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Taking the Kids: Celebrating women when you travel this spring

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Women have always known what matters most when you are traveling — good food, a comfortable place to sleep and practical advice.

That’s certainly been true at America’s national parks. Jennie Foster Curry and her husband ran a tent camp at the base of Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. She carried on after his death, growing Curry Village from 25 tents to 650 tents, 60 cottages, a bakery, cafeteria, pool hall and more by 1922.

The award-winning Mariposa Museum and History Center is a great place to learn about pioneer women's contributions to the region. Stop in when visiting the region and Yosemite National Park.

Yes, we are at the tail end of Women’s History Month. But as you plan your spring and summer trips, consider noting women’s contributions wherever and however you travel. Consider it a teaching moment for your kids.

Women’s contributions and women’s history can be found at every national park, whenever you visit, from the lives of young, immigrant women who worked the textile mills at Lowell National Historic Park to those of the female shipyard workers who were essential to the home front during World War II at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park.

Women have long been involved with the National Park Service too, pioneers in many jobs. Tell the kids that today, there are women park directors, rangers, wildlife biologists, paleontologists, firefighters, artists-in-residence and more.

 

Is there a woman in the cockpit on your flight? Point her out to the kids and tell them that airline industry groups estimate that fewer than 7 percent of commercial pilots are women, and only about 1 percent are women of color, NPR reported recently. That is beginning to change. United Airlines, in fact, has recently established the United Aviate Academy flight school to open the cockpit to women and people of color

Look for women in leadership roles on your next cruise. Windstar, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity all have women captains. More than 32 percent of Celebrity Cruises bridge officers are now women. Women are also presidents of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. Encourage kids to ask cruise officers to tell them about their jobs.

If you are opting for an adventure trip, you likely find female guides part of the mix, as we did on a recent Grand Canyon raft trip and Backroads bike trip in Europe. Some 52 percent of Backroads guides are women. Chat them up to find out how they came to be in their current roles.

To create a more equitable America, the Smithsonian is researching, disseminating, and amplifying the histories of American women through its American Women’s History Initiative in preparation for the future Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum (#BecauseOfHerStory). That’s at least a decade away, though.

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