Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Ludmila, the first Czech saint, grandmother of Wenceslas, martyred 1100 years ago

Saint Ludmila, the first historically documented Duchess of Bohemia, was martyred 1100 years ago this September – strangled by assassins sent by her own daughter in law. Best known today as the grandmother and educator of the Czech patron saint “good King Wenceslas”, Saint Ludmila was among the few women in history to de facto rule over Bohemia.

Princess Ludmila, as she is also known, was the wife of Bořivoj, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Sometime in the late 9th century, he converted to Christianity during a visit to the court of Great Moravia, and was allegedly baptised by none other than Saint Methodius, the Byzantine missionary known along with his brother Cyril as the “Apostles of the Slavs”.

Little is known for certain about Ludmila’s life before the death of her husband, other than that she was the daughter of a Sorbian prince, likely born in Mělník, central Bohemia, married Bořivoj in her teens, and had as many as six children with him.

But, says Dr Jakub Izdný of the Institute of Czech History at Charles University, author of a new book on Ludmila published ahead of the 1100-year anniversary of her death, she is the first historically known Czech woman, and quite likely the first woman to rule Bohemia.

read more here @ Radio Prague International

Kidnapped, raped, wed against their will: Kyrgyz women’s fight against a brutal tradition

Aisuluu was returning home after spending the afternoon with her aunt in the village of At-Bashy, not far from the Torugart crossing into China. “It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday. I had a paper bag full of samsa [a dough dumpling stuffed with lamb, parsley and onion]. My aunt always prepared them on weekends,” she said.

“A car with four men inside comes in the opposite direction to mine. And all of a sudden it … turns around and, within a few seconds, comes up beside me. One of the guys in the back gets out, yanks me and pushes me inside the car. I drop all the samsa on the pavement. I scream, I squirm, I cry, but there is nothing I can do.”

image by Tatyana Zelenskaya


The man who kidnapped her would soon become her husband. At the wedding, Aisuluu discovered that she was not even the woman he had intended to kidnap for marriage. But in the haste of having to return home with a bride and after wandering the streets all afternoon, the man decided to settle for the first “cute girl” he saw.

This was 1996, and Aisuluu was a teenager. Today she has four children by her kidnapper-turned-husband, to whom she is still married.

Known as ala kachuu (“take and run”), the brutal practice of kidnapping brides has its roots in medieval times along the steppes of Central Asia, yet persists to this day. It has been banned in Kyrgyzstan for decades and the law was tightened in 2013, with sentences of up to 10 years in prison for those who kidnap a woman to force her into marriage (previously it was a fine of 2,000 soms, worth about $25).

read more here @ The Guardian

Taliban death squads ‘trawl porn sites to compile kill list of Afghan prostitutes after US withdrawal'

From the US Sun:
Taliban death squads are trawling porn sites to compile a kill list of Afghan prostitutes and are putting names to faces of brothel workers who have been filmed having sex during the 20-year allied occupation of Afghanistan.

Security sources told The Sun Online that videos featuring Afghan prostitutes have made their way onto niche porn sites and have been discovered by the jihadis.

Our source said the Taliban are now “hell-bent” on “hunting down” the prostitutes to publicly execute or “humiliate for their own pleasure”.

They added the women face being gang-raped by the terror nuts before being “beheaded, stoned or hung”.

Some of the videos allegedly feature the women having sex with Westerners - further raising the fury of the Taliban.

Women are expected to face the most vicious and brutal repression under the new Taliban regime, with strict new rules and morality codes expected to erase them from public life.

“The Taliban are displaying the height of hypocrisy with this horrific witch-hunt," a source said.

read more here @ US Sun

Nicolle Wallace blasts ‘gender apartheid’ in Texas

From the Raw Story -
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace slammed an anti-abortion law passed by Texas Republicans after the United States Supreme Court refused to block the law in a decision released overnight. Wallace said "everything has changed" after the court decision.

"The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, for all intents and purposes has green lit the reversal of Roe v. Wade, not just in Texas, but potentially all across this country," Wallace reported. "In refusing the block the draconian, near-complete ban in Texas, the Supreme Court has signaled its approval for what is the most restrictive abortion law in the country."

Wallace put the Texas law in context as part of a larger effort to restrict women's rights in red states.  "The court's decision last night is part of a larger battle playing out all across the country right now. If you didn't already know, now you do. 97 laws restricting abortion have been passed in 19 states since January of this year in what is the biggest wave of abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973," Wallace noted.

The host described the law as "medieval state of affairs" and said "it feels like gender apartheid on the medical front for women."

read more here @ Raw Story

In India, Muslim women advertised for 'sale' on the 'Sulli Deals' app defy trolls who tried to silence them

From CNN: In India, Muslim women advertised for 'sale' on the 'Sulli Deals' app defy trolls who tried to silence them 

Hana Mohsin Khan says she knows why she was targeted on a website that appeared to offer her for sale.   "(It's) because of my religion. Because I am Muslim," she said.

In early July, the 32-year-old pilot and proud feminist was among more than 80 Muslim women -- journalists, writers and influencers -- whose photos were posted on a mock app called Sulli Deals, a derogatory term for Muslim women typically used by right-wing Hindu men.

Users were offered a chance to "buy" the women like commodities in an auction -- and while the women weren't actually for sale, they say it left them scared, traumatized and angry.

Two months later, the site has been taken down by US-based platform GitHub, but the women are still angry none its creators have been detained or arrested. They say the lack of action highlights the discrimination Muslim women face in Hindu-dominated India, where outspoken advocates of women's rights are singled out for attack on social media.

They say they won't be silenced.


read more here @ CNN

Saturday, August 21, 2021

On the trail of Roesia de Verdun: Ireland’s only female castle builder

From the Irish Examiner:
It feels like glorious serendipity that a project aimed at revealing more about the only woman known to have built a castle in Ireland is taking place during National Heritage Week.

I’m a huge fan of castles and, in particular, of castlebuilder Roesia de Verdun, or Rose of the Rock as she is known locally. The 13th-century noblewoman built an impressive fortress on a rocky outcrop in Castleroche, Co Louth, and then supposedly pushed the master mason out of the window so that he wouldn’t replicate the building’s design.

To this day, one of the castle’s windows is known as the “murder hole”.

Once ensconced in palatial splendour, the formidable Roesia went about her business as a no-nonsense châtelaine, managing her estate and riding out on horseback, in full armour, to keep her Gaelic enemies at bay. Or so the local legend tells us.


As female villains go, here is one unscrupulous and brave enough to head up an entire TV series.

But perhaps it’s time to commission a different kind of series; one that charts the progress of ‘Revealing Roesia’ (pronounced Ro-he-sha), the archaeological survey that is taking place in the castle’s grounds this week.


read more here from Clodagh Finn @ the Irish Examiner
read more on Roesia @ Women's Museum of Ireland

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Bronze Age burial site of powerful woman discovered under ancient palace in Spain

Archaeologists excavating at La Almoloya, Spain, have discovered a grave filled with precious items and the remains of a woman, who may have been a ruler or powerful member of society. The woman was buried alongside a man in a large pot in around 1700 BC, beneath the floor of what may be western Europe’s earliest palace.

The majority of the grave’s objects, and particularly those of silver, were found with the woman, including a rare silver diadem, still worn on her head. Scholars argue that this was a symbol of power in El Argar society, which existed in south-eastern Spain from around 2200 to 1550 BC. Among the woman’s other grave goods were a set of silver earlobe tunnel-plugs; silver spirals that were perhaps part of her headdress; two silver bracelets; a necklace; and a silver ring on one of her fingers. In total, the burial contained about 230g of silver. The man’s objects, by contrast, were less prestigious.

read more here @ The Art Newspaper

BMA Opens Women Behaving Badly: 400 Years of Power and Protest

From the heroines of ancient myth to the female trailblazers of the modern era, centuries of independent and rebellious women have been trivialized or condemned through the degrading myths and gendered stereotypes perpetuated in printed imagery. 

From July 18–December 19, 2021, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents an exhibition that captures visual representations of independent, defiant, and sometimes misunderstood women and explores the role of European and American art in both continuing their condemnation and celebrating their achievements. 


Women Behaving Badly: 400 Years of Power and Protest features over 75 prints, photographs, and books from the Renaissance to the early 20th century drawn from the BMA’s vast works on paper collection and supplemented with loans from the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, Maryland Center for History and Culture, and private collections.

read more here @ Cecil Daily


‘It’s infuriating and shocking’: how medicine has failed women over time

From The Guardian: In the eye-opening new book Unwell Women, Elinor Cleghorn uses her own misdiagnosis at the hands of male doctors as a jumping point for an alarming history lesson.

Cleghorn’s new book, Unwell Women, enumerates a litany of ways in which women’s bodies and minds have been misunderstood and misdiagnosed through history. From the wandering womb of ancient Greece (the idea that a displaced uterus caused many of women’s illnesses) and the witch trials in medieval Europe, through the dawn of hysteria, to modern myths around menstruation, she lays bare the unbelievable and sometimes horrific treatment of women for millennia in the name of medicine.


read more here @ The Guardian