National Geographic : 2019 Nov
and broadcast platforms exploring the lives of women and the massive changes under way for girls and women around the globe. You can see the shift begin with one grainy picture from the archive, on the previous page. It captures crowds surrounding a Washington, D.C., parade of women seeking the right to vote—which they got when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in August 1920. Our coverage through 2020 will celebrate the centenary of that victory. And of course, that was just a start. This issue documents how women around the world are rising up to demand civil, personal, and professional rights. It’s happening through the #MeToo and equal-pay movements rippling through workplaces from Hollywood to soccer fields. It’s happening among women governing in Rwanda, insisting on safety in India, and being finally acknowledged as groundbreaking pioneers in their fields. In addition, throughout this issue you’ll find interviews and portraits of accom- plished women. They are scientists and self-described social justice warriors; attorneys, philanthropists, writers, athletes; a doctor fresh from a war zone, and a seasoned war correspondent. Four of the women are ranked in the top 30 in Forbes magazine’s 2018 list of powerful women. We put the same questions to all these impressive, insightful women, and we’re delighted to share excerpts from our conversations. Every one of them espoused this belief: that women who follow their convictions can overcome almost any- thing. “Never take no for an answer,” said broadcaster Christiane Amanpour. Or as American soccer star Alex Morgan put it: “Don’t be discouraged in your journey.” “Journey” is the right word for reflecting on the story of women. I was a news- paper editor in 1992 when my publication and many others proclaimed it the Year of the Woman. Why then? That was the year we saw the largest number of women voted into the U.S. House in a single election—24, of 435 total members— and the greatest number of women ever in the Senate: six members out of 100. As naive as it seems now, this was hailed as a harbinger of real change. So when there’s yet another assertion that women’s status is rising, skepticism might be forgiven. But this time, to me, it feels different. It is different. I’m the 10th editor of National Geographic since its founding and the first woman to hold this job—an appointment that once would have been unthinkable. Wher- ever you look, women are reaching higher positions: in business, the sciences, the law. And they’re being seen and heard on their own terms, as speed-of-light communications and social media allow them to make an end run around patriarchal systems that once stifled them. Today the numbers really do tell a story of change. The sheer volume of elected women has vastly increased in developed and developing nations around the globe. You can see a snapshot of that change in this issue’s exclusive maps and graphics, on page 74. Throughout this yearlong project, we’ll share heartening examples of how women have gained rights, protections, and opportunities during the past century. We’re bound to also come across cases where women have experienced the opposite: rights denied, opportunities withheld, vulnerabilities exploited, contributions ignored. In more than 130 years of covering the cultures of the world, we’ve witnessed how inequality can become invisibility, until the oppressed hardly can be seen or heard at all. At this anniversary, we aim to bring more women’s lives into the light—and more women’s voices into the conversation. Thank you for reading National Geographic. j October 1959: The first woman on the cover was Eda Zahl, shown gathering sea urchins. September 1964, a U.S. woman at work abroad: Peace Corps volunteer Rhoda Brooks. Pioneering primatologist Jane Goodall and her chimps were on the December 1965 cover. January 2017: Avery Jackson, age nine, was the first trans- gender female on the cover. March 2018: Astronaut Peggy Whitson holds the U.S. record for days spent in space (665). NOVEMBER 2019 Past issues show how the magazine’s representation of women evolved.