WHAT A CENTURY FOR WOMEN. In countries around the world, women
have overturned several millennia's worth of second-class citizenship
to participate at nearly all levels of society. We have won the
right to vote, own property, make our own decisions about sexual
orientation, marriage, motherhood, and custody of our children.
Should we choose to marry, we can keep our own names and legal
identities. We can pursue higher education, have our own credit,
earn and control our own money. We have access to most jobs,
are rapidly establishing our own businesses, and are being elected
to political office in ever increasing numbers. We have established
our right to sexual pleasure and reproductive freedom.
We tend to think of this century as one of enormous technological
leaps a woman born in 1900 who is still alive today has
seen the world go from the horse and buggy to spaceships in her
lifetime. But in that same space of time, many women have also
gone from being virtual chattel to having a voice and making
decisions about their lives.
In the following pages, you'll meet a dozen women whose lives
encompass the last 100 years of change. We also offer a list
of some of the discoveries, inventions, and firsts by women-a
compendium of the great and quirky things we've done that too
many of the history books still fail to include. We have a time
capsule that commemorates the innovations and ordinary objects
that impacted women's lives in the twentieth century. Then we
hear the voices of women themselves, telling us what it was like
to live through the major events of these years. Their stories
will take you from the early days of labor organizing, to the
exhilarating first national women's conference, to the joyous
year when a woman took command of the space shuttle and women's
soccer commanded the world's attention. And finally we ask, what
Here's to a century of women.
And the future we dream of.
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