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For women there are, undoubtedly, great difficulties in the path, but so much the more to overcome. No woman should say, ‘I am but a woman!’ But a woman! What more can you ask to be?

Maria Mitchell

The astronomer and women’s rights activist Maria Mitchell undoubtedly knew (also) from her own experience about the enormous obstacles that were and still are put in the way of active women today, but even more so in the 19th century -– especially if they intended to get involved in such a male domain as astronomy. For her, degrading yourself as a woman already started, even before any “unfeminine” activity, with a potential self-discrimination to declare yourself “but a woman”. She is smart and courageous enough not to compare women to men, but rather, with her head held high, to simply ask the women to be proud of themselves as women. It is also a clever move not to elevate men to the center of the world; instead to completely ignore them as a reference.

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