Saturday, April 14, 2018

10th Century Golden Heart Jewel Worn by Bulgarian Empress Discovered in Medieval Capital Veliki Preslav

A remarkable golden jewel in the shape of a heart decorated with a five-color enamel, which may have belonged to the wife of Tsar Petar I (r. 927-969), has been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in Veliki Preslav (“Great Preslav"), Shumen District, in today’s Northeast Bulgaria,which was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018) from 893 until 970.

The heart-shaped 23-karat gold jewelhas been found in the ruins of what is believed to have been an imperial residence of the Tsars of the First Bulgarian Empire who ruled from Veliki Preslav.

The dating and the exquisite craftsmanship of the jewel have led the archaeological team to hypothesize that it may have belonged to Tsaritsa (Empiress) Maria Lakapene, a Byzantine noble, who married Tsar Petar I in 927, taking the name Irene (meaning “peace").

This newly discovered over 1,000-year-old golden heart jewel with glass enamel is believed to have belonged to a 10th century Bulgarian Tsaritsa (Empress). Photo: Shum

Siberia salutes British nurse who set up a leper colony in remote Yakutian village

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Kate Marsden travelled with the active support of both Queen Victoria of England and the Tsarina of Russia, Maria Fedorovna. Much later, after her return, her odyssey would be marred by sexual innuendo, yet this unfair accusation from her detractors can in no way obscure her achievements.

In an era of extraordinary adventurers, hers was especially noteworthy in this era both because she was a woman travelling alone, and due to the sheer scale of her undertaking, to reach one of the remotest areas of Yakutia in search of an elusive herbal cure for leprosy.

By the time of her trip, she had already made her mark, and won the hearts of Russians, as a battle-hardened nurse caring for the wounded during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1878. There are accounts of her, then aged 19, stalking the battlefield at night, bringing relief to soldiers felled during the day's fighting. It was at this time that she had her first contact with lepers, and it was to their cause that she devoted her life's work.

Russian nurses, inspired by Marsden, staffed the colony when it was opened and consecrated on 5 December 1892, the year after her visit. It was completed six years after she left. Astonishingly, it survived not only the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the ensuing Civil War, but lasted to the early 1960s, pioneering the extermination of leprosy in Yakutia.

read more here 

Enriqueta Martí - The Vampiress of Barcelona

Enriqueta Martí. Wikipedia/Public Domain
At the beginning of the 20th century, Enriqueta Martí — a woman from the witchcraft-steeped countryside of Cataluña — came to Barcelona. Rather than “The Pearl of the Mediterranean” she saw Barcelona as “The City of Death”. In the evenings she worked as a prostitute, and during the day she begged for charity. She imposed the same schedule to the children on the street who she used as her own while she begged, the same children who she introduced to prostitution.

It is suspected that she kidnapped a large number of children over a span of twenty years. Martí was never tried for her crimes. She died a year and three months after her arrest at the hands of her prison mates.

read more




Women Firefighters Battle Child Marriage in India

From Link TV:
Battling age-old patriarchal attitudes in her village, Nirma Chaudhary is one of around 30 women recently recruited from Rajasthan's towns and villages as part of an affirmative action policy to encourage women to join the fire service.

The policy reserves 33 percent of government jobs for women candidates and has helped increase the number of women in the police and administrative services but it was not implemented in the fire service until last year.

In a region where child marriages are widespread, the recruitment of these women is not only increasing their participation in a male-dominated profession, but also helping to dismantle a harmful practice which affects generations.

Rajasthan — one of India's premier tourist destinations where millions flock annually for its ancient fortresses and camel-back safaris — records higher than the national average, with 65.2 percent of women being married off as child brides.

read more here




Saturday, March 31, 2018

Constance Markievicz - The Countess Who Rebelled

Countess Markiewicz.jpgCountess Markievicz played an active part in the Easter Rising of 1916, and also in post-1916 Irish history. Born in 1868 as Constance Gore-Booth, Countess Markievicz was sentenced to death for her part in the Easter Uprising but had the sentence commuted to life incarceration on account of her gender. Her life was full of excitement, and many battles for the causes of suffrage for women or for establishing the independence of the Republic of Ireland from the British rule. There no way to make the long story short in her case.

She was an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. In December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position, as a Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, from 1919 to 1922.

read more here 

Armenia’s "Missing Girls"

Image result for sex symbolsSex selection may have been outlawed, but a shortage of women threatens the very survival of a country where boys are traditionally seen as an investment and girls as a loss.

Sometimes it seems there are so many ways to destroy women that the methods become invisible to us. There are some women you will never see because they will never be born.

Amartya Sen talked of “missing women” in his famous 1990 essay because of technologies that enable prenatal sex selection.

Most people are aware this happens in China and India, but I am in Armenia, talking to a nervy woman in her early 30s. We are in the eastern region of Gavar, which is second only to China in the number of female foetuses that are aborted. Here, 120 boys are born for every 100 girls.
Armenia really needs its missing women. “We lose 1,400 girls a year. In the long term who will our boys marry? How will we consolidate the Armenian nation? We are only 3 million people. We have no right to such losses. There will be no mothers to give birth to girls,” says Khalafyan.

read more here @ The Guardian

Admiring Flowers in Ancient Times

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960), it is said that the official Han Xizai loved to burn incense near a flower vase because he liked the combination of the fragrance of flowers and incense. Using flowers in this way was popular during Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), people preferred to chant or sip wine while being surrounded by flowers. Music also goes well with flowers and refined scholars in Song Dynasty loved to play music to flowers. The musical instruments were thought to match different kinds of flowers. According to ancient book records, elegant flowers such as jasmine went well with the musical instrument heptachord.

China's only female emperor Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty was obsessed with flowers. The peony in ancient Luoyang was quite famed and each year when peonies flowered, she would hold celebrations and feasts.

This language was used by only women in China

Nüshu is considered to be the world’s only writing system that is created and used exclusively by women in China.

Originating in China’s Jiangyong county in the nineteenth century, it is endangered today but the country’s local and national authorities are working to revive it.

The earliest known artefact in the Nüshu script is a bronze coin discovered in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province. It was minted during the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, a rebel kingdom in China from 1851 to 1864, which introduced important social reforms and adapted to a certain extent several policies regarding gender equality. The eight characters etched in Nüshu on the coin mean “all the women in the world are members of the same family”.


read more here @ Pulse

Liberia bans female genital cutting in a triumph for local journalism

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left office in January with a tremendous, if overdue, parting gift for the girls of Liberia. During her final hours in office, Africa’s first woman elected head of state signed an executive order abolishing female genital cutting, an ancient practice that is endured by more than half of Liberia’s girls.

The fight is not quite over. Lawmakers have a year to enshrine the ban into law, and it may be many years before the law is properly enforced. But it is a momentous step that seemed unthinkable just six years ago, when an explosive newspaper article propelled the issue onto the national agenda.

No one thinks FGC ended in Liberia with one article, but what it did do was spark a vibrant national dialogue that boosted the work of anti-FGC campaigners.

Africa’s Ebony Life to Develop Female Warrior Drama Series

The film Black Panther has inspired new stories based on real-life events in the ancient Dahomey kingdom in West Africa, particularly an all-female military unit dubbed the Dahomey Amazons.

Academy Award winners Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis have teamed up for The Woman King, a movie based on the Dahomey warriors, and Marvel has also announced a three-part comic series focused on the Dora Milaje to be written by Nigerian-American author, Nnedi Okorafor. The latest production inspired by the Amazons is a television series to be co-developed by EbonyLife TV, a five-year old Nigerian television network, and Sony Pictures Television.


The Dahomey Amazons, were thought to be the only all-female front-line military unit in modern history, a combat force of women who were feared across Western Africa for over 200 years from the 17th century. The Amazons were initially set up as elephant hunters in the 17th century. The group slowly morphed into a military unit and became protectors of monarchs in Dahomey, a kingdom in modern day Benin Republic in West Africa. This group of female warriors were the inspiration behind Wakanda’s Dora Milaje characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Okoye, Danai Gurira, and Florence Kasumba.

Egyptian artwork of female pharaoh Hatshepsut is found

An Egyptian artwork that has been sitting in storage for more than four decades has been found to depict a rare female pharaoh who ruled 3,500 years ago. The sculpture (pictured) depicts Hatshepsut, one of five women known the have ruled the ancient Egyptian empire
An Egyptian artwork that has been sitting in storage for more than four decades has been found to depict a forgotten female pharaoh who ruled 3,500 years ago. 

The rare sculpture, which was discovered on International Women's Day, depicts Hatshepsut, one of five women known the have ruled the ancient Egyptian empire.

Consisting of two irregularly shaped limestone fragments, the sculpture had been gathering dust at Swansea University's Egypt Centre when it was found during a session where students can handle objects in the archives. 

The sculpture has its face missing but traces of hieroglyphs and a cobra icon on the forehead show it is a pharaoh and the text above her head indicates it is a woman. 

Her successful reign lasted two decades, yet history has largely forgotten Queen Hatshepsut who was a powerful woman in a man's world.

read more @ Daily Mail Online


Ghastly 'coffin birth' in a medieval grave

A grave dating back to early medieval Italy is a sad testament to the horrors of medicine in the Dark Ages. The skeletal remains of a young woman were found with the skeleton of a foetus between her thighs - and a hole in her skull researchers have determined was likely the result of a medical treatment.

Found in 2010 in Imola, Bologna, the well-preserved remains were face up in a brick coffin - indicating a proper burial. Initial analysis dated it back to the Lombard period, around the 7th and 8th centuries CE. But the foetus and the head injury warranted further investigation.

Researchers from the University of Ferrara and the University of Bologna determined the woman to be aged between 25 and 35 years, while the foetus - based on the length of its femur - was around 38 weeks. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks, so the mother was extremely close to giving birth when she died.

In the grave, the foetus was in an unusual position - its head and torso between her thighs, but its legs were in her pelvic cavity, as though it had been partially expelled. This, the researchers determined, was consistent with a phenomenon known as "coffin birth".



A mysterious, medieval skeleton discovered in Italy shows signs of a "coffin birth" and primitive brain surgery.Credit: Pasini et al./World Neurosurgery/Elsevier

In a cramped stone grave beneath the medieval town of Imola, Italy, a 1,300-year-old woman lies dead with a hole in her skull and a fetus between her legs.

The fetus, now just a collection of tiny bones trailing below the mother's skeletal pelvis, was likely delivered in the grave through a "coffin birth" — essentially, when an unborn child is forced out of its mother's womb by posthumous gases after both mother and child have died.

It's a rare sight in archaeology — but rarer still might be the peculiar circular wound bored into the mother's skull. 

Archaeologists from the University of Ferrara and University of Bologna attempted to unwind the mystery of this mother's and child's deaths in a new study published in the May 2018 issue of the journal World Neurosurgery. According to the researchers, these remarkable skeletal remains may present a rare Middle Ages example of a primitive brain-surgery technique called trepanation. This procedure involved drilling or scraping a hole into the patient's skull to relieve pressure and (theoretically) a whole host of medical ailments. In this case, sadly, that relief may not have been enough.

read more here @ Science Alert and Live Science

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Islamic Pirate Queen - Sayyida al-Hurra

Image result for Sayyida al-HurraFrom OZY:
Sayyida al-Hurra and her family fled Spain for Morocco, where, after marrying and burying her first husband, she succeeded him as the governor of Tétouan before remarrying — this time into royalty. When Sayyida wed Ahmed al-Wattasi, the sultan of Morocco and ruler of Fes, she became queen of Morocco. 

Holding a grudge, and feeling a great deal of shame over her fallen childhood homeland and its takeover by Ferdinand and Isabella, Sayyida became hell-bent on revenge. She reached out to the famed Barbarossa, an Ottoman admiral and among the most successful corsairs, to ally with the pirates in seizing control of the nearby seas. Sayyida and her privateers would eventually take over the Western Mediterranean during the corsairs’ and Ottomans’ reign in the early 16th century.

To this day, she’s remembered as a free and independent noblewoman who made the king of Morocco come to her to marry — the first time a royal had left the capital to wed.

read more here


Lyudmila Zhivkova, one of Bulgaria's most powerful political figures

Lyudmila Todorova Zhivkova (1942 – 1981) was the daughter of Bulgarian Communist leader Todor Zhivkov. Primarily known for her interest in preserving and promoting Bulgarian arts and culture on the international stage, Zhivkova was also a controversial figure within the former Soviet Bloc because of her interests in esoteric Eastern religion and spirituality.

Zhivkova died at the age of 38 from a brain tumor. Unsubstantiated rumors continue to circulate that perhaps Zhivkova was murdered by those who disapproved of her esoteric interests.

The official cause of death was a brain hemorrhage. Some suggest that the 1973 car collision finally had killed her. Others say it had been a subtle, slow-acting poison (a precursor of the Litvinenko death, perhaps).

Varying accounts describe her as having been depressed in the weeks before her death and having reverted to conventional medicine, including sleeping pills.

Others say that she had been in fine form. They recall her repeating, even in the final days before her death, what had become a favorite saying: “Think of me as fire”.

Who Framed Mary Magdalene?

Image result for mary magdalene movie
Mary Magdalene's character was traduced by Pope Gregory the Great in 591 when he declared her a prostitute, albeit a repentant one. That papal misreading of the gospel narrative and conflation of different Marys, including the one who washed Jesus's feet with her tears, into 'Mary Magdalene the prostitute' became an established myth, with artists down the centuries drawn by the dramatic potential of the sensual temptress.

In an article titled 'Who Framed Mary Magdalene?', Heidi Schlumpf, former editor at US Catholic, noted that since scripture scholars have "debunked" the myth that Mary Magdalene and the infamous repentant sinner who wiped Jesus's feet with her tears are one and the same woman, "word is trickling down that Mary Magdalene's penitent prostitute label was a misnomer. Instead, her true biblical portrait is being resurrected, and this 'apostle to the apostles' is finally taking her rightful place in history as a beloved disciple of Jesus and a prominent early church leader."

The director and crew behind the new biopic hope Mary Magdalene will turn the tables on the received narrative and tell the story of Jesus from a female perspective. The film's aim, as the actor Tahar Rahim, who plays Judas, succinctly puts it, is to help people realise "it's not Mary the prostitute, it's Mary the disciple".


see also: Melisende's Library - Mary of Magdala

Larger than Rajini: The 19th-century stage actress who drove to her performances in a silver chariot

Balamani lived life queen size, literally. A palatial bungalow with a swimming pool, marble fountains, a garden adorned with a swing and peacocks and deer, a domestic staff of over fifty women and much more surrounded her at all times. When she ventured out to make an appearance in public, she did so in style, in a silver chariot drawn by four horses. Her fame grew so much at some point in the early 1900s that the State began arranging special trains to ferry scores of her fans who wanted to watch her plays. 

However, in spite of all her fame, she remained much ostracized by the conservative elite and puritans of that time. History and fate turned cruel to Balamani. Her charity cost her much. Gradually her property eroded and she was forced to move to Madurai. The last days of her life were spent in utter penury.

The movement Balamani started empowered many more actresses to start their own drama troupes in the following decades. She was truly the first celebrated superstar of the Tamil stage.

read more here 
@ Narthaki (book review - Drama Queens: Women who dared to succeed in a man's world)
@ Images dot Dawn (interview with author Veejay Sai)
@ Bengal Buzz (rise of women in Bengali theatre)


Emperor Akbar’s wife Jodhabai was Portugese, not a Rajput princess, claims book

From the Hindustan Times:

Princess Jodhabai, often referred to as one of emperor Akbar’s wives and the mother of his son Jahangir, could have been a fictitious character, necessitated by convenient historical narratives during the Moghul era, a new book has claimed.

Goa-based author Luis de Assis Correia in his book “Portuguese India and Mughal Relations 1510-1735” has claimed that Jodhabai was in fact a Portuguese woman, Dona Maria Mascarenhas, who while travelling in a Portuguese armada along the Arabian sea, could have been captured along with her sister Juliana and subsequently offered to a young Emperor Akbar as a gift by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in the mid-1500s.

Related image“When Dona Maria Mascarenhas arrived at Akbar’s Court, he fell in love with her. He was 18-years-old and he was already married. She was 17 and he said, ‘This young lady is for me’ and her sister Juliana, both of them were lodged in Akbar’s harem,” Correia told IANS on the sidelines of the book release function in Panaji.

The 173-page book suggests that Maria Mascarenhas could have been the mother of Jahangir and was often referred to as Maryum-ul-Zamani and at times, as Jodhabai or Harkabai in popular lore.

read more here 

A royal foxhunt: The abdication of Mary Queen of Scots

From OUP Blog:
Mary Stewart became Queen of Scots aged only 6 days old after her father James V died in 1542. Her family, whose name was anglicised to Stuart in the seventeenth century, had ruled Scotland since 1371 and were to do so until the death of Queen Anne in 1714. Raised in France from 1548, she married the heir to the French throne (1558) and did not come to Scotland until after he died in 1561. By then a six-foot redhead, Mary looked every inch the queen and, with a flamboyant lifestyle suited to an age when appearance was everything, she acted like one. Astute and energetic, she managed to juggle the deeply divisive forces of religious and political faction within her realm. More than this, she trod a diplomatic path between Scotland’s far more powerful neighbours: England, for whom the Scots were an abiding nuisance, and France, where her heart, her roots, and many of her best alliances lay.

see also:
Melisende's Library - Mary Queen of Scots
Executed Today - Mary Queen of Scots


Darwin’s ‘Forgotten Women’

The Darwin and Gender Project (part of the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University Library) will be adding to Wikipedia for the first time the profiles of ten women who made intellectual contributions to Darwin’s work, and enhancing existing Wikipedia profiles for seven others, including his beloved wife Emma.

As well as the ‘Women in Science’ Wikipedia editing event on March 8, the day also marks the completion of the three-year Darwin and Gender Project undertaken at the University of Cambridge.

The ground-breaking project, supported by The Bonita Trust, has looked at Charles Darwin's impact on attitudes to gender and sexuality. The project makes available for the first time in a single resource Darwin's private and largely unpublished writings relevant to all aspects of gender; in particular, a large body of the great naturalist's own letters.


read more here 
@ University of Cambridge - Darwin's Women
@ University of Cambridge - Darwin Correspondence Project
@ University of Cambridge (youtube) - Darwin's Women
@ The Smithsonian - The Women Who Challenged Darwin's Sexism

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Aliki Diplarakou: Greece's First 'Miss Europe'

The first Greek woman to be crowned ‘Miss Europe’ was Aliki Diplarakou way back in February, 1930.

However, this Greek beauty was far from simply being a pretty face. Well-educated, independent and articulate, Diplarakou confounded prejudices about beauty pageant contestants.

She was a polyglot who spoke four languages and later toured the U.S. giving lectures on ancient and modern Greek culture.

A daring spirit, later in the 1930s she also dressed up in men’s clothes and smuggled herself into the monks’ sanctuary on Mount Athos which had stood “inviolate” by women since the time of the Byzantine Empire, save for twice harboring female refugees.


Old Kingdom style tomb for woman discovered in Egypt's Giza

An Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered an Old Kingdom tomb of a lady named "Hetpet," who is assumed to have been a top official in the royal palace during the end of the Fifth Dynasty, according to information released by Egyptian authorities on Saturday.

"In ancient Egypt, it was uncommon for a woman to to be buried separate from her husband. Only the princesses of the ruling family had their own graves. Building a tomb for a woman, who was not a part of the royal family, was rather uncommon. This shows the status of women at that time," said Hasan Ramadan, the supervisor of the Egyptian team's excavations.


read more here 






No place for strong women? A look inside the Vatican walls

The Vatican made the new when .... the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which is headed up by Irish Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who made headlines last week when he refused permission for Mary McAleese and two other speakers to speak at an event in the Vatican to mark International Women's Day next month.

The ban on Mary McAleese highlighted the question of how women are regarded by the Vatican. Tina Beattie, professor of Catholic Studies at Roehampton College in London, is involved in the Voices of Faith conference on International Women's Day. Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence programme last week, she warned that the women invited to events at the Vatican tend to be handpicked and are known to be the most conservative voices who will tell the organising prelates what they want to hear.









Mystery of a Grave

From The Hindu:
Whose is the mystery grave next to the one of Razia Sultan? Various conjectures have been made by historians and visitors. According to Gaynor Barton who, along with another Englishwoman, Laurraine Malone, wrote a book, “Old-Delhi-Ten Easy Walks”, Razia was murdered by robbers while resting under a tree in presumably present-day Haryana. Dr Ishwari Prasad, the noted historian, however states that it was not robbers but some villagers who killed her and her lover, Altunia, probably to find favour with her jealous siblings. How did she then come to be buried behind the tomb of Hazrat Turkman Bayabani? Who brought her body there and what happened to the body of Altunia?


Razia was known not as Sultana but as Sultan because in those days the orthodox courtiers of her father would not have willingly followed one who manifested her womanhood in an all-male preserve. She gave no quarter to her enemies, including her brothers, Ruknuddin, debauchee among them. Like Antony, making his oration at Caesar’s funeral and inciting the Romans against the conspirators of the great conqueror, Razia, dressed in the robes of a mystic, addressed the citizens of Delhi, asking them to avenge the death of her slain younger brother, Muizuddin. The mob did just what it was supposed to do and Razia ascended the throne. But her reign of three years was short and tragic, even though she turned her defeat at the hands of the powerful Governor of Lahore into a personal victory by winning his hand, just as she had earlier gained the support of the Abyssinian master of the stable, Yaqut. But both she and the Turkish Altunia were defeated and later put to death by a hostile mob in 1240 AD. That in brief is the history of the woman who lies under a shabby tomb. Few people in the neighbourhood know its relevance, though there is a grave in Karnal also said to be hers.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Maria Solina - The Most Famous Witch of Galicia


Witchcraft has a very special place in the culture of Spanish Galicia. One of the most famous people related to the old magical traditions is Maria Soliña, a Galician witch who lived during the 17th century. Despite her openness about supernatural practices, the intelligence of this remarkable woman allowed her to avoid the stake during the Inquisition.






We can discern the following from what little is known of this woman:

  • she was born in Cangas de Morrazo sometime in the last half of the 16th century
  • in 1617 a squadron of Turkish pirates reached the Vigo estuary, where it was the local women led the defence
  • she married Pedro Barba, a fisherman from the village, who with his brother created a viable fishing company whilst Maria held estates in her own right
  • the most important possession of the family were the rights of presentation in the Collegiate of Cangas de Morrazo and in the Church of San Cibrán de Aldán (by this right, the successors of the founder of a church could propose its sccessor when it became vacant, and in turn reap the benefits that the benefice generated rather than the Church)
  • purportedly in her 60s, she was accused of witchcraft (22nd Jan 1622) and brought before the Inquisition in Compostela (though it was said that this was merely a ruse to cover up the real reason for her imprisonment - the acquisition of her wealth and benefices, which naturally reverted to the Church)
  • she was tortured and later revealed that she was indeed a witch (or meigas)
  • she survieved the Inquisition to be released to a life of poverty
  • the date of her death is unknown




Yet Another Far-Traveling Bronze Age Teenage Girl is Discovered in Denmark

It must have been an exciting trip all those millennia ago when a 16- to 18-year-old girl traveled from elsewhere in Europe to Jutland in Denmark, only to die not long after. The tall teen was given an elite burial, and her remains were preserved somewhat by an oak coffin and burial mound. Researchers are studying the Skrydstrup Woman to determine exactly where in Europe she came from. Possibilities include Germany, the Czech Republic, France, or Sweden.

She is not the only far traveler to be found in Jutland, an area that shows evidence of Bronze Age wealth for its residents. The Egtved Girl, who also died around age 16 to 18, also came from far away, analysis of the amount of strontium in her bones and teeth has shown.



The stories of the two women do diverge somewhat. While the Skydstrup Woman made just one long journey and then stayed there in Jutland, the Egtved Girl apparently traveled a lot and was in Egtved only a few months before she died. She was buried with two men nearby, a further indication of her high status.

The women who smuggled Crown Jewels from Dunnottar Castle


The Crown, sword and sceptre, the oldest Royal Regalia in Britain, were moved to Dunnottar near Stonehaven for safekeeping following the coronation of Charles II on January 1 1651. They were hidden in sacks of wool by Katherine Drummond of Moneydie, Perthshire, and carried to Aberdeenshire through territory occupied by Cromwellian forces.

But with Cromwell’s army advancing north, their safety could not be guaranteed for long and in September 1651, Dunnottar, home of the Earl Marischal, was besieged for eight months. 

Four women laid out an audacious plan to move the Honours under the nose of the army with a female servant to assist in the mission.

"On 3d January 1652, Lambert again summoned the castle of Dunnottar to surrender upon honourable conditions, which were again rejected by the Lieutenant-Governor ; and, after this period, the castle was subjected to a close blockade In this emergency female ingenuity discovered a remedy, where masculine valour and prudence might totally have failed.

The Countess-dowager Mareschal, by birth daughter to John Earl of Mar, was probably the planner of this successful scheme. The immediate agent was Christian Fletcher, wife of the Rev. James Granger, minister of KinnefF, a small parish church within four or five miles of the castle of Dunnottar, who obtained from the English general permission to pa}' a visit to the Governor's lady.

Mrs Ogilvy acted in concert with the Lady Mareschal, but it was agreed that her husband should not be admitted into the secret, in order that, upon the surrender of the castle, an event now considered as inevitable, he might be enabled to declare with truth that he knew neither when, how, nor to what place, the Regalia had been removed. " (Source: Description of the Regalia of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, 1875)
read more 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Early 1900s Women Had an Ingenious Method for Fending Off Gropers

Hatpin-wielding women were some of the first voices to call rude men out on their behavior, all while using a tool from the seemingly innocent and feminine world of fashion.

As women gained independence and started walking and traveling alone during the late 1800s and early 1900s, hatpins provided a quick line of defense from the unwanted touches and words of passing men. These lecherous men were known as “mashers,” and considered to be “low-down, cowardly cumberers of the earth,” as a 1904 blurb in the Los Angeles Herald put it. “Any woman with courage and a hatpin can prove it,” the paper added.

Drawing of women observing a diminutive man through a magnifying glass, about to poke the man with a hat pin, 1903. (Credit: The Library of Congress)


How these six women's protests changed history

The march follows a long tradition of protests organized by women. Many happened in the US, including the march on Washington in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1978, and the Million Women March, a movement of African American women which took place in Philadelphia in 1997. And Black Lives Matter was spearheaded by three black women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

read more about:
  • Women’s march on Versailles: 5 October 1789
  • Women’s suffrage parade in Washington DC: 3 March 1913
  • Women’s march on Pretoria: 9 August 1956
  • Icelandic women’s strike: 24 October 1975
  • Protests of abortion ban in Poland: October 2016
  • Argentinian women against violence: October 2016

Women Got ‘Married’ Long Before Gay Marriage

In 1880, on the first anniversary of her marriage, author Sarah Orne Jewett penned a romantic poem to her partner. “Do you remember, darling, a year ago today, when we gave ourselves to each other?” she wrote. “We will not take back the promises we made a year ago.”
Two young women, 1896. (Credit: Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images).

Jewett wasn’t addressing her husband—she was writing to her future wife, Annie Adams Fields. Over a century before same-sex marriage became the law of the land, Jewett and Adams lived together in a “Boston marriage,” a committed partnership between women.

They weren’t the only ones: For several years near the turn of the 20th century, same-sex marriage was relatively common and even socially acceptable. These women shared kisses, hugs and their lives—but today, few remember these pioneers of same-sex relationships.

see also:


PNG women’s wartime memories cast new light on Kokoda and the Pacific War

November 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Kokoda Track Campaign. The campaign involved a series of battles between Allied and Japanese forces during the second world war, along the mountainous 96km track connecting Kokoda Station, in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, with the capital Port Moresby.

Women are barely represented in the popular museum at Kokoda Station, or in the Australian-funded war memorial in the provincial capital, Popondetta.

As in all contexts of remembrance, the experiences of Oro women do not add up to a cohesive, singular narrative. Rather, these and other wartime memories represent multiple accounts of a complex, transformative time that is remembered in sometimes ambivalent ways.

Zonia Baber - The Woman Who Transformed How We Teach Geography

On n the morning of October 30, 1916, Zonia Baber stood in front of four hundred government officials and leaders in the arts and sciences and told them to go to hell.

Baber’s unapologetic speech was emblematic of her work as both a geographer and activist—two parts of her life that often blended and intertwined. As a geographer, she worked tirelessly to reform geography education to make it more meaningful and worthwhile for students. At first glance, her legacy appears to be that of an educator and reformer. Yet at the same time, she transformed the field of geography, by seeing it not as a means of colonization but of connection and understanding between cultures.

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Top 10 Japanese women throughout history

From SoraNews24:
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Every nation has women who are remembered throughout history for the impact they had on their country. Today we present you with 10 Japanese women–game changers, if you will–who fundamentally altered the way the nation sees or experiences the world today. Most of these women have achieved fame abroad as well, another hallmark of success in Japan. Many names you’ll recognize, but a few may be a surprise. But they are all well-known among the Japanese and are looked up to and praised by women and men throughout the country.



International Women's Day: 50 Who Made US Political History | Time

From Time:
The history of women in American politics is just as long as that of the nation as a whole. Even in the days before the Constitution guaranteed women the right to vote, many tried hard to make a difference as best they could — and succeeded, not only by breaking glass ceilings and proving that women could handle the job but also by introducing important legislation, standing up for their fellow citizens’ rights and much more.

(L-R) Shirley Chisholm, Jeanette Rankin, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Woodhull.

Whether they held office at the local and federal level, whether they were appointed to the most high-profile jobs in politics or to a role many would never hear about, and even if they merely ran and lost, each made her mark. Some of them wielded their influence in the nation’s earliest days and others have only recently been elected to office. And, of course, that history is still being written by many women who have yet to make it to the history books.

Victoria Police - 100 Years of Women In Policing

Victoria Police celebrated 100 Years of Women in Policing in 2017 - read more here @ Victoria Police

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The Shocking Infanticide Trial That Exposed Sexual Harassment in 1868

When Susan B. Anthony took the stage at New York’s Cooper Union on the night of December 1, 1868, the activist wasn’t there to fight for the ballot—she was there to demand the release of a convicted murderer from prison. As she took the stage, she told the audience about the case of Hester Vaughn, a woman tried and convicted of murdering her own baby. But Vaughn wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer, Anthony insisted, she was yet another victim of a system that denied women their basic human rights.

Though her champions helped win her release, they were unable to solve the problems faced by a poor woman in the 19th century. But Vaughn’s infanticide trial became the spark for a discussion about the very morality of a legal system that seemed to punish women who were victims—a conversation that continues to this day.