Living Life: About the Project

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Living Life: Stories of Women, Men and Changing Roles in the 20th Century
A new book and website on gender equity in education
Developed by Education Development Center, Inc., and funded by the Ford Foundation

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About This Project

Working with a wide range of individuals around the country, our aim is to capture the history and impact of gender equity. We want to record the voices and experiences of the pioneers who, taking the lessons of earlier women's struggles to heart and drawing from the civil rights movement, built the foundation for the gains women and men have made over the last 30 years. We will hear about their early introduction to gender equity and of the sometimes-difficult path they followed into this then uncharted territory. We will learn the ways in which gender equity impacted them personally, how they view equity issues for younger men and women, and what they hope for the future. We also want to hear from younger men and women—how they define gender and its relationship to race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and other factors that comprise one's identity. As we gather reports and interviews, we will examine the evolution of a deeper, richer, more inclusive perspective that supports the well-being of all.

Numerous authors have written about the early efforts of women and men to gain rights for women, the role of women in the industrial revolution, and their lives in the early history of this country. The history and excitement of the suffragists is a part of almost every school curriculum, and the "first wave" of feminism is an integral and recognized part of our education and work story.

With funding from the Ford Foundation, we hope to capture the next wave of women's rights—the story that began to be visible in the 1950s, that paralleled (and connected to) the civil rights movement, and that re-emerged in a series of new laws that supported women's educational, economic, and social development. Through the stories and voices of a wide range of women and men, we will provide a positive perspective on the gender equity movement in education and give readers a sense of what this means for "ordinary" citizens. This work complements those efforts by building public understanding and support for gender equity—by highlighting the experiences and emotions in a voice that sounds like the person next door.

The project has two components: a web-based archive that will contain information, interviews, and other materials and can serve as a site for exploration and dialogue; and a published book that integrates interviews, materials, and historical overviews. We will continue to build this website throughout the project, and we invite you to contribute to it and to our interviews.