This morning a column was sent to me, reminding me that long time journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Ellen Goodman was hanging it up.  As we all turn our sights to the new year and the prospects it might bring, it’s worth the time to think about what and who has come before us.

Via GazetteXtra.com

“BOSTON — It is one of those moments when I feel like a time traveler. I look out the airplane window and watch a young woman on the tarmac directing our jet to its gate. As she waves the signals, I fall into a silent, familiar reverie: “I remember when.”

What I remember, of course, is a time when no woman would have been hired for this “man’s job.” What I remember is when my generation opened the door for hers. If I talked to her about the old days, I wonder, would she listen as politely as if I were talking about walking four miles in the snow to school?

I am time traveling these days because on Jan. 1 I’ll be ending my tenure as a syndicated columnist. While my colleagues are busily sizing up the decade with lists—Twitter in; Tiger out—I’m quietly sizing up the last four decades.

Cleaning up the office, I found a clipping from 1969 when, as a young reporter, I was sent to cover this brand new phenomenon called the women’s movement. The next Sunday, I picked up the paper and was stunned to find a one-word banner headline over my byline: WOMEN.

The editor’s note explained: “Today’s Sunday Globe attempts to fathom this phenomenon of the female revolution.”

My own story said that “a female revolution is sweeping the land, in some cases subtle and unspoken, in others dramatic and defiant.” This brazen decision—on the day after the Manson killings no less—to lead The Boston Globe with WOMEN jeopardized the editor’s career but redirected my own. Ever since then, from my perch as an observer, I’ve tracked this story—WOMEN—more consistently than anything else.

How to sum up the time and distance we’ve traveled? Advance and backlash? Forward march and stall-out?

Today, half the law students and medical students are female. But only 15 of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. We had the first serious woman candidate run for president—and lose. We had a mother of five, a governor and a Title IX baby run for vice president—as a conservative.

The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated because people were scared into believing that women could end up in combat. Now nearly a quarter-million women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 120 have died, 650 have been wounded. But still no ERA. (more…)

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