Friday, June 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton's candidacy is a big deal



     In September 1952, Elizabeth Michalicka, 23, left her job as a secretary for Commonwealth Edison. She had been there for six years and liked her work, but she was getting married to John Mocek, and married women were not welcome.
     "You couldn't work there," she recalled. ComEd didn't fire her; they didn't have to. She was just expected to leave — and did.
   Times change. On Tuesday, Mocek, now 87, watched television late into the night, holding hands with her daughter BettyAnn Mocek as Hillary Clinton announced that she is the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States, the first woman to run for the White House representing a major political party.
     "I think it's wonderful," said the elder Mocek. "Finally this country has come to their senses a little and seen that maybe a woman could run this country."
     I met the pair because the younger Mocek phoned the newspaper the next day, aghast that Sen. Mark Kirk retracting his endorsement of Donald Trump was splashed across the front page Wednesday while Clinton's triumph was relegated to the inside pages....


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Postscript

And in case the opening vignette is not chilling enough, reader Nancy Perkovich shared this: 

     I worked as a stenographer in the Stock Transfer Dept. of Commonwealth Edison Co. from 1959 to 1962. I was impacted by 2 of their rules as follows: When I got married in 1961, I had to change my name from Nancy L. Parr to Nancy P. Perkovich. When I entered my 5th month of pregnancy in 1962, I had to bring a note from my doctor attesting to that fact, which was submitted to the Dean of Women's Affairs, at which time my employment was terminated.

8 comments:

  1. That is somewhat similar to young African-Americans taking the Civil Rights movement for granted.

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  2. Some considerable years ago a prescient James Thurber observed that "Woman is everywhere gaining ground. Man is falling behind. The dog seems to be holding its own."

    And he wrote that women are wiser than men because they know less and understand more. That equasion seems less apparent as more ladies have climbed the educational, corporate and every other kind of ladder.

    Tom Evans

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    1. Tom: I adore Thurber, but be careful about using him as any kind of a standard for judging or understanding women. When it came to women, as well as minorities, Thurber was not exactly, shall we say, enlightened.

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    2. He was a man of his time. And he did once say "a woman's place is in the wrong."

      But he publicly conceded that his wife was usually right when she suggested changes in things he wrote. Something Hemmingway would never do.

      TE

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  3. Few were enlightened in those days.

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  4. Great column.

    This is a special moment in history. But it is a moment in history that will be diminished and dirtied up by Trump and his GOP enablers.

    Hillary has been demonized by the GOP for so long that the easily led assume there is something sinister about her. Conservatives are dreadful at governing, but they understand the power of memes.

    Now we will have to deal with the spectacle of Trump, a man whose entire empire is based on insults, bullying and demonization, trying to win by eviscerating Hillary Clinton.

    At a moment in time when we should be counting our blessings as a nation for having the wisdom to consider a female president, we are about to get down in the gutter with a misogynist, racist, bullying, scoundrel. Heaven help us.

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  5. Trollope in one of his later travel books goes to great length in enumerating the advantages to women of the chivalry of his day, lamenting that as women acquire rights and powers that such advantages are bound to dwindle away. However, looking back on how unfairly Jane Byrne was treated from day one of her mayoralty, chivalry does not so much dwindle away as become anti-chivalry once women have or grasp at power. Instead of holding the door open for women, men slam it in their faces, instead of laying their coat in the mud for a woman to walk over, they push the woman into the street and grind her face in the dirt, the fond courtesies of old turn into the foul curses of today. I hope Hillary is ready for 8 years of irrational and unrelenting hostility from the erstwhile "gentlemen" of our day.

    john

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  6. Succesful women seem vulnerable to hits even from their own kind. Elizabeth Montague one of the first feminists and a founder of the Blue Stocking Society, wrote in 1750: "I'm sorry to say that the generality of women who have excelled in wit and education have failed in chastity."

    TE

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