1. Section Editor(s): McCarter-Spaulding, Deborah PhD, RN

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Like the wizened old sage, I am fond of telling my students that I remember when lab results first came to be reported on computers. They look at me incredulously and ask wide-eyed, "How did you get them before?" and are amazed to hear that lab technicians recorded the results on paper. It sounds like I graduated in the Dark Ages, but it was only 33 years ago. I became an RN before gloves were standard equipment in all patient care areas and before the licensure examination was computerized. During my maternity rotation, I learned to give enemas and shave the perineum of women prior to birth. Nearly everyone delivering vaginally had an episiotomy. The rate of women in the United States ever breastfeeding their infant was less than 50%. Spirited discussion and debate raged about a new way to address women, which didn't identify them by their marital status-the advent of the common usage of the title "Ms."


This isn't just nostalgia: think about how much progress has been made in the status of women in this country, including in women's health. I remember with gratitude those who have worked to make that so and to celebrate their accomplishments. Much has changed since I had my first taste of feminist thought attending a women's college in the 1970s, the same era as the Boston Women's Health Collective published the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves (now in its ninth edition). I often feel the need to recount some of this history to my students so they can appreciate more fully the efforts that allow them the advantages their generation enjoys.


But now is not the time to stop our efforts to make certain that all women have access to what they need to live healthy, safe, and productive lives. I recently had the opportunity to look up from my focus on clinical care and teaching and be part of an interdisciplinary group of authors working on a book about breastfeeding and feminism. Our discussions at the annual Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposiums had led us all along different paths converging in the writing of the book, Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities, soon to be published by Rutgers University Press. Our discussions, however, extended far beyond breastfeeding. Being a part of this team refueled my latent feminist thinking, moving me beyond the need to get a newborn latched on to a mother's breast or preparing a student to answer maternity questions on the NCLEX-RN. I realized with much greater clarity how many forces are still at work against women. Gender discrimination and inequality are still painfully evident in policies, programs, and research. It reminded me about how many women still do not enjoy the advantages I have as a white, professional woman with a job and health insurance. Much more still needs to be done.


It is good to rest, celebrate, and recount the strides already made. Nurses too often do not take the rest that is essential. But with such rest, I hope we can renew our resolve to persevere until everyone can be a part of the success. We cannot stop our work until all women can celebrate progress, including those marginalized and vulnerable due not only to gender, but racial, economic, or any other inequality.


As nursing professionals, we can have an impact at the bedside; in the classroom; in healthcare environments; in the community; and in local, national, and international arenas-wherever our gifts and lives may take us. We can be agents of change. Let's use our power and positions to improve the lives and health of the many women (as well as men and children) that need our help. We can create the history of how discrimination and inequality were deprived of their power and tell those stories to the next generation!