Force of Change
In 1767, Anne Catherine Hoof Green became a widow—and the owner of her late husband Jonas Green’s printing press. Hoof Green ran H.E. Green Press, the 94-year publisher of the Maryland Gazette, until her death in 1775.* H.E. Green wasn’t the only 18th century woman-run printer, however. On July 10, 1776, Mary Katherine Goddard printed the Declaration of Independence in the Maryland Journal, according to the Library of Congress, which also recorded approximately 30 female printers in operation at the time.
But, times change. And while women have always had a hand in the publishing industry (usually in creative or editorial capacities), their roles in printing and manufacturing fluctuated as the number of women in the workforce ebbed and flowed during the 20th century. The business world changed irrevocably, though, in the 1970s and ’80s, when women steadily entered the corporate workforce in large numbers. In fact, the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation fact sheet titled “101 Facts on the Status of Working Women” listed the female working population as 18.4 million in 1950. It reported the count had jumped to 68 million by 2003.
“You certainly had to prove yourself,” Valerie Blauvelt, vice president of marketing for Xerox Production Systems Group in Rochester, N.Y., said of her entry into sales thirty years ago. “Nobody was willing to cut you any slack; you had to pass the test, and I think you were evaluated sometimes with the bar being a little bit higher in terms of how you performed. But I think, at the end of the day, it became your track record that enabled you to go forward. And delivering results was really the ticket to entry. That’s probably true for anybody, male or female.”
Since joining Xerox as a sales professional, Blauvelt has served in management and market and product development, as well as her current position—marketing to the printing industry.