Frances Oldham Kelsey: Nevertheless, She Persisted

March 17, 2017

Eight years ago, when I was touring New Zealand, I walked into a travel agency and was greeted politely by the middle-aged receptionist. With her short, flipper-like arms, the woman pointed me towards a desk containing the touring pamphlets I had requested. The receptionist, as my Kiwi friend told me later, was “a thalidomide baby.”…

Read More

Headaches, Heartburn, and Women’s Health

January 20, 2017

In the 1950s and ’60s, when I was growing up, few women worked outside the home. In my high-school class, I had just one girlfriend whose mother was in the workforce. Today, by contrast, nearly half the U.S. labor force (47 percent) is female. The percentage of women in the workforce has about doubled in…

Read More

Lobbying for Climate Change Solutions

December 16, 2016

With a little more than two weeks left in the year, 2016 remains on track to be the hottest in our 136 years of modern data-keeping, according to NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We heard the same thing in 2015, and 2014, and 2013, and so on. Each successive year has been warmer…

Read More

A Message Straight from the Heart

November 18, 2016

We recently observed national Domestic Violence Month, and, for a change, The Palmetto State received some (relatively) good news: We are no longer the deadliest state in the country for women murdered by men. South Carolina is now #5, behind Alaska, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma, according to a report released three weeks ago by the…

Read More

When Someone Shows You Who They Are

October 21, 2016

Political analysts tell us next month’s presidential election will be decided by the women of America. This is fitting because if she is elected on November 8, Hillary Clinton will become the nation’s first female president. With little more than two weeks remaining until this excruciatingly awful campaign ends, women— particularly suburban and college-educated white…

Read More

Sexual Harassment Redux

September 16, 2016

A quarter of a century seems like a long time. And yet, 25 years after the famous Anita Hill hearings that electrified the nation, the scourge of sexual harassment is with us still. Witness the recent, high-profile lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson against Fox News founder Roger Ailes, alleging longtime, brazen sexual harassment. The difference…

Read More

Women (and Men and Kids) Tip the Scales

July 15, 2016

If you like to watch old movies on cable TV or Netflix, you’ll probably notice how thin most of the actors are. Not painfully thin, just normally thin—the way most people in America used to be until the 1980s. Fast forward to television shows and films today, where overweight actors are fairly common. There is…

Read More

The Joy of Reading

April 15, 2016

A month or two ago, a video made the rounds on social media showing a little girl sobbing her heart out when she learned from her grandmother that Barack Obama wouldn’t be president much longer. He has been in the Oval Office since the first-grader, whose name is Kameria Crayten, was born. She has known…

Read More

Misogyny and Sexism: Coming right up!

January 15, 2016

If Hillary Clinton receives the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2016, brace yourself for misogyny and sexism galore. For ambitious women, it has ever been thus. As the writer Jessica Valenti puts it, “For as long as women have wanted to have a voice in our political process, there have been men looking to…

Read More

Friends forever

April 17, 2015

Our long-distance friendship began in the late 1950s when we were both schoolgirls in the elementary grades. Names and addresses of potential “pen pals” had been passed around my classroom, and I chose a girl named Penny Power from Wanganui, New Zealand. That South Pacific island nation was far, far away from my home in…

Read More