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August 16, 1985

Equal, Not Really

JAMA. 1985;254(7):953. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360070099033

How can it be that at the age of 35, being an accomplished, respected physician, a happily married woman for 11 years, and a mother of two beautiful children, I feel melancholy, inadequate, and guilt ridden? Ever since I can remember, my goals have been similar to those of most men. I have enjoyed competitive, physically demanding sports and achieved multiple varsity letters in high school. Excellence in general academics, and in particular science, was more important to me than even to my brother. The resultant conflicts of being a competitive and feminine woman in our society have been numerous. Nevertheless, I have always managed. In my 20s I was able to ride the early waves of "women's liberation." But now, at 35, the waves have crashed into the shore and eroded the sand.

My 6 1/2-year-old gentle, vulnerable, and sensitive son has developed a "mild-to-moderate stutter." Stutter, stammer, and