Girl power: Women in high places becoming the norm


Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A few weeks ago, I spent the weekend in Caribou Hills with a friend and her family. We happened to get up there in time to watch part of the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race. It was dark and we could barely make out the mushers and their dogs as we watched from our parked snowmachines.

As one of the first few sleds passed by, I was enthralled to hear a womans voice come from the back of one of the sleds. Like many other sports, sled dog racing has become just as much a woman’s sport as it is a man’s.

That brief realization led me to dive a little deeper into the ever-changing idea of what it is to be a woman. I think that the biggest thing that my generation of women takes for granted are the everyday rights and opportunities that we enjoy.

Imagine you are sitting on a plane, getting ready to go on a nice tropical vacation away from the treacherous Alaskan winter. The intercom dings, indicating that the pilot is about to make an announcement. Do you expect to hear a man or a woman’s voice? These days, while the majority of pilots are not women, a second glance up at the intercom is all it would have likely been given had the voice been that of a woman. A few decades ago, that would not have been the case.

The same stands true for police officers. When you get pulled over, do you breathe easier when you see it is a woman walking toward your vehicle? For years, boys were directed to careers as pilots, doctors, carpenters, and presidents while girls were to become stewardesses, nurses, housekeepers, and the president’s wife. Girls were not just nudged toward the more feminine careers and expectations, they were pushed.

Thankfully, women started to push back.

In the 2008 presidential elections, there are two names that could justifiably show up on the ballots — Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton. Whether they actually will or not is not the point. The fact that they could do so and rightfully deserve their place in the running is a huge advancement for women.

There have been strong, powerful women throughout history and women today that continue to demand a brighter future for all young women. More and more women are rising to the occasion and taking charge. Thanks to the advances that some very driven women have made before us, doors that were once closed and nailed shut are now lying in shattered pieces on the ground.

I am proud to live in a time where race, gender, and religion are now qualities of character instead of hindrances to advancement. The days of men running the business and political worlds are past. The people in charge are no longer commonly the ones wearing the pants — these days, they are wearing heels.

“When I grow up, I want to be president of the United States,” is no longer a cute but far-fetched dream coming from a fourth-grade girl. It is a reality.

This column is the opinion of Whitney Brown, a senior at Kenai Central High School and a Jump Start student attending Kenai Peninsula College.

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