“A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself,
I must first of all say: ‘I am a woman’; on this truth must
be based all future discussion.”—Simone de Beauvoir, 1949
It’s the Year of Women at Emory. At least, some of us have named it that.
Here at the Center for Women, it’s the start of the second half of our second decade. We’re celebrating our fifteenth year in solidarity with the President’s Commission on the Status of Women—as they mark their thirtieth year—and Women’s Studies—as they observe their twentieth. We’re celebrating our history. We’re reflecting on where we are today. And we’re looking at tomorrow.
As I reflect on all our anniversaries and accomplishments at Emory, I can’t help but think about the 150 years of activism in this country in pursuit of women’s rights. Modern feminism has been around for about forty years. And so has the National Organization for Women. Ms. Magazine is thirty-five years old. The spring 2007 issue declares on its cover: “1,024 Things to Do with a Women’s Studies Degree.” The accompanying article quotes three Emory alumnae and one of our current doctoral students.
It was no surprise to me then that when our esteemed editorial board met to plan this first issue of our fifteenth year that we con sidered all the activism in behalf of women at Emory in the past thirty years. What sparked all that organizing and rabble-rousing? A recurring theme struck us: feminism.
How much of what our faculty, staff, and students are presently advocating for is still rooted in the "F word"? Has it become more mainstream? Or is it still fraught with conflict? As you will see on these pages, there are no simple or straightforward answers. One thing does seem pretty clear to me in reading the features in this issue. The fight for equality is not enough. Why equality matters is what’s most important.