Nancy Fairbank

How have the generations of women in your family changed, from one generation to the next?

When my mother entered her freshman year of college, the first class of women ever allowed to attend that university had just graduated. This fact still seems incredible to me, that it was just one generation ago that women were prevented from pursuing higher education. My mom then entered the field of orthopedic surgery, which was (and still is) extremely male dominated.

I worry about the rights of women in the world today. While I would like to think that we are continuing on a progressive path towards equality, I fear that we have muddled into stagnation – or even regression – in many areas. But one significant change is that, thanks to women like my mother, women in my generation have role models in our career fields to look up to and aspire towards.

In this way, it’s not so much that the women in my family have changed significantly from one generation to the next – but it’s that those who came before me have helped pioneer new paths for women, expanding opportunity for all of us.

The pictures show my parents and a more recent one of me with my mother.

Nancy Fairbank is a postgraduate studying Global Governance and Diplomacy at Trinity College.

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