Sunday, June 26, 2011

Love in the time of Mughals

From the Sunday Pioneer:
Mughal history, as we know it, is all about how the Muslim rulers won over vast tracts of land and established kingdoms that promoted art, literature and culture. They ruled with an iron fist, battled palace intrigues and mercilessly suppressed opposition. Some like Aurangzeb were religious despots, while others like Akbar were liberal enough to even promote a new brand of all-inclusive religious structure — Din-e-Elahi.

While the Mughal empire was largely male-dominated, there were flashes of female dominance, even if at subaltern levels. But while they have been dealt with by some classic and even modern-day historians, few have attempted to tackle the subject of sexuality among the Mughal society’s influential women. Perhaps, it is because authors have considered the issue as peripheral to the larger story. Nevertheless, it is an important gender perspective, more so as it deals with a society where women were behind veils and their affairs were rarely discussed. This book provides a fresh and scholarly insight into the private lives of Mughal women, without being voyeuristic.

Rape in Wartime - Part II

A growing movement wants to peel back that rug. Scholars are revisiting old testimonies and documents -- and seeking new ones. Authors have published works to inspire conversation. Psychologists want to help survivors heal from their secrets. Activists, including feminist writer and organizer Gloria Steinem, hope these victims of the distant past can help shape a better future.

But the topic of sexual violence during the Holocaust is fraught with controversy. Some observers believe it's a subject not sufficiently widespread or proven to warrant broad attention. Others fear it's driven by a microscopic view that deflects focus from what needs to be remembered. And still others feel that by pushing the issue, it may harm survivors who've suffered enough.

What everyone can agree on is this: When it comes to learning from those who lived through the Holocaust, time is running out.

Editor's Note: This is the second of two stories focusing on rape as a tool of war. The first story looked at the role of interviewers of rape victims. Both stories contain graphic language; discretion is advised.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Female Genocide & Pauline Nyiramasuhuko

From BBC News:
Judges at the UN-backed court for Rwanda is to hand down a verdict for the only woman to be charged with genocide before an international court.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 65, was a government minister in 1994 in Rwanda when 800,000 people - mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group - were killed.

Along with four former local officials and her own son, she is accused of organising massacres as well as the rape of women and girls.

She denies all the charges.

Mrs Nyiramasuhuko was Rwanda's minister for family and women's development at the time of the genocide.

The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) accuses her of taking part in the government decision to create militias throughout the country. Their mission was to wipe out the Tutsi population as fast as possible.

Mrs Nyiramasuhuko is accused of ordering and assisting in the massacres in her home district of Butare in southern Rwanda. Along with her son, who was in his early 20s at the time, she is also accused of organising the kidnap and rape of Tutsi women and girls.

Rape In Wartime

It began as a headache. Then her throat started to feel tight. A dull pain welled in her chest and her joints ached.

But Victoria Sanford continued to do the interviews. Even in the middle of the night, the women in Guatemala always managed to find her, the "gringa" they heard had come to listen to them.

It was the early 1990s, years before the international community would formally recognize the Guatemalan government's role in the systematic rape of its Mayan women -- and decades before the current violence in Libya and elsewhere around the Middle East would once again remind the world of the brutal effectiveness of rape as a weapon of war.

Editor's Note: This is the first of two stories focusing on rape as a tool of war. The second story, being published tomorrow, looks at the untold stories of rape in the Holocaust. Both stories contain graphic language; discretion is advised.


Podast: Women in Ancient Europe

Gender archaeology is a method of studying past societies through their material culture by closely examining the social construction of gender identities and relations. Gender archaeology itself is based on the ideas that even though nearly all individuals are naturally born to a biological sex (usually either male or female, although also intersex), there is nothing natural about gender, which is actually a social construct which varies between cultures and changes through time.

Gender archaeologists examine the relative positions in society of men, women, and children through identifying and studying the differences in power and authority they held, as they are manifested in material (and skeletal) remains. These differences can survive in the physical record although they are not always immediately apparent and are often open to interpretation. The relationship between the genders can also inform relationships between other social groups such as families, different classes, ages and religions.

Caroline Harriet Haslett

From the Irish Times:
THE VITAL ROLE played by domestic technology in allowing for greater gender equality has been widely recognised for some time now. By liberating women from much of the drudgery of domestic chores and extraordinarily labour-intensive tasks such as laundry, these developments were critical in facilitating greater female workforce participation.
A sizeable body of academic work has been written examining the social and economic repercussions of domestic technology. However, it speaks volumes that while the histories of the “domestic industrial revolution” focus on how they altered the lives of the women who used them, we rarely give as much thought to those women who were instrumental in creating such a revolution.

Chief among those was Caroline Harriet Haslett, the pioneering early 20th-century electrical engineer who spent her working life encouraging the adoption of technology in the cause of female emancipation. In many respects, her story foreshadows the sweeping changes in the role of women in society, but as so often with innovators and pioneers, she had to forge her own path with few antecedents to smooth the way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Women of the Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) is widely acknowledged as one of the most glorious periods in Chinese history. Even today, many overseas Chinese neighborhoods are known as "Tang People's Streets".

The Tang Dynasty was characterized by openness, particularly with respect to women, quite unlike any other period in China. Tang people worshipped natural beauty and skinny Tang women were the exception rather than the rule.

Their unorthodox approach was also reflected in their dress.

Women in Pakistan

From the Express Tribune:
While we have seen phenomenal changes take place across the world in recent decades, the status and fate of women, who have been so badly treated through the centuries in almost all cultures, hasn’t changed much.

But in Pakistan, their situation has become worse and thus it comes as no surprise that we were recently rated as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the way we treat women. Already among the ten most corrupt states of this world, Pakistan ranks even higher when it comes to maltreatment of women. Only in war-torn Afghanistan and the Congo is their plight worse and their lives and honour more threatened.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Female Chief at Parris Island

For the first time in its 96-year history, a female general is taking charge at the famed Marine Corps training depot at South Carolina's Parris Island.

Brig. Gen. Loretta Reynolds, who is also known as the first female Marine to ever hold a command position in a battle zone, takes charge Friday at the installation south of Beaufort.

Parris Island graduates about 20,000 Marines annually and is the only site where female enlisted Marines are trained to enter the service.

Reynolds is a native of Baltimore and a 1986 graduate of the Naval Academy. She has worn the Marine Corps uniform for 25 years. 

As a one-star general, Reynolds becomes only the third female general officer in the more than 200,000-member Marine Corps. The service has two two-star female generals, one in the active duty ranks and another in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Female Monacan Chief

From ABC13:
An Amherst County woman has secured her spot in the history of the Monacan Indian tribe. Over the weekend, she was elected the Monacan's first ever female chief.

Sharon Bryant grew up the granddaughter of a Monacan chief, always hoping to follow in his footsteps.

"I dreamed it when I was a child, before there was even an opportunity to be chief," said Sharon 'Bear Woman' Bryant.

It didn't matter that women were not considered for the tribe's top position. Bryant always knew she'd make it happen.

"I grew up in the '70s when women were told that we could be and do anything that we dreamed and I believed that," said Bryant.

Now that her life-long dream has come true, Bryant is ready to unite the tribe, that now has members all over the world.
See also: Monacan Indian Nation

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cambodian Warrior Women

From Channel News Asia in 2007:

Archaeologists have found female skeletons buried with metal swords in Cambodian ruins, indicating there may have been a civilisation with female warriors, the mission head said on Thursday.
The team dug up 35 human skeletons at five locations in Phum Snay in northwestern Cambodia in research earlier this year, said Japanese researcher Yoshinori Yasuda, who led the team.

"Five of them were perfect skeletons and we have confirmed all of them were those of females," Yasuda told AFP. The skeletons were believed to date back to the first to fifth century AD.

The five were found buried together with steel or bronze swords, and helmet-shaped objects, said Yasuda, who is from the government-backed International Research Centre for Japanese Studies.

"It is very rare that swords are found with women. This suggests it was a realm where female warriors were playing an active role," he said.

"Women traditionally played the central role in the rice-farming and fishing societies," he said. "It's originally a European concept that women are weak and therefore should be protected."

"The five skeletons were well preserved because they had been buried in important spots at the tombs," he said.

It was the first time that large-scale research was conducted on the Phum Snay relics, which were found in 1999.

It is believed there was a civilisation inhabited with several thousand rice-farming people between the first and fifth century.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lady Anne Clifford

Lady Anne Clifford was a patron of the arts who should have inherited an estate including five great castles across the north of England after the deaths of her two brothers and father.
But her father - George Gifford, the third Earl of Cumberland, who had risen to prominence as an admiral in Queen Elizabeth's navy and was noted for his skill in jousting - had quietly promised his estate to his brother.
Instead of her vast estate, the 15-year-old Lady Clifford was left £15,000 in compensation but this did not satisfy her and she set to reclaim her inheritance which Edward II granted the family and decreed should pass to the eldest heir, whether male or female.
The struggle was to last most of her life and, eventually, in 1643, aged 54, she regained the lands and moved back to her estate, including the castles of Skipton, Brougham, Brough, Pendragon and Appleby.
Lady Clifford dedicated herself to restoring the mostly ruined buildings to their former glory, restored several churches in the ancient county of Westmorland and built almshouses for the poor.

Further Links:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Woman Who Started The US Civil War

From Salon:

When Harriet Beecher Stowe published "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in 1852, the American slave trade was a thriving institution. The courts condoned it and, as Southerners were quick to claim, so did the Constitution and the Bible. Twelve American presidents had been slave owners, and the abolitionist movement was fragmented and marginal.

But Stowe, a seminal figure in American liberalism, had a knack for making radical concepts palatable to the general public, and her novel became one of the first genuine pop culture phenomena in American history. Within 10 years of its publication, the United States devolved into civil war. And as historian David S. Reynolds argues in "Mightier Than the Sword," a new book that explores Stowe's life and the global impact of her work, it was "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that catalyzed the conflict.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates

To the outsider at least, the status of women in Turkey is both ambiguous and controversial. Ataturk’s reforms of the 1920s gave Turkish women rights unimaginable for their Ottoman-era predecessors, with Turkish women able to vote in parliamentary elections in 1934 and stand for election in 1935. In the 1937 elections 18 of the 550 members elected were women. However, in the last elections in 2007, there were still only 50 women elected, less than 10 percent of the total. Many other reforms have taken place in the same period that have given women parity with men – equal pay, equal rights to education and equal rights to inheritance, amongst others. On the surface at least, despite the less than impressive growth in the numbers of female deputies in the Turkish Parliament, Turkish women have achieved equality with their men-folk. But, as Üstün Bilgen Reinart’s fascinating book reveals, inequalities between men and women persist. How many working women here, for example, still give up their careers to become mothers and housewives? Even when married women with children continue to work full-time, how many of their husbands men cook, clean or look after their children?

Mysterious Life of Lydia Bryant

About two years ago Susan Sherwin was indulging in a favorite pastime — looking at headstones at Longview Memorial Park where she works — when a pair of dates made her do a double-take: Lydia Bryant 1845-1972.

To help piece together this mystery, Sherwin turned to Sandy Rountree, whose prodigious volunteer research created the annual Memorial Day page in The Daily News. Rountree began looking into Bryant's background to hopefully learn her true age.

"I didn't think it would be hard," Rountree said. "Little did I know it would take two years."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mystery of Saint Ketevan

I would like to follow up with anyone who has any further information on the remains of the Georgian Saint Ketavan who is belived to be buried on Goa.

My blog post from 2009 - Saint Ketevan
Times of India (May 2009) - Georgians keen to put up statue at Old Goa
Times of India (April 2009) - Mystery over Georgian queen's relics
The Messanger (2007) - had an article which might not be available
Daily News & Analysis (2006) - queen's bone found in Goa
St Ketevan - article

Voyage to the Moon - 17th Century Style

An old article from Skymania which is intriguing to say the least:
Incredible as it may seem, one of the greatest scientific minds of the time, Dr John Wilkins, a founder of the Royal Society, was planning his own lunar mission four centuries ago around the time of the English Civil War.

It wasn’t hot air either. Inspired by the great voyages of discovery around the globe by Columbus, Drake and Magellan, Dr Wilkins imagined that it would just be another small step to reach the Moon.

Wilkins, who was a brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, explored the possibilities in two books. Records show he began exploring prototypes for spaceships, or flying chariots as he called them, to carry the astronauts.

The Jacobean space programme, as Oxford science historian Dr Allan Chapman calls it, flourished because this was a golden period for science. Huge discoveries had been made in geography, astronomy and anatomy. Seventeenth century scientists were riding a wave.

The above also conincides with this one from the Telegraph: maps of the moon by Thomas Harriot pre-date Galilleo, and will be on display at the West Sussex Record Office in July (2009).
"The 17th century "moon maps" by Harriot appear to reveal that the Englishman preceded the famous Italian scientist in viewing the moon through a telescope. One of Harriot's drawings is dated July 26 1609, six months prior to Galileo's well documented achievement in December 1609. "

Ancient Prosthetics

From Past Horizons: Replicas of 3000 year old artificial big toes have been tested on volunteers and are shown to be the world’s earliest functional prosthetics.

The toes date from before 600 BCE, pre-dating what was hitherto thought to be the earliest known practical prosthesis, the Roman Capua leg which dated to c. 300 BCE. Unfortunately, the Capua leg was burned when the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons was bombed in World War II.

From Payvand News (Iran): reports that an ancient artificial eye has been discovered in Iran. This "eye" dates back to at least "4800 years ago" and was "discovered in prehistoric site of Burnt City (Shahr-e Soukhteh)".

Two holes were also created on the sides of this eyeball to hold it in the eye socket and according to head of the excavation team in burnt City, is seems that the leather bag which has been found inside a straw basket in the grave must have been a kind of eye glass holder which was used for holding the artificial eyeball in some cases for example sleeping times.

In Search of Cleopatra's Tomb

An old artcile but an update to: One Step Closer to Cleopatra (2009), comes this artcile from al-Ahram Weekly (May 2010):
At Taposiris Magna, where the ruins of the Osiris Temple and few Graeco-Roman tombs emerge from the sand, a dozen journalists, photographers and TV cameramen gathered to witness the revelations of the latest search there carried by an Egyptian-Dominican team.
He went on to say that the ancient temple site might hide the tomb of the legendary lovers Queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Anthony as it was a perfect place to hide their corpses, especially since Egypt was in a very bad political situation at the time of the war with Octavian -- later the Roman Emperor Augustine.
"Searching for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony is very exciting," Hawass said. He pointed out that his fondness for Cleopatra blossomed in his early youth, when at 16 years old he began to study Graeco-Roman archaeology in the Faculty of Art's Greek and Roman Department at the University of Alexandria. He once asked Fawzi El-Fakharani, professor of Greek and Roman archaeology, about the place that he thought might be the location of the tomb of Cleopatra. Fakharani told him at the time: "To our knowledge and information Cleopatra was buried in a tomb beside her palace, which is now submerged under the Mediterranean Sea."
In the meantime, three new articles relating to the continued search from this year:

Ancient Egyptian Royal Women

From Discovery News: the tomb of Ankhesenamun, wife of King Tut may have been located.
Born as Ankhesenpaaten around 1348 BC, she was the third daughter of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and Nefertiti.  She probably changed her name into Ankhesenamun when she became the Great Royal Wife of Tutankhamun, most likely her half brother, at the age of 13.  If KV64 is indeed Ankhesenamun’s tomb, new light might be shed on the family lineage of King Tut, especially if the Queen’s mummy is found.  “I hope this will be an intact tomb for Queen Ankhesenamun,” Hawass said.
From al-Ahram Weekly: the mortuary temple of Deir Al-Bahri, known in ancient times as the "Most Holy of Holies".
Hatshepsut, as the offspring of the Great Royal Wife Ahmose, was the only lawful heir to the throne of Tuthmosis I. Custom, however, prevented her as a member of the female sex from succeeding as Pharaoh. So she took the only step open to her: she married her half-brother Tuthmosis II.

From Finding Dulcinea: a profile of Nefertiti, wife of King Akhenaton, queen of Egypt’s 18th dynasty and a legendary beauty.
As wife of King Akhenaten, Nefertiti was queen of Egypt’s 18th dynasty and played a prominent role in Egyptian worship of the sun god Aton or Aten. Her name means “the beautiful one has come,” and her legendary beauty is still evident in Egyptian reliefs and statuary.

Again from Discovery News: Archaeologists have unearthed the intact sarcophagus of Egypt's Queen Behenu inside her 4,000-year-old burial chamber near her pyramid in Saqqara.

French archaeologists working at Saqqara have unearthed the burial chamber of a 4,000-year-old queen, Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), announced today. Badly destroyed, the 33-by 16-foot burial chamber belonged to Queen Behenu, wife of either King Pepi I or Pepi II of the Sixth Dynasty. It was discovered as sand was removed from Behenu's pyramid in South Saqqara, west of the pyramid of King Pepi I.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gwyneth Bebb

Among the people added to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is Gwyneth Bebb (1889-1921), who gave her name to the case that challenged the exclusion of women from the legal profession: Bebb v the Law Society. Law was the last profession in England, apart from the church, to hold out against women's entry. Women had been trying to gain admission for 40 years. Their lack of success led campaigners to try a legal challenge, and Bebb was selected as the test case in 1913.

A brilliant student, she had studied law at Oxford when women could take the examinations – she got a first – but were not awarded degrees. She lost the case, the judges holding that women were disqualified from carrying out a public function and would remain so until parliament changed the law.

For the most part, the press was sympathetic and the publicity helped to mobilise a campaign. After repeated bills in parliament, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 finally admitted women to the legal profession.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Princess Ennigaldi's Museum

From io9:
In 1925, archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered a curious collection of artifacts while excavating a Babylonian palace. They were from many different times and places, and yet they were neatly organized and even labeled. Woolley had discovered the world's first museum.

o who was responsible for this ancient wonder full of even more ancient wonders? That honor goes to Princess Ennigaldi, the daughter of King Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. As was traditional for the daughters of Mesopotamian kings, her primary duties were religious in nature, both as the high priestess of the moon god Nanna and as the administrator of a school for young priestesses. It was around 530 BCE that Ennigaldi created her museum. That comes dangerously close to being everything we know about the woman behind the world's first museum.

Ireland: Magdalene Investigation

The Government should set up a statutory investigation into allegations of torture and degrading treatment against women committed to Magdalene Laundries.
It should also punish the perpetrators and provide redress to the women who suffered, the United Nations Committee Against Torture has recommended.
In a report detailing its "concluding observations" on Ireland's record of protecting the rights of those in detention, the committee has also strongly criticised the State's "inadequate" response to alleged reports that it cooperated with rendition flights.
The report, which was published this morning following two days of hearings before the committee in Geneva last month, also criticises the conditions in Irish prisons, the treatment of asylum seekers and the State's failure to prosecute anyone from evidence gathered in the Ryan report into abuse of children in residential institutions.
In a series of recommendations regarding the alleged committal of women to Magdalene Laundries, the committee says it is "gravely concerned" at the failure by the State party to protect the girls and women. It criticises the State for failing to regulate or inspect the laundries, where it is alleged physical, emotional abuses and other ill-treatment were committed. These may have amounted to violations of the UN convention against torture, according the report.

More on the Magdalene Laundries:

Book: Women & Slavery In America

From News Wise:
Women and Slavery in America: A Documentary History, edited by Catherine M. Lewis and J. Richard Lewis has been published by the University of Arkansas Press.

The edited collection offers readers an opportunity to examine the establishment, growth and evolution of slavery in the United States as it impacted women — enslaved and free, African American and white, wealthy and poor, northern and southern. The primary documents — including newspaper articles, broadsides, cartoons, pamphlets, speeches, photographs, memoirs, and editorials — are organized thematically and represent cultural, political, religious, economic and social perspectives on this dark and complex period in American history.

Interview: Laureate in Exile

Ebadi was born in 1947, the daughter of an expert on commercial law (Mohammad Ali Ebadi). According to most accounts, she became the first female judge in the entire history of Iran. An amazing distinction, given the age of the country. But when the Khomeinists seized power, she had to quit being a judge. They said that Islam forbade women to serve as judges — for one thing, they were too emotional. So, Ebadi devoted herself to work as a human-rights lawyer.

She has been living in exile since 2009, when Iran experienced a great amount of turmoil. It is my understanding that she still has family in Iran. (I did not ask this in my time with her, which was a generous amount of time, but not unlimited.) One question has been, How free is Shirin Ebadi to speak her mind, given what the regime can do to her loved ones?

Over the years, she has spouted her fair share of anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric (or rhetoric that can be interpreted that way). Some Iranians have suspected that she does this in order to buy a little protection from the regime — to keep it from her own and others’ throats.

Ten Most Powerful Women Authors

From Forbes:
Collectively, these women hold readers captivated with stories of fantastical worlds, suspense and drama, insights into the complexities of minority experiences and cultures, and fresh takes on societal issues and expectations…not to mention, book sales of up to 800M copies sold and a wealth of prestigious awards and recognition including Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.

In other words, these 10 women can tell (and sell) a good story.

Although there are many more women throughout history who have proven to be powerful authors, this list is limited to those who are living, with a focus on personal narrative and fiction writers.

Swiss women celebrate 40 years of suffrage

Swiss women have come a long way since 1971, the year they were granted the right to vote at the federal level.

Exactly 40 years after their first chance to do so, around 125 representatives of the Swiss political, social and economic scenes celebrated the milestone in Bern on Monday.

On February 7, 1971, 66 per cent of Swiss men voted in favour of allowing women to vote as well. The first opportunity came on June 6 of that year – when nationwide issues included environmental protection and financial regulations.

Many women who remember that momentous year were at the Bernerhof on Monday to reminisce and discuss what still needs to be done.

“This is a very important event because we still have a number of problems and challenges in terms of equality. Some examples include equal pay for equal work and the glass ceiling,” said former parliamentarian Rosmarie Zapfl-Helbling, president of alliance F, an umbrella organisation for 140 women’s groups in Switzerland.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio

There are wicked women everywhere. Though Northeast Ohio hasn't hosted the likes of Bonnie Parker or Lizzie Borden, we have had our fair share of notorious ladies, and in Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio, journalist Jane Ann Turzillo delves into the past of 10 murderesses and other female malefactors, most not covered in other books of this nature.

Turzillo looks into a series of deaths in Ashtabula, speculating that a woman named Jeanette McAdams was responsible for the deaths of her mother and five siblings between 1848 and 1851. She tells of ''Akron Mary,'' a thrice-married good-time girl who was a key witness in a Depression-era murder trial, and the owner of a '20s Cleveland vice club.

There are pictures of some of the wicked women; unfortunately, we don't get to see ''Black Adonis'' Walter McNair, whom ''Dusky Belle of Smokey Hollow'' Sarah Robinson shot in a lovers' quarrel in 1902. (We don't get to see her, either.) ''I oughta give him a second shot,'' she told a Massillon reporter. ''I oughta plugged him once more.''

Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio is part of a ''Wicked'' series offered by the History Press (there's also Wicked Albany and Wicked Indianapolis). The 110-page softcover costs $19.99 from History Press.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Maid: New Joan of Arc Novel

New book on Joan of Arc - The Maid by  Kimberly Cutter:
It is the early part of the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. The French city of Orleans is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside wreaking destruction on all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Domremy, a twelve-year-old peasant girl, Jehanne, hears a voice that will change her life – and the course of European history.

Nana Konadu Agyeman- Rawlings - Mother of the Revolution

From Ghana Web:
Many are those Ghanaians who are completely oblivious of the seminal role women played in the success of the great revolutions of 1979-1981 in Ghana. The heroes have been counted severally and openly. The heroines have been largely ignored in the proper context of our history as a nation. Yes, there were women in Ghana who had ‘balls’ to stand up and support the efforts of those courageous and determined young men of Ghana who sought to bring back this nation unto a highway of progress and, indeed succeeded in doing so starting from in 1979 and later regaining momentum in 1981- and this was at a time many men in Ghana meekly put their tales between their legs an either hid away in foreign lands or just simply and endured the social and political disorder of the time without the courage to stand up to it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Execution of Mary Dyer

On this day, June 1, in 1660, American colonist Mary Dyer was hanged in Boston for violating Massachusetts Bay Colony law by preaching Quakerism.

Dyer was among a short list of outspoken women in the colony's earliest years. Before she became a Quaker, she and Anne Hutchinson were banished for preaching that God spoke directly to individuals rather than through the clergy.

Dyer, Hutchinson and their husbands started the colony of Rhode Island after being kicked out of Massachusetts in 1638.

In 1657, she returned to Massachusetts as a Quaker preacher and began spreading her gospel across New England. Dyer was repeatedly arrested and banished.

On May 31, 1660, she was convicted of defying the anti-Quaker law and was hanged the next day.

Egypt: Virginity Test On Female Protestors

From Bikyamasr:
In yet another sign of the poor treatment of women in Egypt, its military rulers attempted to defend so-called ‘virginity’ tests that had been employed on female protesters during the Army’s attempt to clear out central Cairo in early March. Top military brass officials said the “tests” were to prove these women “were not like my daughter or your’s.”

It is not the first time that the Egyptian authorities have used sexual intimidation against female protesters. Over the past decade, during the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, police have been accused a number of times of sexually assaulting female detainees, journalists and citizens. The treatment of women in the country reached a head in February after CBS reporter Lara Logan was assaulted by dozens of men on February 11 during the celebrations of the end of the Mubarak era.