Dr. Marianne Schuelein

I knew from when I was very young that I wanted to do something useful. I think that was my main goal. I remember once telling a guidance counselor I wanted to find my place in society. And that didn’t mean society with a capital S, it meant I wanted to do something for the society. She misunderstood me. I liked science, I was good at science. When I was quite young, maybe 12, I loved horseback riding, and I memorized all the bones of a horse because I wanted to. But I also was thinking at one time of being a social worker. And the combination of science and social work— the most logical thing seemed to be medicine. In the 60s, when I had my first child, I earned about $15,000 a year. About half of that went for childcare most of the rest went for income tax. I thought this was particularly difficult. I was fortunate to be making at least $15,000, but most of my contemporaries couldn’t make that much, and a lot of them didn’t work for that reason. And I felt that something really needed to be done about it. Somebody suggested that I make an appointment with the head of the House Ways and Means Committee. So I met him and I told him what I thought. We perhaps met together for 10 or 15 minutes, and I went home and nothing happened for a while. But within the next few years childcare did become, at least in part, deductible. Some years ago I was at a party and met a woman who had been his assistant. When we were introduced she said, “I know your name. You were the one who was influential in getting the bill passed that allowed women to deduct childcare.” You don’t have to have connections, you don’t have to money, you don’t have to have a high office. You can make things change. One should never assume that things cannot be changed. When things are wrong, they can always be changed, that’s what people do. And it only takes somebody with enough passion, with enough bulldog perseverance to make that difference.