They Called Us Girls
Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

They Called Us Girls is a collective biography of seven women who aspired to professional jobs in the mid-twentieth century. It was an era when women were expected to find fulfillment at home, in the mold of television’s June Cleaver. But these women broke the mold, defying expectations to succeed in jobs reserved almost exclusively for men – as doctor, lawyer, artist, physicist, executive director and intelligence officer.

Kathleen interviewed the women, all born before 1935, about their ambition — where it came from and how it played out. They talked about early experiences and influences: parents, family friends, teachers, even institutions like settlement houses. Some had professors who encouraged them; others were told no woman belonged in the field. Some spouses gave invaluable support; others none at all. Many found strong mentors in the workplace. Whatever the individual circumstances, they followed unorthodox paths toward fulfillment.   

How women build fulfilling lives is a question Kathleen has been thinking about since she was a girl. The daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a lawyer father, she went to law school as the feminist movement surged into a second wave.

They Called Us Girls will be published by Cynren Press in March 2022. You can pre-order directly from Cynren Press here. 

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