Thank you Kathleen Stone for joining me on the Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast.
To begin with, Kathleen has an impressive background. She studied art history at Oberlin College. The daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a lawyer father, she went to law school as the feminist movement surged into a second wave. Her JD is from Boston University School of Law and she has an MFA from Bennington College. After many years of practicing law and writing countless legal briefs, she turned to other sorts of writing.
Kathleen is a founder and co-host of Booklab, a literary salon in Boston. Since 2013, Booklab has been inviting authors into a private living room to read and discuss their works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
They Called Us Girls.
How women build fulfilling lives is a question Kathleen has been thinking about since she was a girl.
They Called Us Girls is a collective biography of seven women who aspired to professional jobs in the mid-twentieth century. It was an era when women were expected to find fulfillment at home, in the mold of television’s June Cleaver. But these women broke the mold, defying expectations to succeed in jobs reserved almost exclusively for men.
Kathleen interviewed seven women, all born before 1935, about their ambition. Where did it come from and how did it play out? They talked about early experiences and influences: parents, family friends, teachers, even institutions like settlement houses. The seven women’s careers include; 2 doctors, a lawyer, an artist, a physicist, executive director, and intelligence officer.
Some had professors who encouraged them; others were told no woman belonged in the field. In some cases, spouses gave invaluable support; others none at all. Many found strong mentors in the workplace. They Called Us Girls is a fascinating and inspirational book about female ambition and unorthodox paths toward fulfillment. It’s essential reading for women and girls today. Lastly, the introduction is available as a free download to anyone who signs up for her newsletter.
“They Called Us Girls grew out of my personal passion to understand why women of an older generation bucked convention to find fulfilling work. Theirs was an era when women were expected to stay home, but they wanted careers where they could use the full range of their talents. No single thing explained their ambition. Instead, my conversations with diverse women showed that unique combinations of family, education, values, and historic events were their foundation.”
What inspired these women, and what can they teach women and girls today?
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