BOSTON (Aug. 26, 2020) – In a virtual event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Doris Kearns Goodwin spoke to Liberty Mutual Insurance employees about the perspective, lessons, and hope we can find in history.
“Let me open by saying that the most important lesson history provides is that we as a people have been through really tough times before: the early days of the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, and we came through even stronger,” said Goodwin. “And we know what the people at the time did not know. We know the end of their story—that the Revolution was won, and America became a nation; we know that the Civil War would end with the Union restored, slavery eradicated, and the 13th Amendment soon passed. We know that the Great Depression ended with the mobilization for the war and that the Allies won WWII. But they, like us today, lived with great anxiety until the stories ended.”
In the fireside chat with Liberty Mutual’s Executive Vice President and Chief Talent and Enterprise Services Officer Melanie Foley and Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer Dawn Frazier-Bohnert, Goodwin offered advice for women aspiring to leadership roles and shared her thoughts on what is needed to take the evolution of the women’s movement to the next level of equality – in pay, in the executive suite, in politics, and in sports.
To illustrate the often-unrecognized impact history has on events today, Goodwin outlined how World War II served as the catalyst for the 1970s women’s liberation movement and the 2018 surge in women entering politics. Emphasizing her point, she reminded attendees that similar criticisms leveled against working mothers today were raised at end of World War II, when women who entered the workforce and played a key role in America’s victory were told to remain in the home and raise their children. As history shows, some of those women chose to stay in the workforce and still successfully raised families.
“History provides perspective, it provides lessons, it gives us hope,” said Goodwin. “But what it also shows us, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women that precious right to vote, is that we cannot be bystanders if we are to protect our democracy and pursue greater equality and justice for all.”