More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Pennsylvania Women

By Kate Hertzog | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

I can't imagine living in a world where I would be considered inferior in any way because I'm a woman. Although sexism still exists, American culture promotes the equality of women and men as a fact. There are laws against discrimination on the basis of sex and against sexual harassment, and women are now encouraged to speak up for themselves.

But there was a time in America when women were widely viewed as second-class citizens, and it wasn't that long ago. The nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was adopted on August 26, 1920—less than one hundred years ago. All the women you'll read about in this book were born at least a decade before that historic date, and some were born more than a century before it. Many had to overcome obstacles that were in their paths only because of their gender, and all had to live in a world where it was widely felt women were not as capable as men in many aspects of life.

Often this bias led to women's accomplishments being mitigated when men wrote the history of their day, and no doubt many remarkable deeds by women were never recorded. Luckily, diaries and correspondence written by women have been able to fill in many of the gaps in the history books, and today more and more women's stories are coming to light.

This book shines a sliver of light on fifteen of the many women of Pennsylvania who deserve to be called remarkable. Pennsylvania's rich history, dating from 1681, provided a plethora of women whose stories made including only fifteen difficult. The women whose lives

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