We've come a long way baby
News editor presents portraits of journalists who overcame gender and geography
Marion County Record news editor Sheila Kelley addressed Marion Kiwanis about women in journalism at their weekly meeting Nov. 7.
“When I was growing up, women had four jobs — teaching, nursing, cleaning, and although illegal, prostitution,” she said.
The topic was pulled from Kelley’s 1997 journalism thesis, where she interviewed 10 female western Nebraska journalists, while attending the University of Nebraska.
Of those 10, their ages ranged from 45 to 90. Only seven had college degrees, with just three in journalism.
One of the biggest differences between the interview subjects and an area like Marion was the distance between residents.
“You have a lot of people scattered all over,” she said. “You can hardly go very far and you see somebody else’s house. In that part of Nebraska, you can go 50 miles before you see anybody else.”
It was especially difficult because some of the women did not drive.
Despite the long tenure of the journalists, they experienced very little sexism, Kelley said.
Those women rose above challenges like geographical isolation and a lack of female coworkers, she said.
“We benefit from those pioneer women,” Kelley said. “We have an obligation, all journalists, all people, not to whine or complain, but to demonstrate perseverance, fortitude, resilience, and hard work.”
Kiwanis is planning its Christmas luncheon for Dec. 12 during normal meeting hours. The date will be determined by availability of a dining room, possibly the basement of Marion Community Building.
Last modified Nov. 15, 2018