Women Who Led the Way Critical Context - Essay

David King Boynick

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Women Who Led the Way paved the way for the much-deserved and much-needed attention to women and women’s contributions in the United States. It was followed by a flood of books by, for, and about women, including other collective biographies of women and minorities such as editor Milton Meltzer’s Women of America series, featuring such individuals as Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and writer, and Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine. Concerned for the underdog, Boynick also wrote Champions by Setback: Athletes Who Overcame Physical Handicaps (1954). When interviewed about writing Women Who Led the Way, Boynick responded, “I have a strong sympathy for people who have been handicapped. Women have historically been handicapped.” Boynick, himself an underdog, sold newspapers in inclement weather as a boy to earn his way in a newspaper career. Later, he served as assistant commissioner of mental health in Connecticut.

Women Who Led the Way whets the appetites of young readers and opens a fertile field for further research. The reader learns that victories earned and enjoyed by women came at the high price of personal sacrifice and dogged determination, but they are not out of reach even in the midst of seeming rejection. The book is a career guide, meeting the need for female models who are not undesirable outcasts of their gender but brave decision makers in charge of their own limitless futures. It encourages readers with the lives and words of great thinkers and great leaders such as Anthony, whose last words spoken publicly were “Failure is impossible.” Women Who Led the Way provides young adults with stimulating insights into the world and personages of the past, inspiring them to pursue any career and any future.