I have been around long enough to see the world transition to and from and back again with regard to freedom and equality for women. The pendulum always seems to be swinging. In the US, lately, it seems to be swinging in circles. Women are hitting new heights in achievements, yet laws are being considered that would restrict them from making the most important decisions about their own health.
I am fortunate in that I have been granted many more opportunities than a lot of women and live in a household that fully supports me in all of my endeavors. That has not always been the case. I have lost jobs to men, I have been assaulted, I have been condemned because of my intellect, my beliefs, and my “audacity” to interlope into a world I didn’t “belong”. And today, I am glad to say, I hold a position of respect in a field still dominated mostly by men.
So, thinking back, I want to express my gratitude to several people who helped this happen, probably not knowing at the time that they were doing so. The first couple are actually men. Taking a chance, a professor of neurophysiology at a medical school, offered me a research assistantship, bucking some pretty significant standards at the time. He taught me how to hard-wire equipment, collect and analyze data using computers (very primitive at the time), and edit scientific articles. Because of him and what he taught me, I garnered a research assistantship at the university, where I furthered my capabilities, using, heaven help us, a DEC PDP-10. I also gained a reputation as a pretty good ghost writer (which, by the way, paid a whole lot better than the assistantship), writing and editing articles for publication in highly respected journals. (I actually got my name attached to one of them.)
Because of this, and my early forays into computers and programming (remember Fortran, Cobol, RPG, and APL) I was offered a position with a contractor as an Executive Assistant to one of the Vice Presidents, a woman. As those of you in the IT industry may realize, SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) sometimes have communication skills limited to technology. It was during a conference with a potential, and much needed, customer that I saw a disconnect. They took a risk and let me step up, explaining what we were offering in terms the customer could understand and appreciate. We got the contract and my career was born.
I have spent many years availing my expertise to highly technical fields, expanding communications across enterprises. I have also raised a family and published five novels (soon to be six).
I am blessed to have been encouraged and promoted by valiant men and women who were more interested in progress than “norms”. It is to those men and women that I pay tribute–and to the women determined to step forward and offer their capabilities to the world. May every day be International Women’s Day!