities seem to be limited to teaching, nursing or secretarial work. My oldest sister went to a teaching college and became a teacher in the Indian service. Three sisters went to large cities such as Atlanta and Dallas and became registered nurses. One sister stayed home and did office work. Between 1949 and 1974 I worked for two large corporations. At that time there were no women in top jobs such as treasury, comptroller, attorney, etc. At the field level with divisions there were management posts such as buyer, credit manager, sales manager, operations manager, accountant, etc. I can recall only one lady who was an accountant. Many times I went to a convention which was the largest in the drug industry with over 2000 attending. Every top executive was there. Again, I do not remember one single woman in a top executive role. The political world also provided little opportunity to women. An exception was Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. She was the only woman to serve in both houses of Congress, and also had a run for Republican candidate for President. She lost to Goldwater. Here come the Eighties! What happened? Was it the computer world or was it Women’s Lib? Women rose!! They began to go to college en masse. They entered the political world with wins in Congress. They became doctors and lawyers and became titans in the world of business. Today, more women than men go to college. Already one-third of all attorneys and doctors are women. Both houses of Congress are increasingly staffed with women. Top corporations such as Yahoo, IBM, General Motors, etc. have women as CEOs. Will there soon be a lady President??