March on, to an upbeat

March on, to an upbeat

We’re running a story this week about three girls (and a boy) who have entered a prestigious science contest, and it triggered an assortment of thoughts and memories.

In 1956, I was a sophomore at Passaic High School, and we were called to an assembly – an all-school gathering where we got to hear special speakers.

The speaker that day was a paleoanthropologist, a scientist who studied human fossils to uncover the origin(s) of mankind (that’s what we called it then, as if women had nothing to do with it). I was enchanted by the talk and about the possibility of finding an answer to so great a question. I literally ran home and told my parents, “I’m going to be a paleoanthropologist!” Whereupon my father said: “You can’t. You’re a girl.”

Women don’t face such closed minds and avenues anymore – at least not overtly. Today’s girls are encouraged to explore their own possibilities – and even “to go,” as the old Star Trek lead-in had it, “where no MAN [my emphasis] has gone before.”

March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate women’s lives and continuing achievements.