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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Busch

Continuity and Change

Wow... obviously 2020 didn't go exactly to plan for any of us. With that in mind, I'm writing this post to reflect on the highs and lows of 2020 and set my intentions for myself and for Woman's Place Podcast for 2021.

As 2020 began, I had a clear vision of what I expected to do with Woman's Place Podcast. I wanted to post regular episodes on topics related to women's history and women's rights. However, as COVID took hold, my life certainly took a different trajectory. My year encompassed changes in my career, a new educational journey, a new day-to-day, and a new perspective. There is so much we can learn from 2020, but most of all resilience.

I had planned to publish a LOT of episodes in 2020, and when it came down to it, I struggled to find the time. However, I'm setting a clear intention for 2021 to be less of a perfectionist and share more. I aim to delve into more topics this year, maybe have more guests, and enjoy creating a new discourse of women's history.

When I look at my own journey, a few groups of people played the largest roles in helping me become the woman I am today. Of course, my family has supported me, encouraged me to work hard, and modeled the way for me to emulate that incredible work ethic. However, I want to highlight a few institutions that have shaped me in so many other ways.


Growing up, my mom was my Girl Scout leader. To be honest, as a girl, troop meetings and outings were hard for me. I was (and in many ways still am) a no-nonsense kind of person. That didn't exactly make me the most popular. However, it did teach me how to effect change and generate buy-in, valuable skills that would serve me later on. I was always a goal-setter and over-achiever. I wanted to accomplish things above all else. Other girls wanted to make friends and have fun. I learned how to navigate a diverse world by learning to navigate that troop of

young girls.

When I got to high school, I was very involved in my church. I had a small group of women that helped me navigate my teenage years with advice and support from a grown woman to help us blossom into women. Additionally, serving others with those women helped open my eyes to the struggles of those less fortunate and to find my own strength and voice in a world that might not have cared what I had to say.

Later on, in college, I pledged the same sorority my mom had 30 years prior. Sororities, and Greek life in general, aren't always honored for the many ways they've helped shape countless individuals, institutions, corporations, teams, and even nations. As exclusive organizations, they're under scrutiny right now because of the important diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts taking place around our country and the world. I think it's important to remember that sororities began because women were excluded from men's organizations as a group to support, encourage, and strengthen an underserved community (even among those who were fortunate enough to get an elite education).

Women's organizations were central to the evolution of women's role in society, solidifying woman's place in the public sphere, outside the home. Surprisingly, in the 1990s and 2000s, as I was growing into a woman, it was the same kinds of organizations that helped me find my place. History, as a field, frequently looks at patterns of continuity and change to help make sense of the remembered past. Studying women's organizations, their strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and the women who made them possible is a great way to understand the continuity of the path women have taken to get to a more equitable world and to recognize the change that has been made.

In the coming weeks, we'll devote time to explore a few types of women's organizations, missions and aids societies, sororities, Girl Scouts, temperance unions, suffrage associations, all the way to the National Organization for Women. These institutions have crafted woman's place and supported the development of female voices, talent, strength, leadership, and influence. I hope you'll join me for this adventure in the coming weeks!

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