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May-June SinceJill Ker Conway has been fascinating readers, especially women, with the compelling story of her journey from sheep ranchers' daughter in the wilds of Australia to president of one of this country's foremost liberal-arts institutions, Smith College.
The Road from Coorain was a lyrical, at times magical, presentation of how this "born risk-taker" tore herself from a beloved but enervating family to pursue a dream of adventure through scholarship.
Conway, as president, with a Smith College student inpart of a then "rarely experienced relationship of woman leader and idealistic young followers.
The end of A Woman's Education is almost startling in its bold and unsentimental explanation of how she has conceived these three books of autobiography. In the last chapter, "Sostenuto," she outlines the tripartite agenda she drew up for her postpresidential years that could be the envy of other powerful people retiring from public life.
A clear theme runs through that agenda: After Smith, Conway spent one-third of her time in helping to manage organizations corporations, now, as well as familiar nonprofits like hospitals and schools. Her growing appreciation of technology led her to spend another third as a scholar at MIT, exploring the connections among science, technology, and society.
There, she challenged the "ecofeminism" she has grown to distrust for its view of women as "earth mothers" who must protect the planet from the disruptions of male-directed industry and environmental disregard. The third part of the agenda nourished her artistic side.
She decided to explore and record her own story--perhaps, she intimates here, less for self-understanding than as a "counter-record" to certain feminist approaches that worry her. As this volume makes clear, Conway questions feminism that emphasizes women's difference from men, especially their presumed softer side that might lead institutions in new ways.
Seniors salute the president with roses on Ivy Day, one of the occasions when Conway felt the sheer energy of being among Smith women. Photograph courtesy of Smith College Archives On reading this determined declaration, I initially felt some of the warmth recede from my previous assessments of Conway's books.
Never romantic, these volumes nonetheless inspire as Conway explores the difficulties of life, love, work, and career. However, on reflection, I began to understand that she wants readers--both those who share her stage of life and younger ones looking for a model--to see feminism and leadership with clarity and independent thinking.
Conway's particular approach to feminism values freedom of choice for women on personal, professional, and intellectual fronts.
She will offer readers one carefully examined story of how a talented woman pursued life's challenges. She draws us in immediately with the engaging story of how she unwittingly auditioned for the job. Invited with her husband, John, to spend a weekend at the always vibrant Berkshire home of their friends Archibald and Ada MacLeish, Conway wondered why every question in their normally eclectic conversation turned to women's education.
She also noticed that every guest at the MacLeish table stopped speaking and focused on her answers. Only at the end of the weekend did Conway realize that all the other guests were Smith-connected--members of an informal team quietly recruiting a replacement for the college's retiring president.
When an invitation for an actual interview arrived six months later, Conway was prepared, yet she notes that she accepted the overture mostly to please her husband. But citing only that part of her decision makes Conway seem disingenuous.
How could a woman so committed to feminism and her own managerial strengths pretend that only her husband's encouragement prompted this exciting move?
To think this, however, would miss a vital strand in Conway's story: In her second volume, Conway explored her growing love with John, how he nurtured her intellectually and personally.
Thus, saying that she accepted Smith's invitation "to please him" never diminishes her own agency. Rather, it reveals and honors their tradition of joint consideration of how this opportunity--like various others--might satisfy her needs, ambitions, and skills.
The decision was mutual, with her best interests at the fore.Woolf’s ‘The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn’ (), for instance, set out ‘an agenda for rewriting history by including the details of daily life, in particular those of domestic life, which means writing the excluded history of women’ (Scott, , ).
Get this from a library! Writing a woman's life. [Carolyn G Heilbrun] -- Drawing on the experience of celebrated women, from George Sand and Virginia Woolf to Dorothy Sayers and Adrienne Rich, the author examines the struggle these writers undertook when their drives made.
Writing a Woman’s Life was published in and is a short book – only pages. Her themes include ‘”unwomanly” ambition, marriage, friendship with women and love for women, aging, female childhood’.
Writing a Woman's Life by Carolyn G.
Heilbrun ratings, average rating, 69 reviews Writing a Woman's Life Quotes (showing of 5) “We women have lived too much with closure: "If he notices me, if I marry him, if I get into college, if I get this work accepted, if I get this job" -- there always seems to loom the possibility of something .
Reading books is the best way of self-development and learning many interesting things. Today, paper books are not as popular as a couple of decades ago due to the emergence of electronic books (ebooks). Scribd is the world's largest social reading and publishing site.5/5(3).