Saturday, November 3, 2018

Putting a face to Queen Judita, Saint Zdislava, and the ‘Vampire of Čelákovice’

Her beauty and mind were said to have been beyond compare. But when the remains of Judita of Thuringia were first unearthed sixty years ago in the Benedictine monastery of Teplice, there was no way to tell whether the royal chronicler hadn’t rather exaggerated the feminine charms of the Queen consort of Bohemia. After all, she’d been dead for more than eight centuries. But now, thanks to a team of Czech scientists, archaeologists, artists – and a Brazilian expert in digital facial reconstruction – you can judge for yourself.

Queen Judita, photo: archive of Cícero André da Costa Moraes

Writing in the year 1167, the chronicler Vincentius described Queen Judita, by then in her early thirties, as a “lady of stature whose beauty exceeds the human form, almost as if she were divine offspring.” The venerable scribe goes on to praise her enterprising spirit, exemplary knowledge of the arts, science and literature, and fluency in Latin and the affairs of men – politics.

read more here @ Radio Prague

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Akua, the influential slave healer who became queen in Jamaica

The Queen of Kingston in Jamaica or Cubah Cornwallis, as she is popularly known, is lost in history due to the improper documentation that makes it hard to follow or believe in her existence. In trying to read about the adventurous life of this woman who took the unwilling journey into slavery from Africa and was later executed for resisting oppression, it is easy to think that one is reading about two different women while trying to make sense of her story. That withstanding, it is equally important to attempt to make sense of her story and tell it as it is – an important part of history.

Cubah Cornwallis’s real name was Akua from the Ashanti Empire in Ghana which was then the Gold Coast. Nothing much is said about her life before being captured and sold off as an enslaved girl to the Carribean, but through historical readings, it can be speculated that she was captured during the early years of the many Ashanti Empire wars in an attempt to expand their Empire and have more power than the British.

read more here @ Face2Face Africa

Savitri Devi: The mystical fascist being resurrected by the alt-right

From BBC News:
Savitri Devi, a mystical admirer of Hitler and a cat-loving devotee of the Aryan myth, seemed destined to fade into obscurity after her death 25 years ago. But thanks to the rise of the extreme right, her name and her image now crop up online more and more, writes Maria Margaronis.

Savitri Devi

Who was Savitri Devi, and why are her ideas being resurrected now? Despite the sari and the name she was a European, born Maximiani Portas to an English mother and Greek-Italian father in Lyon in 1905.

Savitri Devi herself is almost forgotten in India now, but the Hindu nationalism she espoused and helped to promote is in the ascendant, much to the concern of her nephew, the veteran left-wing journalist Sumanta Banerjee.

"In her book A Warning to the Hindus, which came out in 1939, she advised the Hindus to cultivate a 'spirit of organised resistance throughout Hindudom,'" he says. "The targets of this resistance were the Muslims, who were a threat, according to her, to the Hindus. And this is the same fear that is being echoed today."


read full story here @ BBC News and @ Savitri Devi Archive

China's "leftovers" are rejects in a man's world

In China, hysteria is growing about a rising number of so-called “leftover women”, who are highly successful but remain unmarried. A new study suggests that the country’s traditional, patriarchal society may be to blame.

Successful Chinese women who have been publically shamed as “leftovers” because of their failure to marry, often remain single because men are uncomfortable with their careers and achievements, a study has found.
As the derogatory term implies, the “leftovers”, all in their late 20s or early 30s, are typically scorned for having only themselves to blame. In 2007, the Chinese Ministry of Education attributed their failure to find a husband to their “overly high expectations for marriage partners”, in an official explanation of what sheng nu means.

Now a rare investigation into the experiences of the women themselves has reached a rather different conclusion. The study, by sociologist Dr Sandy To, found that these women struggle to find a lasting relationship because of the constraints of the conservative, patriarchal society in which they live. Far from spurning suitors, they badly want to be married, but find that men reject them.

read more here 

Differences Found in Women's Birth Canals Are Contradicting What Evolutionary Science Told Us

An analysis of hundreds of women's skeletons from across the world dating as far back as 2000 BCE shows birth canals exhibit more diversity than scientists ever realised. And we missed those differences due to medicine's historical focus on one particular body type.

"An obstetrician's training is based on a model of the pelvis that has been developed from European women," evolutionary anthropologist Lia Betti from the University of Roehampton in the UK told AFP.

"But the typical pelvic shape and typical childbirth pattern can differ among populations. An update seems necessary, especially in a multi-ethnic society."

read more @ Science Alert

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mysterious decorations on a woman`s bones in a tomb from a few thousand years ago

Unique decorations including parallel lines covered the bones of a young woman buried 4,5 thousand years ago in a barrow over the central Dniester (today`s Ukraine). According to scientists, the markings were made after death and the process of body decomposition.

Image result for bones science in poland images
According to Żurkiewicz, the patterns are clearly man-made. A black substance was used - probably similar to tar obtained from wood, scientists suggest. "Some time after the woman`s death the grave was reopened, bone decoration was performed and the bones were re-arranged in anatomical order" - the researcher describes the course of making decorations.

According to Żurkiewicz, this discovery is unique - so far, no comparable custom among other prehistoric communities in Europe has been recorded.

read more here @ Science in Poland

Ecaterina Teodoroiu - The Romanian heroine who fought during World War I


Ecaterina Teodoroiu was born in 1894 and went on to become a heroine of World War I.

She was a woman-soldier during the war, and because of her courage she is still recognized today as a Romanian heroine and is often favorably compared to Queen Maria of Romania. Born to a family of farmers, Ecaterina (Catalina in Romanian) was first educated in her native village of Vădeni at the Romanian-German Primary School. Later, she graduated from the Girl’s School in Bucharest and in 1916, she was ready to become a teacher before the plan was interrupted by the events of WWI. As the Romanian Kingdom entered the war on the side of the Allies, Ecaterina changed her plans and ambitions.


read more here 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Forbes’ 'Middle East’s Most Influential Women' 2018!

From Al Bawaba:
Throughout the history, the powerful women of Egypt who ruled Ancient Egypt were the unusual wonders of their time, like Cleopatra, Hatshepsut, and Nefertiti.

The extraordinary traits in the Egyptian women have not gone extinct throughout the generations, and it is still being transferred from one great generation to the next one. (Scoop Empire)

The extraordinary traits in the Egyptian women have not gone extinct throughout the generations, and it is still being transferred from one great generation to the next one. This year, it was really proven as 20 Egyptian women have made it to Forbes Middle East’s Most Influential Women of 2018.

Among these 20 women in the list, there are 18 figures in the business and 2 heading governmental departments. Forbes’ list is ranked according to the overall revenues of the companies these women led, their current titles, and the growth of entities they had led in the past three years in the business sector. For the governmental departments, their roles, and influence according to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) was put into consideration.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Why are abayas mostly black in Qatar?

For most women in Qatar and the rest of the Middle East, the abaya is a sign of respect, dignity, modesty and an easy and convenient way to hide the body according to Islamic teachings. It is long and covers the whole body from the neck to the wrists and then down to the feet. It is usually loose and flowing, though some of the newer designs are more form fitting. The abaya is a very common sight in Qatar as well as the other Middle Eastern countries and is also becoming more common in other Muslim countries where woman find it a convenient and comfortable attire to wear over their everyday clothes when they go out of their homes.
Abayafashion
It is believed that the abaya, which was also used by women in the pre-Islamic era, was originally worn to protect the body from heat and sand, to avoid direct exposure to the sun, to stay cool in the summer heat, and as a way to protect them from the winds in winter. It still is! It was also, in ancient times, considered a suitable attire and did not hinder women’s everyday chores round the house.

The abaya is complemented with a headscarf called a Shayla or hijab. This is a scarf that’s tied around the head so no hair is visible. Some women also wear a niqab, which covers both the head and the face. It’s mostly a matter of personal choice or traditions.

read more here @ I Love Qatar

These female groups prove that feminism existed in Africa since the 15th century

Feminism is not a new thing in Africa. It has existed long before the introduction of western cultures, education, the theory of feminism as well as the development of African feminism. Women were allowed to perform specific roles or be part of certain groups that brought prestige and progress to the role of women in African societies.

It is true that many cultures and traditional practices of African societies put men at the forefront of things. But this should not overshadow the fact that many traditional societies allowed women to take up “male roles” which they performed with much pride and diligence.
Though not as many as that of male-dominated societies, there are a few African female societies and groups that demonstrated the existence of feminism in ancient Africa. Today, Africa can boast of staunch feminists such as Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie thanks to ancient African societies and groups such as these.

read more here @ Face2Face Africa

Ancient Female Master Ceramicist

Image result for minoan ceramics
Back in 2009, archaeologists at Eleutherna—an ancient city-state located on the Greek island of Crete—discovered a woman’s skeleton that showed unusual signs of wear. As Michael Price writes for Science Magazine, in comparison to the other females at the site, the muscles on the right side of her body were notably developed, while the cartilage on her knee and hip joints was worn away, leaving the bones smooth and ivory-like. Initial analysis of the woman’s remains, as well as the pottery found in similar graves at the Orthi Petra burial site, indicated that the approximately 45 to 50 year old lived between 900 B.C.. and 650 B.C.

Then, as Cara Giaimo reports for Atlas Obscura, the team chanced upon a master ceramicist who lived near the Eleutherna site. The woman demonstrated how she created her large artisan vases—describing the sets of muscles used and subsequent strain experienced—and provided researchers with a key breakthough in the frustrating case. Her movements and the physical toll exacted by the process, Giaimo writes, closely mirrored that of her 3,000-year-old predecessor.


Read more @ SmithsonianMag

Reviving Japan’s Ancient Ama Fisherwomen Culture

From the Robb Report:
Ohno is part of an elite group of women known as ama uminchu, who for thousands of years have hunted for seafood and pearls in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Toba, in the Ise-Shima region of Japan’s Mie prefecture. One of the country’s oldest professions, dating back to the Jōmon Period (14,000 to 300 BC), the ama have long been comprised almost solely of female free divers, largely because women have more subcutaneous fat than men, and can therefore retain body heat better. And in the past, when diving suits were nothing but a loincloth, keeping warm was a matter between life and death.
Image result for ama fisherwomen
Today, the time-honored culture of the ama persists, though it has waned in recent decades. In 1949, there were 6,109 ama in the cities of Toba and Shima, according to the Toba Sea-Folk Museum; today there are only about 760 on the Shima peninsula. In the past, the role of the amahas been passed down from one generation of women to the next. But these days, the average age of a modern ama is 65, giving rise to the fear that this revered profession may cease to exist in the near future.

read more here @ Robb Report

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ancient Egyptian pregnancy test is revealed by 3,500-year-old papyrus

The ancient Egyptians had a pregnancy test which saw women urinate on bags of wheat and barley, texts from 3,500 years ago have revealed. 

The medical knowledge of the ancient civilisation including treatments for eye diseases is displayed in the papyrus from the New Kingdom era.

The instructions written on papyrus between 1500 and 1300 BC tell women to empty their bladders into a bag of barley and a bag of emmer and wait for a reaction.

Experts said the ancient pregnancy test advice influenced European medical writing and appeared in a book of German folklore as late as 1699. 

read more here @ Daily Mail Online

Women of Forbidden City: Empresses of Qing Dynasty

From CGTN:
An exhibition exploring the role of empresses of China’s last dynasty, the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), opened recently at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts.

Nearly 200 spectacular objects from the Palace Museum, once known as the Forbidden City, also home to the empresses, are on display at the exhibition which runs until next February 10.

The display is mainly about three empresses, including Empress Dowager Chongqing, who is honored as the Sage Mother after her son Qianlong Emperor inherited the throne; Empress Xiaoxian, Qianlong Emperor’s beloved wife; and Empress Dowager Cixi, one of the most powerful women in Chinese history.

read more here @ CGTN

A wave focusing on the life of the women living in the Forbidden City during the Qing Dynasty has engulfed Chinese TV screens this summer. “The Story of Yanxi Palace,” a soap opera based on Qianlong Emperor’s consort Empress Xiaoyichun, refreshed the record of TV dramas with 15 billion views in 43 days on iQiyi, a Netflix-like content provider in China.

Set during the days of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), the show follows the predictable yet relatable storyline of how a loyal maid climbs “the imperial ladder” to eventually become the emperor’s favourite concubine.

read more here @ South China Morning Post

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Houston death penalty trial brings focus to scourge of ‘honor killings’

The centuries-old crime of honor killing, stretching back to ancient Rome and present in the Middle East and Latin America, is taking place in America at a rate of more than 20 a year, according to a recent U.S. Justice Department report.

It’s a phenomenon that has concerned women activists given continued migration from countries where honor killings are still reported, although they remain rare in the United States when compared to other homicides.

But over the last several weeks, the ancient scourge has been highlighted in a Houston courtroom as details have emerged about a pair killings masterminded by Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, a 60-year-old Jordanian immigrant. A Harris County jury last month convicted Irsan in “honor killings” of his daughter’s husband, 28-year-old Coty Beavers, and her close friend, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, in two seperate shootings in 2012. Prosecutors also presented evidence that Irsan had killed another son-in-law nearly two decades ago.

According to the organization [the AHA Foundation], honor killings often involve several people in the family.

read more here @ Houston Chronicle

Empowering the women of an ancient kingdom

The ancient culture of Morocco has flourished for centuries. With this huge cultural weight, tradition is expected to be upheld, despite the pressures of a postmodern world. A designer from Morocco showed her collection in Rustan’s Manila last week, reconciling Old World tradition with modern fashion flair, and a nod towards the concept of social entrepreneurship.

Fatim-Zahra Ettalbi has been in love with her culture since she was seven years old. She first began sketching during this period, and had always dreamt of wearing traditional Moroccan clothing, summarized in the kaftan. The kaftan, a loose robe or tunic that has been associated with Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, also has a tradition in Morocco, worn by royalty, and now by Moroccans either for festive or everyday use, depending on the level of ornamentation.

According to a report by Morocco World News, the Kingdom of Morocco does not enjoy a high ranking in a gender gap report from the World Economic Forum. This report ranks Morocco at 136 out of 144 countries that seek to bridge the gender gap. The same report says that only 26.9% of women in Morocco are employed, as compared to 78.7% of men.

Eva Palmer, the American who reinvented herself as an ancient Greek goddess

Eva Palmer (1874–1952) was arguably one of the most inspiring and fascinating women of the 20th century, described as both brilliant and gorgeous with floor-length auburn hair.

The American free-thinker, director, performer and creative was widely known as a fashion icon of her time inspired by the ancient Greeks. She was also the beloved wife of seminal Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos with whom she envisioned the Delphic Festivals revival. She had recounted this story herself in her memoirs, but her own story has never been told in detail. Now professor Artemis Leontis has written the first biography of a woman mostly known through the publication of her love letters to her husband. The book, titled ‘A life in ruins’, is expected to come out in February 2019 through Princeton University Press.


read more here

further reading:
Upward Panic: The Autobiography of Eva Palmer-Sikelianos
Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins by Artemis Leontis

Teacher Restores over 1,000 Ancient Books in 13-year Career

Gao Huiyun is a teacher of cultural relics restoration and protection at Hebei Vocational Art College. Gao has restored over 1,000 ancient books in her 13-year career time. 

Teacher Restores Over 1,000 Ancient Books in 13-year Career


And that is all that I can find on this remarkable woman!!

Exhibition: Royal Women of Influence in Medieval Coventry

Image result for medal of margaret of anjouCoventry's lasting connection with two English Queens will be revealed at a special exhibition at Drapers’ Hall. The free showcase is part of the city’s Heritage Open Days in September.

Drapers’ Hall, which is normally closed to the public, will be unlocking its doors and revealing secrets about two women of huge significance in medieval Coventry, Queen Isabella and Queen Margaret of Anjou.

Both were strong French women married to weak English Kings whose attempts to wield power led to them being dubbed posthumously ‘she-wolves’.

The exhibition called Royal Women of Influence in Medieval Coventry: Queen Isabella and Queen Margaret of Anjou is being organised by heritage organisation Medieval Coventry.

read more here @ The Coventry Observer

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Inside Siberia’s isolated community of forgotten women

From BBC News:
A young Nenets woman gathers the reindeer before migration. Yamal Peninsula, Siberia, Russia.In the remote village of Yar-Sale, in Northern Siberia, lives a group of elderly women. Once part of a nomadic community of reindeer herders, in their old age they spend most of their days in seclusion, isolated from the world they loved.

While the men are encouraged to remain within the migrating community and maintain their social roles, the women are often ostracised and left to face the struggles of old age alone.

Photographer Oded Wagenstein took the long journey to meet these 'forgotten' women.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Female Inventors and Their Inventions That Changed the World and Impacted the History In a Revolutionary Way

Female inventors, scientists, and engineers have discovered countless revolutionary and life-changing inventions that have caused unprecedented breakthroughs in the history of the world.

A closer look at the history is enough to show us that women’s achievements have often been overlooked when it comes to handing out praise and recognition. Sadly, even in our days, we often find that sometimes this can still be true.

Shaming, corruption, and painful socio-cultural eras in human history have caused some of those inventions and names of their inventors to remain without proper recognition, unable to come out to daylight.

For a long time, some female inventors have been forgotten and their inventions attributed to men. It's about time we recognized the value that these incredible women in history have brought to science and other disciplines. 

Here we pay tribute to some of the most courageous, innovative, and determined genius female inventors while we walk through their remarkable discoveries trying to imagine how hard it was for them at times. They have all impacted the world with their inventions, making our lives better.

read more about the 51 women featured here @ Interesting Engineering

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Search Begins for Last World War II Female Pilot Gertrude Tomkins Silver

Photo: Ocean Search for Missing WWII Pilot: Divers boost efforts to find a woman whose plane went down in the line of duty.From ABC News:
"Of the 38 WASPs who lost their lives, she's the only one unaccounted for," said Pat Macha, a retired teacher-turned-aviation archaeologist who is leading the search, from aboard a search vessel in Santa Monica Bay.

The WASP program was dismantled just two years after it began, when male pilots returning from combat needed jobs.

Female pilots were not recognized as full-fledged members of the military, Davis said.
"They received no military benefits," she added. "They paid their way in and paid their way home. Many left husbands and children at home. They answered the call of duty and there was a loyal patriotic streak that ran among all of them."

read more here @ ABC News

read review of Seized By The Sun @ Melisende's Library

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Somalia Announces First Prosecution for Female Genital Mutilation

Speaking at a conference on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Mogadishu recently, Somalia's attorney general, Ahmed Ali Dahir, announced that the country will conduct its first FGM prosecution after 10-year-old Deeqa Dahir Nuur's death. The attorney general said that state prosecutors and the criminal investigation bureau have been dispatched to collect evidence.  "The prosecution of those involved in Deeqa's death will send a strong message to the country," he added. "This is really a defining moment for Somalia."

read more here @ allAfrica



Zimbabwe: Too Poor for Periods

Zimbabwe is suffering a sanitary wear crisis.

With many schoolgirls too poor to buy the sort of basic products most teens take for granted, they rely on teachers' donations, torn strips of cloth, plants and old newspapers.

In February this year, hundreds of girls and women gathered in the capital for a march dubbed "Happy Flow Campaign" to demand more affordable sanitary wear.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has distributed free sanitary pads to poor women and girls, and hopes are now rising that this year's elections might yet ease the crisis. "If we vote for the right person to lead our country, I'm sure things will get better for us, as poor woman, facing difficulties (getting) sanitary wear," said Chaodza.
Until then, handouts and ersatz pads will have to do.

read more here @ allAfrica

Sultan of Yogyakarta: A feminist revolution in an ancient kingdom

From BBC News:
The Sultan of Yogyakarta holds a powerful political and spiritual position on the Indonesian island of Java. He is manoeuvring to make his eldest daughter his heir, sparking a bitter feud, as the BBC's Indonesia editor Rebecca Henschke reports.

The sultan, who is 72, recently changed his own title so that it is gender neutral and has given his eldest daughter the new name Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mangkubumi - which means The One Who Holds the Earth.

Eldest daughter during our exclusive interview

That was seen as further indication she is being lined up to take over the throne when the time comes.

The sultan's brothers and sisters are not going along with it. They are outraged and most of them, like GBPH Prabukusumo, are now refusing to speak with the sultan or attend royal events.
The Javanese royal rule stretches back to the 16th Century and while the family is now Muslim like most Indonesians, the rituals they carry out are steeped in mysticism, a product of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism of the past.

read more here @ BBC News

Saturday, July 28, 2018

CONDI: The Condoleezza Rice Story by Antonia Felix

Image result for Condi: The Condoleezza Rice StoryAs Secretary of State and a close confidant of President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice is the most influential woman in the history of the United States government, and perhaps one of the most famous black women in the world. Her latest stint in Washington, D.C., follows her role as National Security Advisor to the President and a distinguished career as scholar, professor, provost, and foreign policy advisor that has taken her from Birmingham, Alabama, to Denver, Colorado, to Palo Alto, California, to the White House-all by the age of 50.


But just who is this powerful woman who has experienced firsthand some of our nation's darkest and brightest moments, who was a key player in the government's response to the September 11 tragedies, and who some believe will likely be a future governor, senator, vice president, or even president

Read more @ Harper Collins and review @ Publishers Weekly: "Although Felix didn't interview Rice, this informative biography draws on a thorough list of secondary sources and on interviews with family, friends and colleagues."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Grave of ancient noblewoman comes to light in island of Sikinos

Archaeologists in Greece have made an exciting discovery at the Episkopi excavation site in the island of Sikinos. The find is an ancient unlooted tomb of a prominent woman adorned with great treasures and jewellery. The find came to light during the restoration work of the Episkopi Monument that the Ministry of Culture and Sports has been carrying out since 2017 with the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities.

According to the Ministry of Culture’s announcement: “The wealth of jewellery worn by the woman betrays that she was a prominent figure in the Sikinos society. From the tomb, golden wristbands, rings, a necklace, a brooch with a cameo relief, along with glass and metal vases, other smaller finds, as well as organic fragments of the costume of the dead, were wrapped around the grave.”

read more here @ Tornos News

Seal of Byzantine Empress Yolande of Montferrat

From Archaeology in Bulgaria:
A rare find, a lead seal of Yolande of Montferrat, Empress Irene of the Byzantine Empire, the second wife of Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus (r. 1282 – 1328), has been discovered by archaeologists excavating the medieval Bulgarian fortress of Lyutitsa near the town of Ivaylovgrad.

This is the first seal of Byzantine Empress Irene (Yolande of Montferrat) to be discovered in Bulgaria, and the third known such seal overall, the National Museum of History in Sofia has announced.
Lyutitsa, which is one of the best preserved fortresses from the time of the medieval Bulgarian Empire, changed hands between Bulgaria and Byzantium a number of times. It is located in near Ivaylovgrad in the Eastern 

read more here @ Archaeology in Bulgaria

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New York Museum Sorts Through Its Collections to Highlight 15 "Rebel Women" of the 1800s

According to Abigail Weinberg of AM New York, the show features 15 women who rejected ideals of Victorian propriety. Individuals are grouped into three categories—political, working and professional—and include a mixture of famous and lesser-known figures.

Amongst the better-known honorees are Anthony, fellow suffragette leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton and investigative reporter Elizabeth Cochrane, better known by the pen name Nellie Bly. These women stand alongside relatively obscure contemporaries, from Susan Smith McKinney-Steward, one of the first African-American doctors, to pickpocket Sophie Lyons (who stole from wealthy men in Robin Hood-esque escapades). Other women who made the cut include Ann Trow Lohman, a female physician who provided abortion services under the name Madame Restell, and Elizabeth Jennings Graham, an African-American woman who challenged segregation on public streetcars.

Charlotte Yonge: A woman of some importance

Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901) was immensely well-known in Victorian England. The young Virginia Woolf was a fan, and, indeed, took a copy of The Heir of Redclyffe with her on her honeymoon to Italy — rather a pessimistic choice, given that its hero dies of fever on his honeymoon, in a spa in the Valtellina.

Yonge’s writings — more than 80 works of fiction and countless textbooks, histories, and devotional works — were staples of the literary experience of adolescents between the 1840s and the First World War. 

In the heyday of her reputation, in the 1850s and ’60s, Yonge’s novels for adults were widely admired; but, by the end of her life, she had outlived many of her readers, and was remembered only as a writer of children’s books. In the 20th century, Victorian culture went, on the whole, out of fashion, and, along with others, Yonge’s works almost disappeared from view.

read more here @ Church Times and @ Project Gutenburg


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Could these be the faces of the murdered wife and son of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang?

Chinese researchers have reconstructed the faces of a young man and woman who could be one of the many sons and consorts of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China – and who may also have been victims of one of the most notorious and gruesome purges in Chinese history.

The dismembered body of the young woman, who was about 20 years old, was found in a group of around 100 tombs in the emperor’s mausoleum in Xian – home to the famed terracotta army.
Image result for facial reconstruction Qin Shi Huang
All the bodies in the tomb are young females and the archaeologists believe these women could be the emperor’s consorts and their servants, judging from the class of the graves and burial items found there.

read more here @ South China Morning Post

Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?

She entered the world of an ancient empire as a teenage concubine, chosen by the emperor to share his bed for her good looks, immaculate comportment and, above all, her ability to sing.
Image result for cixi
The male-dominated court was a swirl of intrigue, forced suicides and poisonings. Eunuchs assigned to the emperor prepared her for sex with the ruler, undressing her and carrying her to his bed. After the Emperor Xianfeng’s death, she governed in the name of young male heirs — from behind a screen.

Strong women in China are often portrayed as power-hungry, and sometimes irrational, and are notably absent from the highest ranks of government. There is no Hillary Clinton figure in contemporary China (the real Mrs. Clinton is vilified by the government for talking about human rights in the country), or an Angela Merkel, who has stood up to China on trade.


read more here @ New York Times

see also:





Monday, July 9, 2018

How Bad Was Jezebel?

For more than two thousand years, Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women. This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike. But just how depraved was Jezebel?

In recent years, scholars have tried to reclaim the shadowy female figures whose tales are often only partially told in the Bible. Rehabilitating Jezebel’s stained reputation is an arduous task, however, for she is a difficult woman to like. She is not a heroic fighter like Deborah, a devoted sister like Miriam or a cherished wife like Ruth. Jezebel cannot even be compared with the Bible’s other bad girls—Potiphar’s wife and Delilah—for no good comes from Jezebel’s deeds. These other women may be bad, but Jezebel is the worst.

Yet there is more to this complex ruler than the standard interpretation would allow. To attain a more positive assessment of Jezebel’s troubled reign and a deeper understanding of her role, we must evaluate the motives of the Biblical authors who condemn the queen. Furthermore, we must reread the narrative from the queen’s vantage point. As we piece together the world in which Jezebel lived, a fuller picture of this fascinating woman begins to emerge. The story is not a pretty one, and some—perhaps most—readers will remain disturbed by Jezebel’s actions. But her character might not be as dark as we are accustomed to thinking. Her evilness is not always as obvious, undisputed and unrivaled as the Biblical writer wants it to appear.

read more here 

Grave of Medieval Bulgarian Princess 'Built Into' Foundations of Stone Church

Article (June 2016) from Archaeology in Bulgaria:
The grave of a female aristocrat from the Shishman Dynasty which ruled the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396) in its last few decades before it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks has been discovered during the excavations of the old church St. George near the town of Trudovets, Botevgrad Municipality, in Northwest Bulgaria.

The now defunct St. George stone church near Trudovets is believed to have been part of a medieval monastery, and still has fragments of medieval frescoes. On the archaeological site of the stone church, locals have found a marble pillar and EarlyByzantine coins from the 5th-6th century, leading scholars to hypothesize that the monastery which existed there may have dated back to Early Christian times.
The St. George Church near Trudovets, Botevgrad Municipality, is in a dire need of restoration. Photo: National Museum of History
The newly discovered grave of a young princess proves that the Botevgrad Valley was also part of their estates because a ring found together with the other female adornments in the funeral inventory features a monogram of the Shishman family.

read more about this amazing discovery here @ Archaeology in Bulgaria

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dearth of female Nigerian leaders

The only condition necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, so says the great Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797). Looking at this enduring aphorism in reverse, one might entertain the thought that, perhaps, the only condition necessary for the perpetuation of misrule by men in Nigeria is for good women to do nothing. How did we arrive at a junction where the minority (i.e. male) are perpetuating misrule and violence on the majority (i.e. female) for so long and with such reckless abandon? How come men in this country (as elsewhere) assume that positions of leadership and dominance are their birth-right, while the female folk clasp their palms in resignation? How come our religious leaders in this country continue to preach the virtue of “submissiveness” to the female gender in acquiescence to the perpetrators of violence and oppression against them; the maniac male in their midst?

read more here @ Punch Newspapers

Church reproposes Order of Virgins 50 years after its restoration

In 2020 it will be 50 years since Pope Paul VI revived the ancient Order of Virgins. Consecrated virgins now number approximately 5,000 and live in every part of the world. The Prefect for the Dicastery for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, says that the new Instruction Ecclesiae Sponsae imago is the first Document to address the make-up and discipline of this form of consecration. It is also a response to the interest shown in this revived vocation. It focuses specifically on its place in the Church’s life, and the necessary discernment and formation required, he says.

read more here @ Vatican News

An increasing number Catholic women are taking life-long chastity vows in order to “dedicate themselves” to God, according to the Vatican.

The Holy See has issued new guidance on consecrated virginity in response to growing interest across the world in the little-known spiritual “vocation”.

Consecrated virgins are unmarried women who pledge to remain celibate for their entire lives, eschewing romantic or sexual relationships to devote themselves exclusively to being mystical “brides of Christ”.

Space Coast women aviators honor memory of those who flew before

Women fly.      They pilot large and small, old and new, private and commercial, military and civilian aircraft. The likes of Amelia Earhart, Jackie Cochran, Bessie Coleman, Eileen Collins and Tammie Jo Shults are but a few notables who share this heritage. 
Image result for female wasp pilots
No surprise, then, that a group of women aviators like the Spaceport 99s should have become local custodians of the memory of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP.

The WASP, 1,074 women attached to the United States Army Air Forces as civilians from 1942 to late 1944, flew more than 60 million miles during World War II, transporting every type of military aircraft. They towed targets for anti-aircraft gunnery practice, simulated strafing missions and transported cargo, and before their time in service ended, 38 WASP members lost their lives and one was missing. 

They did it to free male pilots for military combat, but were not themselves formally military pilots; they were granted veteran status 32 years after the war’s end. Fifty-four years after it was over, they finally were formally recognized, when President Obama awarded members the Congressional Gold Medal.

read more 
@ 99s



Women Empowerment in Vedas

From Daily Pioneer:Ancient Indian texts make it quite clear that women were always meant to be respected and valued in our culture, writes Daksh Bharadwaj 

Women empowerment in Vedas
The Vedas say, man himself (aatmanah) is only half or incomplete (ardha), as long as (yaavat) he does not obtain (Vindate) a wife (jaayaa). According to the Vedic teachings and ancient Aryan scriptures, women have been placed at a higher status than man. She has been given preference to man in every field, so much so that when giving a boy a joint name of a god and goddess, the name of the goddess is always placed before the god. We call our country motherland, mother is superior to father. We are taught to be more indebted to mother than father — “Maat devobhava” before “Pita devobhava”.

Woman stands paramount in Vedic culture. We go as far as saying that if one wants to understand culture and civilisation of a nation, one has only to observe how that nation treats its women folk. She is the symbol of culture.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

2,000 year old mummified ‘sleeping beauty’ dressed in silk emerges from Siberian reservoir

MummyFrom the Siberian Times:
Archeologists hail extraordinary find of suspected ‘Hun woman’ with a jet gemstone buckle on her beaded belt.

After a fall in the water level, the well-preserved mummy was found this week on the shore of a giant reservoir on the Yenisei River upstream of the vast Sayano-Shushenskaya dam, which powers the largest power plant in Russia and ninth biggest hydroelectric plant in the world.

The ancient woman was buried wearing a silk skirt with a funeral meal - and she took a pouch of pine nuts with her to the afterlife. 

In her birch bark make-up box, she had a Chinese mirror.  Near her remains - accidentally mummified - was a Hun-style vase. 

read more here @ Siberian Times

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The woman who built Jersey's first hospital

Standing in St Brelade’s Church cemetery is an obelisk dedicated to a public-spirited Islander who bequeathed her fortune to the poor and sick at a time when social services were unheard of.

The inscription on the monument is in French. Translated, it reads: ‘To the memory of Miss Marie Mauger – widow of Mr Francis Bartlett – foundress of the General Hospital. Buried in this parish April 26 1741.

Her altruism gave Jersey its first hospital on the site of the present building.  Finally, in 1793, more than 50 years after her death, Mrs Bartlett’s dream finally became reality and the old building of the General Hospital opened its doors.

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Plymouth's Laura Chase Smith woman ahead of her time

Laura Chase Smith was a woman ahead of her time. A force in her own right, she and her husband, H.N. Smith (Horatio Nelson) were an important part of the growth and development of Plymouth. Laura kept a journal most of her life, and those diary entries would, years later, provide primary source documentation of pioneer Plymouth.

Laura wrote a well-received book, The Life of Philander Chase, First Bishop of Ohio and Illinois, Founder of Kenyon and Jubilee Colleges. But, she also wrote a series of articles for the Plymouth Reporter. Published between December 1872 and June 1873, the series covered the history of the township of Plymouth and the Villages of Plymouth and Quit Qui Oc.

read more here @ Sheboygan Press

What Happened to Women in France After D-Day in 1944

From Time:
They called it the épuration sauvage, the wild purge, because it was spontaneous and unofficial. But, yes, it was savage, too. In the weeks and months following the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944, Allied troops and the resistance swept across France liberating towns and villages, and unleashing a flood of collective euphoria, relief and hope. And then the punishments began.

circa 1945: Two French men restrain a woman while another crops her hair after she has been accused of collaborating with the Germans during the occupation.

The victims were among the most vulnerable members of the community: Women. Accused of “horizontal collaboration” — sleeping with the enemy — they were targeted by vigilantes and publicly humiliated. Their heads were shaved, they were stripped half-naked, smeared with tar, paraded through towns and taunted, stoned, kicked, beaten, spat upon and sometimes even killed.

One photograph from the era shows a woman standing in a village as two men forcibly restrain her wrists; a third man grabs a hank of her blonde hair, his scissors poised to hack it away. Just as the punished were almost always women, their punishers were usually men, who acted with no legal mandate or court-given authority. Although some were loyal resistance members, others had themselves dabbled in collaborationist activity and were anxious to cleanse their records before the mob turned on them, too. About 6,000 people were killed during the épuration sauvage — but the intense, cruel, public ferocity of the movement focused not on serious collaborationist crime. Instead, it zeroed in on women accused of consorting with the enemy.