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Don't Forget, We've Come A Long Way

Remembering how far we've come as women and how recently we gained relative equality. The obstacles we face are small by comparison. Here is part of an obituary of my daughter-in-law's grandmother:

She was born Caroline Phillip on Sept. 27, 1914, in Lexington, N.C. According to a biography written by Portlander Adair Law, her father encouraged her to pursue law, and she became the first woman president of a freshman law class at Duke.

That first year, Law writes, she edged out both her future husband and another yet-to-be-famous classmate, Richard M. Nixon, in academic rankings.

She passed the North Carolina bar exam and practiced with her father in Lexington. Engaged to Thomas Stoel, she joined him in Portland in a year. When she arrived, son Thomas Jr. said, they went straight from Union Station to a Methodist church on the eastside to get married -- for propriety's sake.

Her husband's firm didn't hire women, yet viewed her working for any other private firm in the area as a conflict of interest. She became a secretary, then a stay-at-home mother. After raising four children, she earned a master's in history from Portland State University. She taught at PSU until she was 86, her son said.

She was the co-author of "Magna Carta: Liberty Under the Law" and wrote the first chapter of "The First Duty: A History of the U.S. District Court of Oregon."

"She was always disappointed she didn't get to be a lawyer. Even later in life, she would grimace a little when it came up," Thomas Jr. said. "But she didn't let her failure to practice overshadow her life. She lived a very fulfilled life." ...