The history of women taking on professional jobs besides teaching has always fascinated me. When I was a little girl, I loved the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the U.S. Later, I grew even more interested in the struggles women faced in becoming attorneys.
Some states and territories opened the way for lady lawyers as early as the late 1860s. Most, however, did not. In fact, as late as the 1890s, the Supreme Court said that women were too emotional to face the stresses of the courtroom. Truly? Women could bear the stresses of settling the West, bearing, children and raising the next generation, but were emotionally unfit for a courtroom?
Out of my indignation a hundred years later, I decided to write a story with my heroine as a lady lawyer in the 1890s and the struggles facing her, from having to move to a different state, to being accepted as a professional, to how to manage her relationships, career and spiritual convictions.
The spiritual convictions might be the most difficult challenge Lucinda faces. Lady lawyers wanted justice, but sometimes what is right and what is allowed under law or professional ethics do not match as well as the attorney would like. This struggle has not changed, even if the world has, and nearly as many women as men graduate from law school.
God has given each of us special gifts, from raising godly children and loving our husbands, to delivering those babies or finding new ways to find healing for the sick. Because of women who fought for the right to train and work as nurses, then doctors, lawyers, then judges, not to neglect the dozens of other occupations women fill every day, we have far more freedom to serve God at home and abroad.
Laurie Alice Eakes is the award-winning author of more than 20 books. She enjoys the privilege of writing full-time from her home in Texas, where sh creates stories of women seeking their calling in life. Besides writing, Alice is married to an attorney, and is owned by two spoiled cats.