Memories

…in the corner of my mind. Shoobidoo.

The first novel I ever remember reading is a book which has deeply influenced me and my entire life. It was neither the first book I read nor do I have any memories of any details of the story or how old I was when I read it. But I remember the experience of reading it and I still think it is one of the best books I ever read. The book is called ‘Die Ärztin Dorothea Christiana‘ by Werner Quednau and it’s from 1960.

Quednau tells the story of Dorothea Christiane Erxleben, the first German woman ever admitted to university to study medicine. When she was born in 1715, women were considered as physically and mentally unable to learn subjects related to science such as medicine. She only made it to med school because her father supported her in every way possible and encouraged her to follow her passion no matter what that meant for her value as a potential wife or status in society. And it meant nothing good for women back in the 18th century to be considered too smart.

The book opened my eyes for three things: 

  1. Equal rights for men and women are not naturally available. We must fight for our rights and we must be aware of the ludicrous justifications people give for not granting certain groups of people equal rights.
  2. What we consider normal is not necessarily the ‘real’ normal. Values and perspectives change over time. When today I hear people lament about how modern we are and how unenlightened e.g. the Middle East is when it comes to equal rights, I always laugh. When I was born, women in Germany were still not allowed to work as employees without their husband’s permission. Of course, meanwhile that has changed. But who knows what men and women in 100 years will think about our ‘modern’ world where we pay typically female jobs massively worse than traditionally male jobs?
  3. You can’t make it on your own. You need someone who supports you. Who believes in you, shares his/her knowledge with you, opens one or another door for you or has your back when things don’t work out.

I sold the book on ebay a few years ago, maybe I should rebuy it. The one on Amazon might even be my own copy 🙂

Wonders

Natalie

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