Paula Goldman *01
organized an online forum for women from around the world
to discuss common challenges they face. (Adrianne Koteen)
- Paula Goldman *01 Motivating
women to speak out
By the time she earned her master’s degree in public affairs
from the Woodrow Wilson School, Paula Goldman *01 had been all over
the world, working on conflict resolution, human rights, and community-building
programs. During her travels, Goldman, now 32, had noticed that
although women of her generation enjoyed levels of education and
career advancement unknown to their mothers, they still had struggles,
like how to balance career and family. But she didn’t hear
them talking about their challenges the way women of the previous
generation had. Goldman decided it was “time to start a new
Goldman teamed up with the San Francisco-based International Museum
of Women to tell the story of the “most educated, most well-traveled,
most professionally empowered ... generation of women.” She
contacted women’s and community groups around the world and
asked them to solicit writings and artwork from women in their 20s
and 30s, answering the question: “What defines your generation?”
More than 3,000 women from 105 countries submitted essays, photos,
paintings, and poetry. A Canadian woman of Indian and Pakistani
descent sent pictures she took on a pilgrimage to Mecca to express
her struggle to find her identity. The project, called “Imagining
Ourselves,” released a coffee-table anthology of the submissions
last year titled Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation
of Women. An exhibit (http://imaginingourselves.imow.org) went up
on the Internet. And exhibits showcasing the submissions have taken
place at galleries and conferences in more than 30 countries.
The Web-based exhibit also hosts forums where the conversation
Goldman sought is now taking place. Women from more than 100 countries
discuss everything from relationships with men and the impact of
a woman’s appearance on her identity to how the enormity of
opportunities women face can be overwhelming.
Goldman, who studied at Princeton how art and culture can be a
gateway for engagement on public policy issues, hopes the exhibit,
Web site, and book will encourage women to become active in their
communities. After the Web site hosted a discussion about the health
complications that women in some countries experience after giving
birth, visitors clicked through to maternal health organizations
and donated money and signed up for mailing lists.
Goldman, who joined the staff of the International Museum of Women
after starting “Imagining Ourselves,” lives in London
and also is working on a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard.
She will continue to curate new material through the end of 2007
for the online exhibit, which will stay up indefinitely.
By E.B. Boyd ’89
E.B. Boyd ’89 is a freelance writer in San Francisco.