This is in response to David Brooks’ recent column on why women may lack confidence despite academic success.
I am a 1971 graduate of Smith college and a lawyer who was second in my law school class (first was also a woman). Academic success was no problem.
As to real-world success, an anecdote is telling. I am a docent at a historic adobe home, and I was reading about it. The land belonged to the Salazar family through a Spanish land grant. The Salazar daughter married Pierre Dallidet, who planted a vineyard there and was granted title to the ranch after California became a state.
Now the interesting part: even though the land was from her family and she bore Pierre nine children there, the California state historic plaque does not mention the wife. It simply states: “Home of Pierre Dallidet.” I saw how wrong that was. Then I came home and noticed that my own house has a local historic marker with a similar sexist error. I have lived through the feminist revolution, and yet have been blind to these plaques consigning the women to anonymity.
It is important to change these historical markers, so others may remember the women who shared the historic homes and made a life there with these men named on the plaques.