Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Woman's Work is Never Done

Women have always worked hard. Initially, it was in the home where they did everything from cooking over a fire to washing clothes by hand in a tub of water. Then it was in the workforce in jobs that they were “allowed” to take such as school teachers (but only until they married), secretaries, and nurses all while continuing to manage their households.

In my career I was able to work myself up to executive positions, and I will always be thankful for the women who went before me to pave the way for that opportunity-women who went against the grain of social mores and pushed their way into jobs formerly reserved for men.

In the early days of newspaper reporting, women were generally relegated to writing “soft” news – society events, fashion, and home arts such as cooking and child rearing. But there were a few women who successfully made their way into the ranks of investigative reporters – some whose names are familiar such as Ida Tarbell and Nellie Bly, and others who are not as well known such as Mary Heaton Vorse who was active in social justice causes.

During World War II, there were more than 1,600 U.S. journalists permitted to wear the armband emblazoned with a “C” (for War Correspondent). Of that number only one hundred and twenty seven women secured official military accreditation from the War Department. Despite having accreditation they continued to fight stereotypes, red tape, disdain, hostility, discrimination, and lewdness, often derisively called “paper dolls” by their male counterparts. Forbidden to enter combat zones, many of the women hitched rides with locals or stowed away on boats or planes to get to where the action was, and they all had multiple hair-raising stories to share about their experiences.

For example:

Life magazine's Margaret Bourke-White was the only foreign photojournalist in Moscow when the Germans invaded Russia. She took pictures of flares, searchlights and anti-aircraft tracers over the Kremlin from her hotel balcony.

Former White House correspondent Lee Carson of the International News Service worked so close to the front that she inadvertently captured six German soldiers.

Martha Gellhorn, one of a group of American women journalists referred to as the D-Day Dames, smuggled herself onto a hospital ship to get to Normandy, locked herself into a toilet and became the first woman to report on the invasion.

These pioneers in journalism join a long line of exceptional women through the ages. Have you known a remarkable woman who inspired you along the way?


  1. Strong, brave women certain made their mark in our history. Thank you for sharing this interesting post.

    I have had some teachers in my life that certainly made an impact.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. It's nice to hear you say that teachers have made an impact in your life. I think teachers are unsung heroes!

  2. I've heard that Margaret Bourke-White also flew in a bomber. She was hard to keep down.

    1. I've heard that as well. I saw a photo of her hanging off the side of a building to get a picture - yikes!

  3. Such an interesting post, Linda. I enjoy reading about women trail-blazers. I personally think there were a lot of them who were never given credit. Women writers of the past have inspired me, like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott.

  4. Interesting post! Such brave women. One journalist today that I admire is Martha Raddatz for ABC News, always going where the action is no matter the danger.