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We need to confront the workplace hierarchy directly. That means unions and labor organizing. It means demands for more democratic workplaces, and established institutions and practices for dealing with sexual harassment.
Leaders must also know when it’s time for a new person to take the helm. To keep new blood flowing through the labor movement, older leaders have to make room for their successors, RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, said.
“You have to get out of the way. You can’t just talk about it,” she said. “If you’re a leader, a strong leader, you step down and open that up to someone you believe reflects where this union needs to be.”
On her 150th birthday, that leaves us with the question of how to view Curie and her work. It would be wrong to downplay the significance of her scientific discoveries or her equally groundbreaking career, but it’s important not to focus on the temptingly romantic version of her story at the expense of a more clearheaded look at her legacy and what it means to modern science.