The Amazing Journey of American Women

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Bloom-600I finally got around to reading Gail Collins’s, When Everything Changed;  The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to Present

Ms. Collins is one of my favorite writers – she’s droll, intelligent and can make a very sharp point without getting bloody.  As Slate noted in the review last year, the book “fills a major gap on the big shelf of books about modern feminism. Crammed with works for specialists, scholars, activists, and enthusiasts, that shelf has lacked, up until now, one book that captures the sweep of the whole story for the general reader.”

It’s also a fun read and a good reality check for all of us. The narrative moves right along – with real-life examples and humorous asides.  Therewas a time – not so long ago – when women would get sent home to change if they had the audacity to wear pants…when want ads were separated into “jobs for women” and “jobs for men”…and stewardesses were expected to act as geishas on all-male flights.

GleeWe’ve made progress but long-term change takes – um – a long time. American women are still way down the list of countries when it comes to pretty much any survey of women’s equality.

We’re still typically the assumed (and unpaid) care-giver to family and aged parents.

We’re still paid less in many cases for the same work.

We still aren’t accorded the same level of coverage in health care. (Viagra? Sure, it’s covered!  Mammograms and pre-natal care? Nuh-uh.)

We still end up being the half-undressed sexual objects clinging to our fully clothed male co-stars on magazine covers.  (Sure, in the larger scheme of things, no big.  The Glee actresses made the choice…but…really?)

But enough already.  I”m not whining. Really.  This started out as a reading recommendation. I’ve been very fortunate in my life and career – paid equally for equal work, never been turned down for credit because of my sex, and I wear pants wherever and whenever I want.  (I do, however, remember those segregated want ads as well job interviews where I was asked if I planned on getting pregnant or had ever had an abortion.)

If you’re not already a fan of Ms. Collins, you should check out her weekly columns and her blog posts, such as her online discussion re Mama Grizzlies with Stacy Schiff, the author of the new bio “Cleopatra: A Life.” (which is on my reading list.)

Guest Post By Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

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