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The March of Women

by Janice Hecht

Jan 29, 2020

Bear with me. I’m going to ramble a bit.

February is synonymous with love and romance, with Valentine’s Day the highlight holiday, representing a bright, warm spot for many. Still, it’s February, and it’s cold and snowy here in the Northeast. So I tackle indoor projects, like working on our family tree and going through boxes of old black-and-white photos.

My mom and dad became engaged on Valentine’s Day in 1942, just before he went off to fight in World War II. My dad passed almost seven years ago, at the age of 99. My mom is now 99, and so I’m going through all the family photos kept in boxes over the years, making sure I know who’s who and trying to get all the family stories straight while she’s still around. The walls of her den, decorated with framed family photos of previous generations, bear witness to a long line of strong women and men who emigrated to this country in the 1800s, became citizens and strove for success in a new land. I have always been fascinated by the women in these photos, women I never knew but who nonetheless influenced my life through their own persistence. It gives me pause as I reflect on my mother’s long life and make connections to these stalwart women of generations past, who bore many children, nursed the sick, joined the armed services, became widowed at a young age, and endured dangerous diseases and the untimely deaths of loved ones.

My mom was born in 1920, a few months after women were granted the right to vote. As my mom celebrates her 100th year, the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In a round-about way, this brings me to the February issue of Global Traveler, our first-ever Women’s Issue. The issue celebrates the accomplishments of women in travel — notable women who achieved leadership roles at airports and hotels around the world — as well as articles about girlfriends’ getaways and the rise of the female solo traveler. (I first traveled solo at age 20 when I took a side trip from a European backpacking tour with friends to head to Hamburg, the birthplace of my great-grandmother Ottillie).

In the Stateside: Nashville article, Holly Riddle recounts the pivotal role of Nashville and Tennessee in the national ratification of the 19th Amendment: Tennessee was the final state to ratify the amendment, with the deciding vote cast in Nashville. Visitors can view a year-long exhibit on the historic vote at the Tennessee State Museum.

February, by the way, also marks the 16th anniversary of Global Traveler. I’m proud to have worked with so many remarkable women (and men) over the past 12 years of my tenure as senior editor.

And I can’t help but reflect that here we are in 2020, with so many women serving in Congress and multiple women candidates finally running for President of the United States. It’s taken a long, long march of women to arrive at this point.

— Jan Hecht, senior editor


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