Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Is this Welsh princess the first British woman author?

Image result for the mabinogionBritain's earliest known woman writer is identified as a 12th century Welsh princess who died fighting the Normans. Princess Gwenllian, daughter of the King of Gwynedd, is said to be the author of the Mabinogion, the 800-year-old collection of Celtic tales of romance and adventure, whose unknown author has always been thought to be a man.

In his book to be published later this month, Dr Andrew Breeze argues that Gwenllian is the author of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, the main tales of the Mabinogion, which tells of princes and princesses and daring deeds in a Celtic world of heroism, chivalry and magic.

Dr Breeze, a Celticist and English literature lecturer, says Gwenllian is one of the greatest writers. "It is sad to think that the remains of the finest of Welsh prose writers lies in an unknown spot in the battlefield where she was killed," he said.

read more here 


Sunday, June 2, 2019

The 15th Century Royal Mistress Forced to Walk London’s Streets in her Underwear | Ancient Origins

Image result for jane shore
Elizabeth ‘Jane’ Shore was an Englishwoman who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries. She is best remembered as one the many mistresses of the English king Edward IV. Yet, in spite of Edward IV’s notoriety as a womanizer, Jane remained as the king’s mistress until his death. The king himself described Jane as being ‘Merry in company, ready and quick of answer’, and was under her influence. 

Jane used her influence over Edward IV to the good of others, by appealing to the king on behalf of those who have displeased him. She seems to have been successful in this, as many were pardoned thanks to her intercession. It is unclear, however, as to Jane’s influence in court affairs and it is unlikely that she played a major role in the politics of the time.

After Edward IV’s death, however, Jane Shore quickly fell from power. Although she too was accused of witchcraft, there was not enough evidence to convict her of this crime and she was charged with harlotry (sexual immorality or prostitution). She was sentenced to do the traditional public penance for harlotry at St. Paul’s Cathedral . Dressed only in her kirtle and carrying a taper, Jane was forced to walk through the streets of London barefooted. After Jane completed her public penance, she was sent to Ludgate Prison.

Towards the end of her life, she met Sir Thomas More, who wrote about her in his ‘History of King Richard the Third’. Jane died at the age of 82 around 1527 and was buried in Hinxworth Church, Hertfordshire.

read more here @ Ancient Origins



Henry VIII 'may have divorced Anne of Cleves because she already had a baby with someone else'

From The Telegraph
Henry VIII may have set aside his fourth wife Anne of Cleves because she had already conceived a baby with someone else, the author and historian Alison Weir has claimed.

Portrait of Anne of ClevesThe German aristocrat was Queen of England for just seven months before the marriage was declared unconsummated and annulled in July 1540.

Henry claimed he was so repulsed by Anne’s body that he could not fulfill his marital obligations, and to get out of the union, alleged she was still pre-contracted to the Duke of Lorraine’s son because no document could be produced that dissolved the betrothal.

But in her most recent new novel ‘Anna of Kleve’ Weir claims that Henry may have realised his new wife was not a virgin but did not want to cause a scandal or damage his alliance with Cleves by revealing her impropriety.

read more here @ The Telegraph

The Lioness of Brittany and her Black Fleet of Pirates

In the midst of the Hundred Years War between England and France, an enraged French woman named Jeanne de Clisson took to the sea with a fleet of warships, where she mercilessly hunted down ships of King Philip VI to avenge her husband’s death. For her ferocity, she eventually acquired the name The Lioness of Brittany. Jeanne and her crew would slaughter the crew of the King’s ships, leaving two or three sailors alive, so that the message would get back to the King that the Lioness of Brittany had struck once again.

The Lioness of Brittany

It should be noted that actual verifiable references relating to Jeanne’s life and exploits are limited, though they do exist. Historical records include a French judgement of late 1343 condemning Jeanne as a traitor and ordering the confiscation of her lands. In 1345, records from the English court indicate Edward granted her an income from lands he controlled in Brittany and she is mentioned in a truce drawn up between France and England in 1347 as a valuable English ally. There is also a 15 th century manuscript, known as the Chronographia Regnum Francorum, which confirms some of the details of her life.

read more here @ Ancient Origins

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Urdu’s Unsung First Female Poet

The first woman poetess of Deccan remains unsung and uncrowned. Not many are familiar with her name either. In fact, many think it is Mah Laqa Bai Chanda, the famous poet courtesan, who is the first woman poet. The debate persists. But, the fact remains that it is Lutfunnisa Imtiaz who is the first Sahibaan-e-Diwan (woman poetess).

Well-known scholar, Naseeruddin Hashmi, has done extensive research to show that Lutfunnisa clinches this honour by a whisker. Her book of poems was published in 1796 while Mah Laqa’s works were published a year later in 1797. The Deccan region, where Urdu took deep roots, has the distinction of being home to the first male and female poet of Urdu — Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah and Lutfunnisa Imtiaz respectively.

Sadly, not much is known about Lutfunnisa. Like many famous personalities, her life is shrouded in a veil of secrecy. The little that is known is also drawn from her poems.

read more here @ Telangana Today

Ennigaldi-Nanna, curator of the world's first museum

Ennigaldi-Nanna is largely unknown in the modern day. But in 530BC, this Mesopotamian priestess worked to arrange and label various artefacts in the world's first museum.

Ennigaldi-Nanna was the priestess of the moon deity Sin, and the daughter of the Neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus. In the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, around 530BCE, a small collection of antiquities was gathered, with Ennigaldi-Nanna working to arrange and label the varied artefacts.

This collection was considered by the British archaeologist, Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, to be the earliest known example of a “museum”.

The museum, over 2,500 years old, was centred on cultural heritage, and it is thought to have perhaps had an educational purpose. Along with her other roles, Ennigaldi-Nanna is believed to have run a scribal school for elite women.

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When considering the discovery, Woolley noted that the discovery of a museum associated with the priestess was not unexpected, given the close connection between religious specialists and education. He also commented on the “antiquarian piety” of the time of the museum’s construction — an interest in history was a common feature among monarchs from the Neo-Babylonian period.

read more here @ The Conversation

Malawi Chief - Theresa Kachindamoto

Female chief comes to power, annuls 850 child marriages and sends girls back to school. Theresa Kachindamoto refuses to see young girls in the district she governs in Malawi robbed of their childhoods and a chance at an education. She's made it her mission to save them from the horrors of child marriage - and she doesn't mind ruffling some feathers to make sure her laws are enforced.

Kachindamoto never expected to become chief since she lived in a different town, had so many older siblings, and had 5 of her own children to care for. But her reputation as “good with people” led to her surprise election and her people told her she would have the job “whether I liked it or not”, she recalled.

read more here @ Relieved


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Gentleman Jack | the real history behind BBC1's drama about Anne Lister

From Radio Times
Gentleman Jack
The real history behind BBC1's Gentleman Jack about Anne Lister's coded diaries starring Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle.

“Anne Lister is unique and fascinating,” Sally Wainwright begins in the foreword to Anne Choma’s biography, Gentleman Jack. “She is known primarily as a diarist, and as a great lesbian lover who recorded her adventures with other women in secret code, but there are a myriad other things to know about this extraordinary woman.”

The screenwriter’s new BBC1 drama Gentleman Jack gives us a window into a crucial moment in Anne Lister’s life, introducing us to Suranne Jones as the 19th century English landowner. But in case that leaves you hungry for more, we’ve answered some of the big questions about the true story behind the drama…

read more @ Radio Times

Ancient, Pregnant Native American Woman Who Was Shot and Killed by Arrows Discovered by Archaeologists

From Newsweek
An archaeologist in Pennsylvania is starting to unravel the mysterious burial of an ancient, pregnant Native American woman who appears to have met a violent end.

Bioarchaeologist Robyn Wakefield-Murphy found four arrowheads in the torso of a woman who hailed from Pennsylvania's Monongahela archaeological tradition. Wakefield-Murphy described her research in a poster at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in March.

The young woman’s bones were originally uncovered in the 1950s excavation of a site in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Monongahela, who lived from about 1050 C.E. to 1635 C.E., according to Ohio History Central, built relatively large villages featuring dome-shaped houses. They cultivated crops like maize and would have traded with other Native American groups. Beyond western Pennsylvania, the Monongahela tradition spread to parts of eastern Ohio, western Maryland and West Virginia. The group is named for the Monongahela River that cuts through West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.
Image result for Monongahela native people
read more here @ Newsweek

Bones unidentified for centuries may belong to one of England’s most historically important queens

Image result for emma of normandy
Early England’s forgotten monarchs are set for a high-profile comeback – more than 1,000 years after they died. Scientists are investigating the remains of up to 18 Anglo-Saxon kings and queens to try to determine their identities, potentially including the pivotal figure of Queen Emma. Emma of Normandy was the wife of two kings and the mother of two others, and one of the most significant figures of late Anglo-Saxon England.

The trove is believed to be the largest assemblage of medieval royal skeletal material ever scientifically analysed anywhere in the world. The detailed scientific investigation into the bones will take several years to complete and should enable scientists to determine, in some cases, which bones belonged to which kings.

read more here @ The Independent

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Minnette de Silva: Sri Lanka’s first woman architect built a lasting legacy in a man’s world

From Scroll.in

Dismissed for being a woman, Minnette de Silva still paved the way for modern Sri Lankan architecture.

A woman of many firsts, her single biggest feat is also one that has been largely forgotten: she was Sri Lanka’s very first female architect.


De Silva was also the first Asian woman to become an associate of the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects, and liked to refer to herself as “Asian Woman Architect”, for its defiant ring in a male-dominated profession.

Despite being a visionary architect, de Silva’s career was stymied by her reputation as difficult and unreliable. According to those who knew her working style, de Silva had a creative temperament but struggled with time management. Her projects would often take a lot of time to complete, making it difficult for her to retain clients.

read more here @ Scroll.in


A brief history of vaginal douching, and why women used disinfectants as a contraceptive

From Inews

According to a market research report published by Technavio, the ‘vaginal odour’ business is expected to increase by five per cent every year for the next five years, which will translate to an annual incremental growth of $1,000,000 [£764,000].

Business may be booming, but it stinks. Have you ever wondered why the vulva requires a multi-billion-dollar industry and a range of specialist cleaning equipment to stay match fit when the penis can make do with a swill in the sink? Supermarkets do not stock peen clean, bollock balm, or scrotal soap, and yet ‘feminine hygiene’ products can fill an aisle.

Dr Jennifer Gunter, gynaecologist and author of ‘The Vagina Bible’, campaigns tirelessly to dismantle myths around vulval health. When she’s not shining a light on jade love eggs, she’s calling out the quacks who believe the vagina needs steam cleaning. “The myth of the dirty vagina or rogue uterus has been around since the time of Hippocrates,” she explains. “Medicine knows the vagina does not need cleaning or steaming, but patriarchal tropes are effective. As is scaring women about their normal, healthy vulvas and vaginas.” Sadly, there is a lot of money to be made by convincing women they stink, and the ‘vaginal odour business’ has a very long history indeed.


read more here @ Inews and @ Daily Mail

Japan's shrinking royal family reignites debate on women's role

From Nikkei Asian Review:
The ascension of the new emperor has left Japan with just three eligible heirs to the throne, raising serious concerns about stable Imperial succession and likely rekindling a debate about expanding the role of royal women, including allowing female emperors.

But such a change is firmly opposed by traditionalists within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains reluctant to embrace the idea, making an immediate change unlikely.



The 2017 legislation that permitted now-Emperor Emeritus Akihito to abdicate called for the government to consider ways to address the succession issue "speedily" after the law's implementation and report its findings to parliament. The legislation specifically mentions the possibility of allowing women to remain in the Imperial family after marriage and form their own houses.



read more here @ Nikkei Asian Review and @ Citizen Digital

The Royal Mistress: Often the Most Powerful Person in a King’s Court

From HISTORY
It was pretty common for kings to have a mistress in those days, in part because marriages were arranged for political gain and not personal companionship. “They would often be paired with someone who they may not have known very well or they may not have liked,” says Danièle Cybulskie, author of the forthcoming book Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fictions. Adultery was still frowned upon, and kings could be deposed if they appeared to act too immorally, but people mostly tolerated a king having one mistress at a time.

Diane de Poitiers visiting sculptor Jean Goujon. 

read more here @ HISTORY

Examining Claims that Bring Into Question Amelia Earhart's Piloting Skills

One of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century and beyond: What happened to Amelia Earhart?

81 years after her disappearance during a flight over the massive Pacific Ocean, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, the legend endures. Yet many historians believe that not only was the American icon an overrated pilot, but she wasn’t in the same class as some of the other female pilots in the early days of aviation.


Simply put, Earhart’s actual skill at 10,000 feet couldn’t quite match her sheer courage and talent for creating headlines. Early on, Earhart showed an alarming propensity for wrecks, though twisted metal and bruised ego aside, the mishaps weren’t serious.

read more @ The Vintage News

Monday, April 22, 2019

How Women Are Leading the Sudanese Revolution

From Common Dreams
Since December 2018, protests in Sudan that sparked over the tripled price of bread have turned into nationwide protests against the nearly three-decade rule regime of Omar Al Bashir. 

Bashir’s government has used repressive tactics and measures to quell the protests. More than 40 protesters have been killed, hundreds detained and tortured.

The brutal response did not stop women from placing themselves firmly at the heart of the protests.
They lead the march chanting a Zagrouda, an ululation commonly used by women in the Arab world to express celebration.

During the month of March, women wore the traditional white thobe in support of the protests and women’s rights. Social media platforms filled with pictures of female protesters wearing the white robe, using the hashtag #whitemarch  (#مارس_الابيض)

Women who protest regularly face police brutality. Authorities have fired tear gas and live ammunition and have even threatened with rape. Women have also reportedly been beaten, their faces have been branded and their hair cut off inside detention centers. Every day new footage of Sudanese women getting beaten and humiliated circulates on social media.

read more here @ Common Dreams

What We Thought We Knew About Gender In Ancient Egypt Could Be Wrong

From IFLScience
According to a study published in the journal Bioarchaeology of Marginalized People, the teeth of a 4,000-year-old woman show distinct patterns suggesting she was a craftsperson. Many have assumed this profession was restricted to men at the time. 

The oddity was discovered during a routine analysis of a collection of bones held at the University of Alberta. Like others in the collection, those of the woman were excavated in Mendes, an ancient Egyptian city in what is now Tell El-Ruba. But while the others were given a burial style that suggests they were middle class, she was found in a more elaborate wooden coffin, complete with a bronze mirror, alabaster vessels, and cosmetics. 

But that was not all that was unusual.

read more here @ IFLScience

An Ancient Roman Convert to Judaism Who Became a “Mother of the Synagogues” » Mosaic

From Mosaic
In the first centuries of the Common Era, many Roman Jews buried their dead in elaborate catacombs, many of which can still be seen today. One sarcophagus bears the name of Beturia Paulina, whom the inscription—from the 1st century CE—describes as having converted to Judaism sixteen years prior to her death at age eighty-six. Carly Silver writes:

Based on her name, [Beturia Paulina] likely grew up worshiping the gods of the Roman empire. Her epitaph was written in Greek transliterated into Latin. . . . As many converts to Judaism do today, Beturia Paulina adopted a name from the Jewish tradition. The epitaph mentions her as nominae Sara, or “(going) by the name of Sara.” . . . .
Perhaps most intriguingly of all, Beturia Paulina received the title of mater synagogarum Campi et Volumni, or “mother of the synagogues of Campus and Volumnius.” This terminology is multifaceted. For one thing, it implies that the idea of the synagogue . . . as a gathering place for people of the Jewish faith existed throughout Italy. And networks of synagogues existed throughout Rome itself, creating links among communities of the faithful. Campus, or “field,” probably refers to the geographic location of one center of worship, perhaps the synagogue near the Field of Mars. [Most likely, the second] synagogue was named for an individual or family called Volumnius. . . .
So Beturia Paulina was clearly closely associated with multiple synagogues in Rome. But what does her title, “mother of the synagogues,” refer to? The late historian Louis Feldman suggested that such monikers were given to women—independently of men—who gave generously to the synagogues in question. [Another] scholar, Bernadette Brooten, posited that their contributions very well might have gone beyond the monetary. Perhaps these women worked actively in these communities as leaders.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

“A girl without education is nothing in the world”

By the time she was 13 years old, Vumilia had supported herself through primary school by collecting and selling firewood. Now she faced an even greater challenge. After weeks of anxiety, Vumilia left home at 4.30 a.m. to walk the 10 km to secondary school; she had no pencils, no uniform and no money to pay her school fees.

Twelve-year-old Husna had no choice but to leave school to work, helping to support her grandmother and siblings on her US$14 a month working as a housemaid. Husna would wonder what lay ahead of her: “I was imagining that my life would be horrible. Because even if I stopped being a maid,where would I go? What would I do?”

Catherine also saw a bleak future. After the death of her father, her uncles took her family’s land. Some days Catherine would manage to go to school; on others she would sell food by the roadside. “I would see other children studying and all the time I would just look at their exercise books and try to learn. I was imagining my future as going into a big hole where no one could help me. A girl without education is nothing in the world. Education is everything.”

Vumilia, Husna and Catherine all live in Tanzania in East Africa. With an economy based largely on agriculture, Tanzania has among the lowest rate of secondary school enrolment in Africa. Many girls from poor, rural families can’t afford the cost of going to secondary school and leave home to become ‘house girls’ in urban centres. There, they sometimes experience abuse and exploitation, returning home infected with HIV, or pregnant. Sadly, Catherine’s prediction of a desperate future is all too accurate.

Image result for camfedFortunately for Vumilia, Husna and Catherine, they are now among over 40,000 Tanzanian girls who in the past decade have been helped into secondary education by the non-profit organisation Camfed (Campaign for Female Education), with whom the REAL team has a research partnership.

read more from University of Cambridge

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lucetta Scaraffia resigns from Vatican women's magazine over pressure

The founder and staff of an all-female monthly Vatican publication have stepped down en masse, citing what they call a newly difficult work environment and a Vatican attempt to undercut the women’s voices on sensitive issues, including sexual abuse of nuns.

“The whole newsroom has resigned,” Lucetta Scaraffia, who launched Women Church World seven years ago, said in a phone interview.

Scaraffia was known as a comparatively liberal voice inside the city-state’s ancient walls, advocating for a larger role for women in the church and, more recently, devoting editorial space to the long-hidden issue of the abuse of nuns by clergy members.

But Scaraffia said she perceived discomfort with her publication’s work, and she noted that the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, had been publishing pieces that contradicted the Women Church World editorial line. She said her publication’s editorial freedom had also been threatened with an “attempt” to put L’Osservatore Romano’s new top editor, Andrea Monda, in charge of Women Church World.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Shoulder bone of Scots hero St Margaret removed by archaeologists

From The Scotsman
Image result for st margaret of scotland
Part of St Margaret’s shoulder bone has been removed from its reliquary by archaeologists seeking to find out more about the life of one of Scotland’s most venerated figures.

The experts will use 3D scanning technology to try to discover more about the 11th century Queen of Scotland’s lifestyle, as well as producing an exact replica which people can hold without fear of breaking an ancient artefact. St Margaret, known as the Pearl of Scotland, led a pious lifestyle and gave much help to the poor, as well as introducing refinements to the country, such as the first use of knives and forks. Now, Lauren Gill from the University of Glasgow and Martin Lane from Cardiff Metropolitan University have had the opportunity to begin researching the holy relic which is kept in an ornate reliquary at St Margaret’s RC Memorial Church in Dunfermline.

After being made a saint by Pope Innocent IV, a shrine was built at Dunfermline where she laid intact until the 16th century when Mary, Queen of Scots asked for her head to be sent to her, to bring her help as she gave birth to her son who would become James VI. Her head was then taken to a Jesuit College in Douai, France, but was never seen again after the French Revolution. As the Reformation threatened to destroy Catholic churches and abbeys the rest of her body had been secreted away in the 16th century, ultimately being taken to Escorial Monastery by Philip II of Spain.

read more here 




One year after her assassination, Marielle Franco’s spirit energizes Rio’s struggles for justice

One year on from the brutal assassination of Rio de Janeiro city council member Marielle Franco, enduring questions about who ordered the hit have become a rallying cry for the marginalized groups she championed.

A 38-year-old black gay politician who was born in Rio’s poverty-stricken Maré favela, Franco was a tireless opponent of the city’s use of heavily armed paramilitary militias. The militias police the city’s sprawling favelas, and have often been accused of violently terrorizing and murdering the city’s poor and LGBT citizens.

This week, two former police officers with connections to President Jair Bolsonaro were charged with killing Franco. One suspect, Ronnie Lessa, lived in the same condominium where Bolsonaro owns a home. The other, Elcio Vieira de Queiroz, has a photo of himself embracing Bolsonaro on his Facebook page. And according to police, the daughter of one of the suspects had dated one of Bolsonaro’s sons, who are both politicians themselves.
Image result for marielle franco
Activists allege that the former policemen were likely employed as contract killers on behalf of the militias, which Bolsonaro and his sons strongly support. Bolsonaro’s failure to condemn Franco’s murder — as well as his numerous comments and policy decisions targeting women, gays, and black Brazilians — have infuriated the late council member’s supporters.

read more here

Monday, March 11, 2019

Russian archaeological find solves 13th-century mystery

From Phys Org News
Rescue archaeology work conducted in the city centre of Yaroslavl prior to installing a new sewer system has turned up an ancient leaden seal from the turn of the 13th century. It once belonged to the spouse of Vladimir Grand-Prince Constantine Vsevolovodich and the mother of the first Grand-Prince of Yaroslavl (Vasilij Vsevolodovich, Duke Of Yaroslavl). Thanks to this find, we finally know the name of the Grand-Duchess—her name was Maria (or quite possibly: Marina Olgovna Princess Of Kursk, 1211-1279).

"In Ancient Rus, everyone in a position of authority—Grand-Princes and Princesses, and the upper ranks of the clergy—had their own seal, which was affixed to all official documents and decrees. We have several thousand such seals from the pre-Mongolian era—but to find one with a female owner is very remarkable indeed. Scientists are only aware of a few dozen examples," said Dr. Pyotr Gaidukov, Deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology.

Dr. Gaidukov is a leading authority on stamps and seals of Ancient Rus, and is responsible for the attribution of the latest find.

Russian archaeological find solves 13th-century mystery

The seal was found in Yaroslavl during preliminary work for putting through a new sewerage system to the Metropolitan bishop Chambers (Mitropolichy Palaty)—the oldest structure in the city. Yaroslavl's city centre has only recently marked its thousandth anniversary—it is a Federal-level Heritage Site that also falls under UNESCO Heritage Protection.

This special status means that any building work in the centre of the city must first undergo archaeological inspection.

Read more 

Kenya: Married Women Get Nod to Inherit Their Fathers' Land

A court ruling asserting that married women qualify to inherit properties of their fathers and should not be excluded during distribution has stirred debate between defenders of women's and men's rights.

The ruling was made by the Environment and Land Court in Nyeri, and stopped a woman from disinheriting her step-daughters. Justice Lucy Waithaka held that married daughters are also entitled to inherit their father's estate, contrary to customary law and many traditions in the country. "Even children born out of wedlock have a right to inherit their parents' property," she added.

A feminist glossary to help you fight for equality

From USA Today
Like any "ism," feminism is rich with jargon, which can lead deeply personal conversations to turn unnecessarily dense. While some terms are entrenched, others are contemporary additions to an evolving lexicon. To help you break through, here are definitions for everything from "feminism" and "misogyny" to "bropropriated" and "feminazi."  Helping you make sense of feminist jargon so you can fight sexism and oppression - read more here @ USA Today


Note: In my day, feminists agitated for gender equality, reproductive rights, domestic violence, changes to family law.  As times changed, the whole look of feminism also drastically changed, being appropriated by others for their own ends, and at times emerging in some bastardised form, unrecognisable to those who trod the path decades ago.  Each generation must find its own way, but there is no need to be disrepectful and forgetful of who to blazed the trail before you.

Trail-blazing women of Kew

From BBC News
The first female gardeners at Kew had to garden in bloomers, but in other ways were ahead of their time.

Women gardeners were employed for the first time at Kew [1896], and on equal pay, decades before women gained the vote.

The first female gardenersMade to wear the same garb as male gardeners so as not to distract their colleagues, their brown woollen bloomers soon made the news.

As the satirical magazine, Punch, put it, "They gardened in bloomers the newspapers said. So to Kew without waiting all Londoners sped."

After a blaze of publicity, the powers that be changed their minds and skirts were reinstated.

Annie Gulvin, Alice Hutchings, Gertrude Cope and Eleanor Morland, who trained together at Swanley Horticultural College, became the first female gardeners at Kew.

Their days were long, digging in the dirt from 6am to 6pm in the summer months. They were expected to spend their evenings attending lectures or studying in the library.

"As far as we can tell, the women were employed on exactly the same terms as the men - and they appear to have been paid the same salary - it was quite a low salary for that day - but it was, as far as we can tell, exactly the same as the male gardeners," says Kiri Ross-Jones.

read more here 
@ List of Professional Gardeners
@ Great Women Gardeners
@ Gardening Women


also
Gardening Women: Their Stories From 1600 to the Present by Catherine Horwood
Women in Landscape Architecture: Essays on History and Practice edited by Louise A. Mozingo & Linda Jewell

Who Run the World? See All the Women Who've Made Hollywood Herstory

E! News is taking a look back at some of the most iconic and influential women in Hollywood and there are a lot. We've managed to narrow it down to just under 50 fierce females who made history in the entertainment industry and they are so impressive.

Females who took charge, broke down barriers and transformed the entertainment industry. Some risked their jobs to change the way the Hollywood studio system ran while others were trailblazers in front of the screen and were the first to win awards that men had been earning for years prior.

read more here @ E! News Australia

Kitty Marion: Radical Suffragette

Kitty Marion (Katherina Maria Schafer), by Criminal Record Office, after  Unknown photographer - NPG x45561
Criminal Records Office c.1913
Kitty Marion (1871-1944) was born Katherina Maria Schafer in Westphalia in 1871. Her mother died when she was two years old and when she was fifteen went to live with her aunt in England. She learnt English and it became clear that her ambition was to become a music hall actress, which she achieved three years later in 1889 when she was cast in a pantomime in Glasgow. 

She joined the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) in around 1908, taking part in their marches on parliament and selling copies of their journal 'Votes for Women' in the street. When the Actress' Franchise League began in 1909, she was one of the first members. That same year she was arrested for the first time. The second arrest came in Newcastle a few months later when she threw a stone through the window of a post office, an offence for which she received a month's prison sentence. In Holloway jail she was force fed and reacted by setting her cell on fire. Further attacks on property ranging from breaking windows (Mar 1912) and a fire alarm (late 1912) to burning properties (Levetleigh House in Sussex in April 1913, the Grand Stand at Hurst Park racecourse in June 1913, various houses in Liverpool in August 1913 and Manchester in November 1913). These incidents resulted in a series of further terms of imprisonment during which force-feeding occurred followed by release under the Cat and Mouse Act

Fellow WSPU workers finally took her to Paris in May 1914. At the outbreak of war in Aug 1914, Marion's position became doubly uncertain: firstly, there was some question, soon dropped, of returning the suffragette prisoners to jail to serve the rest of their term; secondly Marion was a German by birth and therefore suspect. Despite briefly resuming her career on the stage, she was finally deported, going to America in 1915 where she would spend most of her remaining years. There she quickly became active in the family planning movement and after 1917, she began working with the Birth Control Review published by New York Women's Publishing Company under Margaret Sanger. Marion, with her experience selling 'Votes for Women', became a street hawker, selling the Review in New York for 13 years. She was arrested several times for violating obscenity laws, and was imprisoned for 30 days in 1918. She was granted US citizenship in 1924. 

She returned to London in 1930 to attend the unveiling of the statue to Mrs Pankhurst and began work in the Birth Control International Centre under Edith How Martyn. However, she finally returned to New York where she worked in Sanger's office once more before retiring to the Margaret Sanger Home in New York State where she died in 1944.

read more here:
@ Time



read also:
  • Death in Ten Minutes: Kitty Marion: Activist. Arsonist. Suffragette by Fern Riddell
  • The Company She Kept: The Radical Activism of Actress Kitty Marion from Piccadilly Circus to Times Square by Christine Woodworth
  • Rise Up Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes by Diane Atkinson
  • The Suffragette Bombers: Britain's Forgotten Terrorists by Simon Webb

see also:



The Pioneering Women of the Champagne Industry, From Clicquot to Bollinger


The "merry widows" of champagne houses like Veuve Clicquot, Champagne Pommery, and Champagne Bollinger helped make bubbly the most celebrated drink in the world.

imageThe 17th century Benedictine monk Dom Perignon may get the credit for developing the methode champenoise, but when it comes to creating the iconic sparkling wines that fill our flutes, we owe the lion's share of our thanks to the ladies.

Beginning in the early 19th century it was the women running some of history's most recognizable champagne houses who pioneered the attributes we consider mainstays today. From the iconic bottle shape to the clarity of the vintage, from that crisp, brut flavor profile to the marketing of champagne as a wine of luxury, it was the so-called "merry widows" of champagne who turned bottles of bubbly into a world-famous celebratory sip.

Why widows, you ask? Unlike many women of the era, widows were allowed the independence necessary for running a business. While unmarried women were dependent on their fathers or brothers (they couldn't even get a bank account) and married women were forced to rely on their husbands's money and power, widows were allowed to own property and businesses in their own right, control their own finances, and move freely in society.

So ..... raise a glass to these "veuves" (the French word for widows), heroines of the cork and coupe.



Hidden women of history: Hsieh Hsüeh-hung, communist champion of Taiwanese self-determination

Every so often a woman takes up arms to lead a spirited struggle against invaders and occupiers of her homeland. Such women usually wind up dead at an early age, but they capture the imagination. 

The Taiwanese revolutionary Hsieh Hsüeh-hung (1901-1970) is such a figure, although like most aspects of Taiwan’s history her significance is contested. Born in Taiwan, buried in Beijing, Hsieh was a communist and also an advocate of Taiwanese self-determination. In the history of world communism, she is noted for being one of the founders of the Taiwanese Communist Party, established in 1928.

Hsieh Hsüeh-hungIn the annals of the Taiwan independence movement, Hsieh has emerged as a heroine of the 1947 uprising, and now the subject of an annual commemoration held in Taiwan on 28 February. In 1948 she founded the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government Alliance.

Hsieh Hsüeh-hung’s fate – in life and in death – was determined by the shifts in attitude towards Taiwanese independence on the part of ruling powers, and by the status of its local left-wing movements. To some degree, she is not so much a woman hidden in history as one rendered visible by it.

read more here @ Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

read more in the series "Hidden Women of History