“I think if I had been male, I wouldn’t have been pushing these anthropomorphic ideas. I was told I shouldn’t have given the chimps names, that it is more scientific to number them, and that you shouldn’t talk about their personalities, their minds, or their feelings because those are attributes of our own species. Fortunately, I was able to think back to the wonderful teacher I had as a child who taught me that animals do have personalities, minds, and feelings, and that was my dog Rusty. I had the courage of my convictions, and learned how to write in such a way as not to be open to intense criticism from my peers. In fact, I think my gender helped me. When I began, feminism wasn’t really a concept. Going out into the field as a woman, there wasn’t that urgency most young men felt back then to be the breadwinner. I wasn’t interested in academia. I didn’t want tenure in a university. I wanted to get my PhD because that was the only way I’d get my own [research] money. In Africa, it was a benefit to be a woman because, in 1961, with their newly acquired independence, the Tanzanians were not very at ease with white males, because white males had lorded over them in the colonies. But they didn’t perceive me as a [threat]. When I first wanted to go to Africa, everybody laughed at me: We didn’t have any money, World War II was raging and Africa was “the Dark Continent,” but most importantly I was a girl. “Jane, get real: Girls don’t do this kind of thing, living with animals in the forest.” But my mother was a very strong woman, and she used to say, “If you really want something and you work hard, take advantage of opportunity and never give up, you will find a way.” That’s the message I’ve taken to children, particularly girls, all around the world.”
Jane Goodall - GreenGlobalTravel interview.
Jane Goodall has been one of my long-time heroes for several reasons, this being one of them.
We often hear about the heart warming stories of courage and fortitude that grip the world, but what about those stories that are less known? That are hidden, just beneath the surface? These inspiring stories are just as important; let us therefore celebrate them appropriately.
Page 1 of 1