Three years ago, my Norwegian grandmother Bernice turned 100 years old. Leading up to her birthday, I spent a number of evenings interviewing her, and asking questions about her childhood and about growing up on a Wisconsin farm before there was electricity and phones and cars. But what struck me most was her answer to my question, “how do you feel like the world has most changed in your life?”
“I have one granddaughter who is a doctor,” she told me, referring to my sister, “and another who is a successful business woman” (my cousin from Chicago), “and, a third who is in graduate school to become a psychiatrist.” She then added the context to those comments: “When I was born, women could not even vote.”
More than the invention of the automobile, or indoor plumbing, or telephones, or television, or moon landings, or the internet, what my grandmother noted in her 100 years was the opportunities and equality that women achieved during her lifetime. It was a humbling observation.
And, a lot has changed even in the nearly 20 years since the Source first started publishing its “women’s issue,” and also nominating a “woman of the year” (like, for example, the Bend Chamber of Commerce also started naming a “woman of the year” this year as well!).
We are pleased to examine some of the struggles that women still face, but also are very pleased to announce Dr. Shirley Metcalf, the new president of COCC, as our woman of the year—and, with her appointment that she brings the total to 10 out of 17 of community colleges in Oregon led by women.