Isabel Benham was the first woman to become a partner at a Wall Street bond firm, but it wasn't easy. When she graduated from Bryn Mawr with a degree in economics in 1931, a dean at the school gave her some advice on how to get a job in the financial industry: Learn to type. Others were more dismissive. "Go home to mother, join the Junior League, get married and live happily ever after," she recalled them saying.
I was talking to a friend the other day about opportunities for women in today's America. We were heaping praise on all those we knew of in politics, diplomacy, industry, entertainment, sports and space who are making their mark on the world stage and beyond. Bunny girls were not included.
Fifty years ago this month, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan was published. Even the husband she divorced conceded that Betty "almost single-handedly changed the course of human history. It took a driven, super-aggressive, egocentric, almost lunatic dynamo to rock the world the way she did."
Since 1975, every March 8, International Women's Day celebrates the invaluable contributions that women offer to economic growth, securing peace and social progress worldwide. The challenge this year is to "invest in rural women. Eliminate discrimination against them in law and in practice. Ensure that policies respond to their needs. Give them equal access to resources. Provide rural women with a role in decision-making," the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says.
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