It's Good to be a Woman

It's Good to Be a Woman tells the stories of a group of women who came out of Bryn Mawr College determined to have lives of their own, to find meaningful work, to make a difference. Follow these stubborn, can-do optimists as they navigate the turbulence of the sixties and early seventies, confront crisis (divorce, sickness, getting fired), and build lives and careers, charting new territory for women in the professions.

USA Book News selected It's Good To Be a Woman as a Finalist for Best Book Awards 2007

Look Inside It's Good to be a Woman
Read Introduction | View Pictures | Read Blurbs

Pictures from It's Good to be a Woman

Meet the women featured in It's Good To Be a Woman. Anne White took all the current photos, except where noted. Old photos are from the Class of '62 Yearbook and from personal collections.

The pictures page will be refreshed every month or so. When you come back to visit you will meet other women from the book.

Mimi Armstrong

"I should have been a civil engineer. As a profession,
engineering had all the things I needed--changing venues,
different kinds of challenges, spurts of energetic physical work."

l-r Mimi's mother, Mimi, Mimi's stepfather
"We were living with the vines, right in the middle of the vineyard."
Susan Johnson

"There were definite signs that Sue was probably a lesbian, but who even thought about it? It amazes me now that it didn't even occur to us."

"You discover that there are all these people
who love you, who don't want you to die,
who want to help you."

Bryn Mawr had a kind of old-school feminism,
"like what your mother does, telling you that you're terrific."
Mary Beebe

The monumental book, engraved with a passage from Milton's Paradise Lost, is part of a snake path by Los Angeles artist, Alexis Smith, part of what she calls her paradise series, so it's the serpent of knowledge. "It's important that the work stir up conversation."

Mary Beebe in quarry with Tim Hawkinson "Bear" boulder.
"When an artist has a grand idea, I feel you have to go with it."

Priscilla (Perkins) Grew

At the University of Nebraska State Museum, the state's natural history museum, where she is the Director. "I really sympathize with people who haven't finished a degree, or things like that. There are so many points at which I could have dropped out or given up."

Priscilla was featured in an article in the Lincoln Journal Star, entitled It’s good to be Priscilla Grew:

"Growing up in the ’40s and ’50s, Priscilla Grew would get sick at the thought of a speech. She was that shy.

One Sunday night, at a youth group at her San Antonio church, she had to get in front of everyone and role-play with a boy about how to act on a date.

She laughs.

“But I had never had a single date in high school the whole time. It was horrible.”

Read entire article text.

What they are saying:
"Alison Baker's engaging book about the lives of women from the class of '62 at her alma mater, Bryn Mawr, captures well the naivete of intelligent, highly educated young women about to unwittingly live through, and in some cases occasion, revolutionary changes in their own lives and in those of their generation and those that followed. The individual stories make clear that these were exciting times, but the gains for women didn't happen without considerable heartache for some and the need for many to learn to act courageously in asserting their individuality both on the home front and in the work place. In most cases these very able women have led productive, generous, and finally, very satisfying lives. Their humor and their resilience, as well as their many successes are well detailed. This is a good book for women who graduated from college and university in the last twenty years to read--much that is available for them was of course hard won by others, who actually, it is clear in this very readable book, rather enjoyed the challenge."
— Mary Patterson McPherson, President Emeritus Bryn Mawr College
"With a genius for listening and asking, Alison Baker recorded the back stories of coup-plotting, bomb-planting women revolutionaries in Morocco. Now Voices of Resistance Baker has collected the stories of some other revolutionaries--her Bryn Mawr classmates. The explosions are muffled and closer in, but the impact for change is equally profound. I thought I knew some of these women; I didn't know them at all. Parallel lives."
— Alan Armstrong, Haverford College, class of '61
 "The immediacy, spontaneity, and openness of these oral history interviews are a testimony to the intelligence and empathy with which Alison Baker has 'listened' to the stories. Oral history is a dynamic and interactive process and the author has used the possibilities of the genre to bring us unforgettable narratives of courage and perseverance."

— Mahnaz Afkhami, Director, Sisterhood Is Global Institute and editor of Faith and Freedom: Women's Rights in the Muslim World.

Click to read full introduction

Copyright Alison Baker 2007-2018