The sky is now her limit

Check out this gem of a postcard from 1920, entitled: The sky is now her limit.Drawing of a milkmaid standing at the bottom of a ladder with titles of professions on each rung. At the top: presidency.

The detail I wish was true: that we had achieved wage equality before women gained political appointments. What is true:  The ratio of female notaries to males is 3 to 1 in some states.

Rungs of a ladder with professions and milestones listed including wage equality and political appointments.

And yes, if you can’t read it, the top rung is “Presidency.”

Source of the image: Library of Congress via Katie Casey on Twitter.

Source of the data on the notary public gender ratio (because, me being me, I looked it up): The Feminization of the Office of Notary Public: From Femme Covert to Notaire Covert  (PDF)

4 thoughts on “The sky is now her limit

  1. Hi Susannah, enjoyed very much deciphering what the lady had to climb to get to notary public..and don’t be surprised, notary public is now a woman’s domain in many countries. thanks for sharing and for checking the details!

  2. So many thoughts – your xylophone bumps mine, with some interesting collisions.:-)

    First, my own work lately has been focusing on another ladder – Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation, first published in 1969 – and its parallels with healthcare’s often muddled (but earnest) thinking about “patient engagement.” Feast a few moments on this page, and substitute “patient” etc for “citizen” etc. Example: how many early PFACs (pt & family engagement councils) have experienced this Arnstein line, quoted there?

    There is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process.

    Separately, image-googling your ladder led to this cartoon of a woman singing the anti-suffrage tune from the National Women’s History Museum; it resonates with some of our recent US campaign news.

    Finally, featuring both the election theme and your ladder, remember the anti-suffrage flyer from 1912, which I blogged four years ago today: in the same way many docs say “My patients aren’t asking for records access,” the flyer said to vote no on suffrage because 90% of women weren’t asking for it.

    Running things requires many kinds of competence about how things are. Leadership requires seeing could be possible, for the greater good.

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