from the director
Ali P. Crown
Some of my favorite New Yorker cartoons come from a special “women’s issue” published in 1996. In one of them, a couple is pictured sitting face to face and holding hands in a restaurant. She is saying to him, “You only want my happiness, Douglas. I want wealth, power, fame, and happiness.” Right on!
This year, as I reflect on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Women’s History Month and the eighty-fifth anniversary of our enfranchisement, I can’t help but wonder how much wealth, power, fame, and happiness we’ve achieved. To be sure, we’ve moved from consciousness-raising gatherings to working the courts, from changing the way language works to writing feminist theory. But even as more women have been written back into history, a scant few have made their way into positions of influence and power in boardrooms or ivory towers. We may have narrowed the wage gap a little bit between the sexes, but the poorest among us are still women and children. Women still bear most of the family care responsibilities. Our reproductive rights never have been more fragile. Sexual slavery, forced child labor, female genital mutilation, and the slaughtering of baby girls continue to be heinous realities in many parts of the universe.
In other words, we’ve come a long way, baby, but there’s plenty more to do. We must continue to monitor the progress of women. We need to make sure that women are not only making policy but that they also are not living and dying in poverty, that children aren’t going hungry. We must demand equal rights for gay couples. We should be compelled not only to protest against the carnage of war but also to raise our voices about the destruction of the environment. We need to organize, march, make phone calls, write letters, run for office, and vote. Indeed, even as we honor the legacy of our foremothers, it is our imperative to develop a new generation of revolutionary women.
Here at Emory, our theme for the twenty-fifth anniversary year of Women’s History Month is “Daring to Do Things Differently.” Approximately twenty programs will speak to the creation of a just and nonviolent world. Perhaps no one today has more provocative commentary about that subject than our keynote speaker, Dr. Julianne Malveaux. And in this issue of our award-winning newsletter, we’re celebrating—along with our contributors—their matriarchs, our heroines, and other women who choose to do things differently. May you discover courage for your own digressions inside these pages.