Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I Have Decided to Help the Brave Women Pioneers

They say that women pioneers inspire women and girls to succeed, but they help men and boys too. It is men who have most of the powerful jobs and it is often men who decide whether to hire a woman VP, CEO, astronaut, etc. Will men use that power for good by hiring a qualified woman or will they continue the patriarchal system by not hiring available qualified women? Female pioneers help men see that women can do the job and once men see that women are capable, they’re more likely to hire women for those jobs. For example, John McCain saw that Gov. Sarah Palin was a great governor who had improved the economy, improved ethics in government, and strengthened our national security by promoting energy independence through drilling and the gas pipeline, so he hired her which greatly benefited women and girls as well as our country.

Kathryn Cullen-Du Pont asked pioneering U.S. astronaut Eileen Collins, “You’ve carried women’s history memorabilia into space. Can you tell me a bit about this and your appreciation of the women who’ve gone before you?”

Collins replied, “Women flew and it wasn’t something that was expected out of women. …Bobbie Trout is a famous aviator from years ago—I flew her pilot’s license on my first flight [into space]…”

After listing memorabilia she flew through space to honor flying women Collins stated, “They made a contribution, all these women did really great jobs, and you know, one barrier after another has fallen as the decades have gone by, and the reason that the barriers have come down is because the system, which is primarily male, would look up and say, “Hey, these women can really do the job, so why would we restrict them.” So I always make it a point to acknowledge the women who flew before me, and were in the military before me, because their contributions have allowed my generation to have the opportunities that we have, and if they had not done the things that they did, I don’t think women would have these opportunities today."

That is why women pioneers are so important. We need their example to convince people to hire us. When you help a woman pioneer you are helping all 3 billion women and girls. They need our support because women and girls are the most oppressed group in the world in terms of numbers and degree of harm inflicted on us by sexism. So they need us and we need them.

Unfortunately, historians, journalists, media, etc. sometimes distort women pioneers' accomplishments, to make it seem they did less. We must see past that curtain they place before our eyes. The first step is to recognize a pioneer. The second step is to help her. And the third step is to enjoy women’s progress!

There are numerous ways we enjoy women’s progress. For example, when Germans voted for Angela Merkel as their first Chancellor they reaped the rewards of a better economy. When the Olympics allowed women to compete, girls became more proud of their country and prouder of being girls. When George Hitchings hired Gertrude Elion at Burroughs-Wellcome pharmaceutical company she invented life-improving and life-saving drugs for men and women. It would be so much better if women had equality with men because we would be a richer society society in the full sense of the word, happier, more peaceful. To be all that we can be as a nation women must have equal power as men. That’s why I help the brave women pioneers.