In 1992, the Women page was born. The women at The Spokesman-Review who created the page decided from the beginning that no male-bashing would be allowed. Five years ago, male bashing was at its peak. Sexual harassment was big, and the newspaper sent me to a daylong conference on the topic in Seattle.
After the conference, I felt depressed. Women and men will never be easy co-workers, I thought.
I’m happy to say I was wrong. It’s 1997, and we’ve all come a long way. We hope you’ve seen some of those changes in gender relations, and in our society, reflected on this page. Almost three years ago, we changed the name of the page to Women & Men to better reflect the “end” of the gender wars and the search for common ground. This column’s name was changed from Women’s Room to Common Ground at that time.
Now, we’re preparing for some more changes. The name of the page will remain the same, but this column - shared by Dan Webster and me - will be laid to rest. In its place, Susan English will select bits and pieces of topics of interest to women from publications as diverse as Utne Reader, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Ebony, and from local women’s groups. The column will be called Consider This.
After a long and satisfying run, Jennifer James will also take a rest. In her place, you’ll see a “Real Time” column every week. Kathleen Corkery Spencer will continue to write her column under this new title, and she will be joined by Kathleen Gilligan, our Lifestyles & Trends editor. Also rotating through that spot will be other women staffers, talking to readers about their experiences in “real time.”
For the past seven months, we have been asking women what they want in their newspaper. We heard over and over again that they want to read about women struggling with real-life issues - aging children, aging parents, aging selves. They want to laugh more and read more about women’s joy at living in the ‘90s, a time of choices and freedoms never experienced before. All of that will be reflected in Real Time.
So this is good-bye, but not farewell. I will continue my women’s work at the newspaper through the women’s project, through editorial writing and through public speaking. I am thankful for all the women I “met” through this column, women who shared pieces of their lives and hearts.
I truly believe that there has never been a better time to be a woman, and I will end with a wonderful saying by Nelson Mandela.
“You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”