Thursday, September 30, 2010

Katherine Plantagenet

From the Graphic & Historical Illustrator (1834):

Henry of Huntingdon on William I

Henry of Huntingdon, Historum Anglorum, Lib. VI. adJin., speaking of the reign of William I.
For it is the nature [of the Normans] that, when they have so cast down their enemies as to add no more to their burdens, then they proceed to oppress each other, reducing their own folk with their lands to poverty and devastation. This appeareth more and more plainly in Normandy, England, Apulia, Calabria, Sicily and Antioch, lands of great fertility which God hath subjected to the Normans. In England, therefore, unjust taxes abounded in those days, and abominable customs. All the great folk were so blinded with greed for gold and silver, that the poet's word was true of them :
" All must needs get and get, while none asks how his gains are gotten." The more talk there wras of right, the more acts of unrighteousness ; those who were called Justiciaries were the fountainhead of all injustice. Sheriffs and reeves, whose duty was to dispense law and justice, were more savage than the thieves and robbers, and more barbarous than the most barbarous of all. The king himself had farmed out his lands as dearly as he could ; he would transfer them to another who offered more, and again to another, ever making light of his own covenant, and greed)* of greater gain. So in this year 1087 God sent plagues of sickness and famine upon England; so that he who escaped the fever died of hunger. He sent also tempests and thunder, whereby many men were slain ; nor did He spare either oxen or sheep.

Germanic Law & Marriage

From "Law, Sex & Christian Society in Medieval Europe" by James Brundage:

Early Germanic law recognized three legitimate methods of contracting marriage: by capture (Raubehe), by purchase (Kaufehe), and by mutual consent (Friedelehe). Bride purchase involved an agreement between two families. An exchange of property was an essential part of Kaufehe and the Germanic law codes encouraged this type of marriage. Most of the codes envisioned a threestage process of contracting Kaufehe. It began with an agreement (Muntvertrag) between the suitor or his father and the father or guardian of the prospective bride, concerning the compensation to be paid to the woman's family by the groom's family. This stage of the process corresponded more or less to desponsatio in Roman law. Muntvertrag was followed by a public transfer (Anvertrauung) of the bride to the head of the groom's family. This was followed by a wedding ritual (Trauung), during which the members of the bride's clan stood in a circle around her to witness the transfer and to signify their consent to the transaction. The process involved conveyance not only of the person of the bride to the family of the groom, but also of legal power (Munt, mundium) over her to the husband and his family group.9 The bride's ties with her family of origin were, in effect, severed, and she was integrated into her husband's family. This type of union, involving active participation and control by the families of the parties, was the preferred type of marriage.

Marriage by capture or abduction (Raubehe) was accomplished by forcible abduction and ravishment without the consent of the woman or her family; it is therefore sometimes referred to as marriage by rape. The law codes discouraged such marriages, and some of them imposed heavy fines on men who forcibly married free women. A man who did not wish to risk the legal and physical hazards of marriage by abduction and who was either too poor, too powerless, or too mean to purchase a bride had the alternative of marrying by consent. Friedelehe may in fact have been an outgrowth of Raubehe. The term Friedelehe designated marriage by elopement, to which the bride consented, but her family did not. It was distinguished from Kaufehe by the lack of a betrothal or dowry agreement and by the fact that the husband did not acquire Munt over his wife. In Friedelehe the woman's Munt remained with her family: she continued in effect to be a member of her family of birth, even though she lived with a man who belonged to another family.

Tacitus on German Women

From "Germania" by Tacitus:
According to Tacitus, the Germans strongly disapproved of extramarital sexual adventures by their womenfolk. Women who transgressed the rules had their heads shaved, were driven from their homes, and received a public beating. There is no indication in Tacitus's account, however, that sexual adventures by men were similarly discouraged. Tacitus professed great admiration for the purity of sexual mores among  Germanic women. His account implicitly contrasted their behavior with that of upper-class Roman matrons of his own time. Germans, according to him, did not allow their wives to gad about unescorted or to participate in late-night parties and drunken revels, nor did they consider adultery smart and up-to-date. Tacitus portrayed the sexual habits of the Germans as upright and austere and marriage as a solemn undertaking in which monogamy was implicit, at least for women.

Sisters of the Road

The image of the American and British woman of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries often centers on home and hearth. Writer Beatriz Badikian-Gartler celebrates an altogether different woman in her Oct. 15 Evenings at Butterworth presentation, "Sisters of the Road: Travel Writing by Women Throughout History."

Badikian-Gartler takes her audience on an imaginative journey via readings interspersed with brief commentary on the nature of the travel-writing genre. She puts particular focus on the distinctive qualities of women travel writers of the past, and the ways in which they differed from their male counterparts.

Born in Buenos Aires, long-time Chicago resident Badikian-Gartler holds a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and lectures throughout the Midwest on poetry and literature.

Beatriz Badikian-Gartler in "Sisters of the Road: Travel Writing by Women Throughout History," 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15, Butterworth Center, 1105 8th St., Moline, Ill. No charge for admission; refreshments following. Event funded by the William Butterworth Memorial Trust.

For more information, call (309) 743-2701; or visit her online at

Warrior Women - Red Power Movement

During the height of political unrest in Indian country during the 1960s and ’70s, men such as Russell Means, Dennis Banks and Clyde and Vernon Bellecourt were the media-recognized leaders of Red Power, the grass roots movement marked by its activism and a resurgence of Indian cultural identity, pride and traditionalism.

But away from much of the media attention stood such women as Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lorelei DeCora, Janet McCloud, Pat Bellanger, Lakota Harden, and LaNada Means War Jack. These were just a few of the Indian women in the trenches of the Red Power movement.

Now, the untold stories of Native women activists will be documented in an upcoming film, “Warrior Women,” a one-hour documentary to be aired on PBS. University of South Dakota Assistant Professor Elizabeth Castle, the film’s writer and producer, eyes a 2012 completion date for the film, which is in pre-production. The project is the recent recipient of a grant from Native American Public Telecommunications.

Hollywood History - Pioneering Women

From the LA Times Blog:
Since the project was launched in 1988, 32 women have participated in the series, including Oscar-nominated actress Piper Laurie of "The Hustler" and "Carrie" fame. The 78-year-old recounted some of her memorable moments for this week's Classic Hollywood column, but more of her story is available through the Legacy Series.

Besides Laurie, other subjects have included screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan ("Mask"); actress/producer/director Debbie Allen; Oscar-winning editor Anne V. Coates ("Lawrence of Arabia"); Fay Wray of "King Kong"; and actress Gloria Stuart, who died this week at age 100.

Producer Ilene Kahn Power has been the chair of the series for the last decade.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Israel: Women Protest Discrimination

From Ynet News:

Dozens of women and men marched in an ultra-Orthodox area in central Jerusalem on Wednesday, in protest of the discrimination between men and women on the streets of the Mea Shearim neighborhood during the Sukkot holiday.

The police set up barriers near the Shabbat Square, and the protestors retraced their steps and ended the rally. Loud arguments were heard between the protestors and local haredi residents.

At the start of the procession, its organizers stressed that the protest would be held "without any unnecessary provocations" and expressed their hope that they would not encounter violence.

The march was stopped several meters before the Shabbat Square. Large police forces were dispatched to the area, including mounted police, and the demonstration was dispersed shortly afterwards.

German Man Admits To Assault on 1000 Women

From the Times of India:
A man in Germany has admitted to raping or sexually assaulting more than 1,000 women by copying a trick from the movie " The Silence of the Lambs".

Forty six-year-old Joerg P admitted to more than 1,000 offences against women in a crime spree that spanned 22 years. The trial has begun in Germany, Daily Mail reported.

Joerg used a trick from film "The Silence of the Lambs" to lure his victims into feeling bad for him.

While in the movie, the killer fakes a broken arm to get his prey to help him and then hits them on the head, Joerg pretended to have a similar injury while knocking on doors and asking to use the toilet.

He has not only confessed to 20 rapes in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, he has also asked for another 1,000 sex offences to be taken into consideration.

He admitted that he has a burning hatred of intelligent women and told a court in Dusseldorf that he had an insatiable need to degrade them.

India: Women Banned From Temple

From NDTV:
A temple in Ambala has stopped the entry of women because the priests believe women practice black magic inside the temple. More shockingly, the women of the area are divided over this and with some even supporting it.

Kawaljit Kaur who used to come to the temple every morning is furious and says, "I don't understand why they have done this. They should take back this decision."

The new order prohibiting the entry of women also stipulates a fine of Rs. 500 for women who violate the order.

The temple's priest Narinder Sharma says, "Women are not pious. They used to come here and practice black magic. We can't stop some women so it is a ban for all".

US: Headscarves & Discrimination

From One India:
Professor Sonia Ghumman from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business has completed an intensive marketing research on the effects of Muslim women who wear hijabs (head scarves) in the U.S.

Ghumman's research examined the expectations that women who wear hijabs have regarding their employment opportunities.

"We surveyed 219 American Muslim women on their job seeking experience," said Ghumman.

"The findings reveal that Hijabis are not only aware of their stigma of being Muslim, but also expect to be treated differently in the workplace as a result of this stigma," she said.

The survey found 30 percent of women who wear hijabs were concerned about applying for work, 88 percent said they were not willing to take off their hijabs when applying for work.

63 percent said they were aware of incidences where women wearing hijabs were refused work, and 22 percent said they were personally denied work because of their attire.

Gene Simmons Campaigns For Women's Health

From the Daily Telegraph:
All things considered, it seems a little odd that Kiss axeman Gene Simmons, whose family life is laid bare in the dubiously titled reality series Gene Simmons: Family Jewels, has suddenly positioned himself as a campaigner on women's health.

Simmons has been derided for saying he's been "happily unmarried" to actor Shannon Tweed for 24 years.

Tweed, he maintains, is the best friend he's ever had. And when she found a lump in her breast - since given the allclear - it threw the family, including Gene, son Nick and daughter Sophie, into a spin.

Simmons, who was in full Kiss make-up backstage at a gig when Shannon called to say she was having a biopsy, cancelled touring commitments and flew home to be by her side during the trauma.

Commonwealth Games: Women Lured By Easy Money

From Sify News:

An estimated 40,000 women from India's northeast were recruited by various escort services for the Commonwealth Games, sparking fears that a vast majority of the women could be engaged in a prostitution racket in New Delhi during the 12-day mega event, rights groups and a minister said here Tuesday.

'We are indeed worried with girls from the northeast, numbering somewhere around 40,000 recruited by various agencies, luring them of good money and job opportunities... it has all the possibilities of being engaged in an organised prostitution racket,' Hasina Kharbih, chairperson of Impulse NGO Network, a rights group working in rescuing women trafficked from the northeast, told IANS.

According to inputs with the Impulse NGO Network and the Meghalaya government, gullible girls from the eight northeastern states, including Darjeeling and Siliguri in West Bengal, were wooed by smart operators by putting out newspaper advertisements - promising lucrative remuneration and good assignments during the Games.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Caroline Chisholm (1807-1877)

"The Emigrant's Friend"

Caroline was born near Northampton, England, the daughter of a farmer. Aged 22yo, Caroline married Captain Archibald Chisholm of the East India Company - she married him on the condition that her philanthropic work should continue. He was transferred to Madras (1832) - here Caroline founded the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers.

Caroline Chisholm arrived in Sydney Australia (1838) from India with her husband Archibald. She had neither means nor training but was a woman of immense courage and integrity and possessed great love for suffering humanity. Caroline decided to go to the aid of immigrants when she observed single girls being dumped on the wharves with nowhere to go She found a group of 64 girls sheltering in the Rocks area with only 14s 3d amongst them. Caroline set up the Female Immigrants Home with the support of the clergy, then the Governor's wife and finally the Governor himself.

Through her work at the Female Immigrant Home, Caroline gave protection and shelter to hundreds of young women, some of whom she accompanied into the country areas where she found employment for them - this often being followed by marriage. Caroline soon became concerned for families (c.1842) who having migrated in the hope of better things found themselves destitute.

Caroline returned to England (1846) and became the publicist for Australia. She formed a society to send out groups of families to Australia and succeeded in dispatching some 3000 persons in 5 years. Caroline agitated for and achieved better conditions on the vessels carrying the immigrants. As well as free passages for emigrants wives and children, she established the Family Colonisation Loan Society. When she first chartered a ship "Slains Castle" which sailed (1850) from England to Australia, she personally supervised the embarkation and appointed a reliable surgeon to control rations. Two more ships followed.

Caroline's plans for the new families alarmed the established farmers and squatters in Australia who felt threatened by the successes in farming achieved by the new arrivals. Caroline's Catholic faith and the possibility of her bringing Irish Catholics to Australia alarmed the mainly Scottish Presbytarians, including the New South Wales Governor John Dunmore Lang.

In 6 years Caroline assisted 11000 people to settle as servants, farmers, and wives in New South Wales (Australia) whilst her criticism, energy and experience contributed to the changes in the selection of migrants, their treatment on the voyage out and their reception in the colony.

In England Caroline maintained her work of assisting migrants. She was not impressed by the news of the gold discoveries, which stimulated emigration, as she feared that they would cause instability in the fragile society. Caroline's husband Archibald went to Australia (1851) to work as her colonial agent while she kept sending out families and girls from the British Isles, including a party of Jewish girls. In England, Caroline continued to agitate for lower colonial postal rates, for the introduction of colonial money orders and for better shipboard conditions. To this end, she ensured the passing of the Passenger Act (1852).

Now famous and supported by many powerful figures, including the writer Charles Dickins, Caroline returned to Australia (1854) - she was imbued with the optimistic but never proven idea that the wealth of a society lay in the settling of many small farmers and she worked for the unlocking of the lands.

Caroline continued to work despite illness and needy circumstances. She and her husband lived on a pension in Liverpool (1866) and then in Highgate, London. Caroline died in poverty and obscurity in England (1877) - the inscription on her grave at Northampton reads "The emigrant's friend". There was no mention of her husband who not only shared her grave but also her work.

Molly Morgan (1762 - 1835)

City Foundress

Molly Morgan was transported to Australia (1790) for stealing hemp from a linen factory. Joined by her husband, Molly opened a shop in Parramatta (suburb of Sydney). She then escaped from Australia, without her husband, in the ship the "Resolution" and returned to England. In England she bigamously contracted a second marriage, but was then accused by this second husband of burning down their house. Molly was charged and transported again to Australia (1804).

Back in Australia, Molly acquired another husband (her third) and together they bought some land. However, Molly was caught branding government cattle as her own and she was sent to Newcastle Penal Colony. For her good behaviour, Molly was sent with a party settlers to the Maitland area (1819) and was given some land for settlement. Here Molly opened a wine shanty which became quite popular due to it being on the route to the north of Australia.

Aged 61yo, Molly acquired a fourth husband - and one that was much younger then herself. her shanty became the Angel Inn, which prospered as more lands were granted to her. Molly's business expanded and her Inn marked the beginnings of the City of Maitland. After her own creature comforts were dealt with, Molly helped those less fortunate, dealt out summary justice and medicine to the sick, and donated freely to set up church and schools.

Rose Scott (1847-1925)

Social Reformer and Suffragette

Rose Scott was born in Glendon, New South Wales (Australia). Like many women of her time, Rose campaigned for suffrage (1891) in Australia, concentrating on better working hours and conditions for shop girls. Through her work and in recogninition of her work, Rose was appointed the first Secretary of the Women's Suffrage League (New South Wales, Australia), and President of the Prisoner's Aid Society.

Rose was also influential in establishing the Childrens' Court (1918). She was a staunch pacifist during the Boer and First World Wars. Rose founded the Women's College at the University of Sydney. Rose was successful in achieving her aim due to her great initiative and her knack for co-operating well with both men and women.

Mary Wade (1778-1859)

Pioneering Australian Matriarch

From the age of 10yo, Mary spent her days sweeping the streets of London as a means of begging. Young Mary was one of a large family of a single mother living in poverty. With another child - said to be 14yo - Mary stole the clothes off a small 8yo girl and pawned them. However, young Mary was turned in by yet another child; she was arrested, and brought before the court. Both young girls were condemned to be hanged. Mary spent 93 days in the notorious Newgate Prison till her sentence was commuted to transportation for life, to Australia. Mary was transferred to the ship the "Lady Juliana" of the Second Fleet.

Mary arrived in Australia barely 11yo (c.1789) - the voyage from England to Australia took 11 months. It was not an unusual practice for the officers aboard to take a mistress from the female convicts for the duration of the voyage. Once in the colony, most female convicts were assigned to free-men - ostensibly as house servants. There was no record of who was Mary's master, nor was there any record as to who the father of her first two children was. The first child was born on Norfolk Island before her 15th birthday (c.1793), the other was born two years later (c.1795).

Mary was taken from Norfolk Island to Sydney. Here she lived in a tent, where she gave birth to a third child by a emancipated Irish transportee, Teague Harrigan - who joined a whaling expedition three years later. After this Mary married, and lived with her husband Jonathon Brooker near the Hawkesbury River (1809). It was here that Mary raised her family which numbered 21 children, seven of which lived to have their own children.

When Mary became emancipated, she and her family moved and established a farm at Airds, in Campbelltown, New South Wales. Mary and her husband owned 30 acres (1822) until bushfires destroyed their property (1823) - and Jon's livelihood (he was a carpenter by trade and his tools were all destroyed). The family was destitute. But they recovered. Mary (50s) and Jon (68yo) went on to own 62 acres in Illawarra (1828). Here Mary lived till Jon's death (1833), and then her own death (1859). Mary's funeral service was the very first to be held in St Paul's Church of England church, Fairy Meadow - her son donated the land on which the church was built.

Margaret Catchpole (1762 - 1819)

Female Convict & Midwife

Born in Ipswich, England, Margaret grew up a country girl. Margaret showed courage and daring when she rode bareback to fetch a doctor for a sick neighbour. In her mid-20s, Margaret linked up with a smuggler and stole a horse to meet him in London. She was sentenced to death for horse-stealing. However, Margaret was reprieved and gaoled for 7 years. After 2 years in prison, Margaret's lover arranged for her escape but he was killed in the attempt and she was re-arrested. Again sentenced to death, Margaret was again reprieved - this time she was transported to Australia for life.

Margaret arrived in Sydney aged 39yo (c.1801). She was assigned as a servant to a government official. Two years later, Margaret proved so hardworking and resourceful that she was sent to Richmond Hill to act as midwife to a Mrs Rouse, farmer's wife. The farmer was so impressed by her that he made Margaret farm overseer.

Margaret later opened a general store and acted as local midwife. She died, probably from pneumonia, after making a midwifery call in bad weather.

Trial of Bessie Weir (1619)

Extract from "Ancient Criminal Trials In Scotland - Volume II" by Robert Pitcairn, Esquire (1830)

Trial of Bessie Duncan (1617)

Extract from "Ancient Criminal Trials In Scotland - Volume II" by Robert Pitcairn, Esquire (1830)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roman Circus uncovered at Outlane

Huddersfield Examiner - News - Local West Yorkshire News - Roman circus uncovered at Outlane

Local archaeologists have discovered Huddersfield’s long-lost circus or sporting arena, built by the Romans in the village of Outlane nearly 2,000 years ago.

And they believe crowds of up to 2,000 would pack into the amphitheatre to watch horsemanship displays by the Roman cavalry.

The soldiers were based at the Slack Roman fort, built to protect the military road from Chester to York.

The fort was fully active from about AD 80 to AD 140 and housed a cavalry unit that could spring into action to quell any uprising by the local Brigantian tribe and was active in the Roman conquest of the north.

Financial News: Most Influential Women

Financial News is set to unveil its list of the 100 most influential women in European financial markets, which includes chief executives, managing directors and senior executives from across the industry.

Of those on the fourth annual FN100 Most Influential Women list, more than a fifth are CEOs, a third are managing directors, 10 are regional heads and 15 are heads of department. The remainder are chairmen, vice chairs, chief financial officers, chief investment officers or chief operating officers. They work in investment banking, asset management, private equity, pensions, regulation, wealth management, hedge funds and trading.

This year's list reflects the industry's continued focus on regulation, the increased role of corporate governance and scrutiny by pension funds as asset owners, as well as the hard work that has gone into restructuring companies in the wake of the financial crisis.

Afghan Women Commissioned Into Army

From BBC News:
The first female Afghan officers since the early 1990s have been commissioned into the army.

Twenty-nine women passed out from a class of new recruits who hope to take the lead role in security from foreign forces by 2014.

Their recruitment is part of a huge US-funded training programme. Women were forbidden from serving by the Taliban.

The aim is to strengthen army and police ranks so that 150,000 foreign forces can begin to withdraw.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Swiss Women Dominate Cabinet

From BBC News:
Switzerland's parliament has voted a new minister into the government, giving the cabinet a majority of women for the first time.

The election of Simonetta Sommaruga, 50, a Social Democrat, is a historic step in a country where women only got to vote on a national level in 1971.

Ms Sommaruga becomes the fourth female in the seven-member Federal Council.  Another absent post was filled by a man - Johann Schneider-Ammann.

The seven members of the Swiss cabinet have recently always been drawn from the four leading parties.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

USA: Teresa Lewis To Be Executed

From AOL News:
Barring intervention from the governor or Supreme Court, the state of Virginia plans to execute a woman later this month for the first time in nearly a century.

Teresa Lewis, a 41-year-old grandmother with such a low IQ that she's classified as borderline mentally retarded, is set to die by lethal injection on Sept. 23. She'll be the state's first female prisoner put to death in 98 years.

The two triggermen, one of whom Teresa Lewis was having an affair, got life in prison. But a judge deemed Lewis the crime's mastermind and called her "the head of this serpent," and sentenced her to death, according to Time Magazine.

If Lewis' sentence is carried out, it would be the 12th execution of a woman in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Samurai Mothers & Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning isn't just a problem for post-industrial city kids — the children of samurai suffered from it too, a new study suggests. An analysis of bones of children who lived as many as 400 years ago showed sky-high lead levels, which scientists now think came from their mothers' makeup.

At the castle town of Kokura, in the modern city of Kitakyushu, samurai and their families were buried in large clay pots at a local Zen Buddhist temple. A team lead by Tamiji Nakashima, an anatomist at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, studied the remains of 70 samurai men, their wives and children. The researchers sampled the lead in rib bones, and X-rayed some of the children's long arm and leg bones looking for signs of lead poisoning.

Diary of a 19th century Military Wife

Modern military wives typically don't ship out alongside their husbands, but the young wife of a British naval officer did just that during the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century. Now a historian who tracked down 40 unpublished volumes of her diaries has gotten the go-ahead to write a book investigating her life.

Elizabeth "Betsey" Wynne accompanied her husband aboard his warship during a disastrous British assault on the Spanish Canary Islands. She spent the voyage home-nursing the wounded Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson, whom lost his right arm during the attack and would go on to become one of England's greatest military heroes of all time.

Brasil's Dilma Rousseff

Locked up and tortured by the dictatorship which ran Brazil during the 1970s, she was once branded by a prosecutor as the "Joan of Arc of subversion".

Yet in less than a month's time Dilma Rousseff is on course to become Brazil's first woman president, entrusted with running the largest and fastest-growing economy in Latin America.

Her first election campaign has gathered the apparently unstoppable force of a steamroller and Ms Rousseff is likely to win the first round of voting outright.

If she pulls it off, it would seem like a miracle for a 62-year-old apparatchik who has never before been elected to any political post and who was unknown to most of Brazil's 192 million people a few months ago - until you look to see who is behind the wheel of the steamroller.

Euphrosyne of Polotsk

The daughter of Duke Svyatoslav (Wenceslaus) of Polotsk, Euphrosyne became a recluse at an early age at the Holy Wisdom Cathedral in Kiev. She copied books and gave her earnings to the poor; she founded a monastery at Seltse.

In the early 1170's, she took a pilgrimage to Constantinople and to the Holy Land. Patriarch Michael II gave her an icon of the Theotokos, which is now called the Virgin of Korsun. The Crusader king, Amaury I, received her in the Holy Land.

Euphrosyne died at Jerusalem (1173), and her body was returned to Kiev for burial.


The Story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges (Reference: Ruth 1-4).

Elimelech, a native of Bethlehem, migrated to Moab at a time of famine. He was accompanied by his wife, Naomi, and his two sons, both of whom married Moabite women.

Elimelech and his two sons died in Moab. Naomi decided to return to her own people in Bethlehem. Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law insisted on going with her.

On their return, the two women found themselves living in poverty; and Ruth, as a foreigner, had additional pressures to cope with (See Note).

In due course, Ruth met Boaz. Not only was Boaz a rich and generous farmer living in Bethlehem, he was a distant relative of her husband's family. Moved by her loyalty to Naomi, Boaz fulfilled his family duty and married Ruth, even though Ruth was not an Israelite.

Ultimately, Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David.

At the time that the story of Ruth was written, ethnic purity was being enforced among the returning exiles. Many existing mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews were being deliberately broken up, and there was increasing hostility against people of all other races.

Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Nurse & Battler Against Polio (1880-1952)

Elizabeth Kenny was born in Warialda, New South Wales, Australia, the daughter of an Irish farmer. She spent her childhood on the Darling Downs. Elizabeth had little education and there is no record of any formal training or of her registration as a nurse.

Elizabeth Kenny was a self appointed nurse (c.1910), working from the family home as Nobby on the Darling Downs, and riding on horseback to give her services without pay to anyone who called. She used hot cloth formentations on the advice of Aeneas McDonnell, a Toowoomba surgeon, to treat symptomatically puzzling new cases (c.1911) diagnosed by him telegraphically as infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis - polio). The patients recovered.

During WW1, using a letter from McDonnell as evidence of her nursing experience, Elizabeth Kenny enlisted and was appointed staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service, serving on troopships bringing home the wounded. She invented and patented a stretcher for the transporting of the wounded. She was promoted to Sister (1917), a title she used for the rest of her life.

Elizabeth Kenny established (1932) a backyard clinic at Townsville to treat long-term polio victims and cerebal palsy patients with hot baths, forments, passive movements, the discarding of braces and calipers and the encouragement of active moments. Doctors and massuers ridiculed her, considering her explanations of the lesions at the site of the paralysis to be bizzare. Thus began a long controversy at the time when there was no vaccination for polio. The strong-willed Kenny, with an obsessional belief in her theory and methods, was opposed by a conservative medical profession whom she mercilessly slated and who considered her recommendation to discard immobilisation to be criminal.

In the USA, however, Eliabeth Kenny's methods became widely accepted and the Sister Kenny Institute was built in Minneapolis. Other clinics were established in her name and Elizabeth Kenny, who remained unmarried, was eulogised in a full-length feature film in the USA. The American Congress (1950) gave her the rare honour of free access to American without entry formalities.

But depsite this success, Elizabeth Kenny remained in bitter controversy, partly because of her intolerance of opposition, and returned to Australia several times with little acclaim. Although Elizabeth Kenny's view of the pathology of polio were generally not accepted it was agreed that she stimulated much fresh thinking on the subject.

Elizabeth Kenny developed Parkinsons Disease (1952), and retired and died in Toowoomba (1952). Her book "My Battle and Victory" was published posthumously (1955).

Esther Abrahams

Jewish Convict & First Lady (c.1771 - 1846)

As a 15yo milliner, Esther was charged with stealing lace from a shop (30/8/1786) - the evidence was circumstantial and three witnesses gave her good character references. Yet she was still found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation. Esther was confined in Newgate Prison - she pleaded pregnancy and petitioned the Home Secretary for mercy. Sixteen months later the decision came down against her - but she was already in Australia.

Esther arrived in Australia on the "Lady Penrhyn". On the voyage out from England to Australia, Esther was taken up by George Johnston, 1st Lieutenant of Marines, future head of the New South Wales Corps, Aide-de-Camp to Governors Philip and Hunter. Johnston led the troops that deposed Governor Bligh (1808) and for six months, he acted as Lieutenant Governor. Esther was the colony's unofficial First Lady.

When Johnston was cashiered for his role in the mutiny, he was allowed to keep his land grants. He returned to New South Wales four years later and continued his career as an influential landowner, becoming the trusted friend of Governor Macquarie. In his absences, Esther administered Johnston's estates - and bravely stood up to those who tried to take advantage of Johnston's absence.

Esther became a successful farmer and received her own land grant (1809). Johnston finally married Esther (1814) - she bore him seven children. Yet it was impossible for Esther to maintain a secure social position in her own right - this may have been due to her gender, her convist origins, her long-held de facto status, and possibly her Jewishness.

Esther was nearly 60yo when Johnston died (1823). She inherited the large Annandale property; her son David had been left property of his own. However, her other son, the more wilfull Robert who was to inherit Annadale on her death, became increasingly unpleasant and eventually violent. Robert issued a writ (March 1829) against Esther in an attempt to wrest the property from her. Robert proceeded to have her declared insane. Esther put up a strong fight, producing many witnesses to prove she was lucid and well able to maintain her own property. But in the end Esther was powerless to prevent legal injustice. Esther was declared incapable of managing her own affairs.

Esther went to live with her son David on his property where she died 15 years later. Esther was buried beside her husband in the family vault on the Annadale property - her property.

Vida Golstein

Feminist and Political Activist (1869-1949)

Vida Jane Mary Goldstein was born in Portland, Victoria. She became involved in women's suffrage activities through her mother (1890). Vida soon became active in the National Anti-Sweating League and the Criminology Society. Her primary aim was to achieve women's suffrage - and she campaigned for this (1899-1908).

Australian women were granted the federal vote (1902). Vida stood for the Senate (1903) as an Independent Candidate backed by the Women's Federal Political Association, which was dedicated to the principals for compulsory conciliation and arbitration, equal rights and pay, redistribution of wealth and the appointment of women to official posts. Though she polled well, Vida did not get elected.

Through the renamed Women's Political Association and her own newspaper "Women's Sphere" (owner and editor 1900-1905), Vida began a program of education women voters. She campaigned for and achieved (1908) State Franchise for women. Vida returned to national politics (1908), and founded a second paper "Woman Voter" (1909). Vida continued to stand as Independent Woman Candidate - twice for the Senate (1910 and 1917) and twice for the House of Representative (1913 and 1914). She did not stand again after her second Senate defeat (1917).

Vida also had influence in Australia Legislation with the Childrens' Court Act which she helped draft and which was made law (1906). Vida wrote articles which lead to the implementation of the concept of the basic wage (1907). Vida became increasingly involved with Christian Science, and helped found the Melbourne Christian Science Church. In her last years, Vida lived with her two sisters, one Aileen was also a practitioners within the Christian Science Church. Vida died of cancer (1949) - her death went almost unnoticed - almost.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Golan Women Adhere to Syrian Identity

During a meeting with Chairwoman of the General Women Union Majida Kutait, the women from the delegation of the people of the occupied Syrian Golan affirmed their adherence to their Syrian identity and their belonging to the motherland Syria, saying that the Golan will be liberated soon and that the Syrian flag will be hoisted over all its soil.

The women expressed pride in Syria's national and patriotic stance, stressing that the occupation will not undermine their determination to resist it, and that this determination is bolstered by the support provided by Syria to the people of the occupied Golan.

The women called on the international community to assume serious stances and pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to cease their hostile practices and comply with resolutions of international legitimacy and withdraw from the occupied Golan.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Strange But True

Just having finished Nigel Cawthorn's "The Strange Laws of Old England", I thought I might share a couple with you.

No Law Against Flying: One Jane Wellman appeared before the Justice charged with withcraft in the 17th Century.  Witnesses said that they had seen her fly, and when asked if this was so, she replied that it was, whereupon the Justice remarked that there was no law against flying and she could continue to do so. 

The Cucking Stool: The medieval women's pillory - the "thew" - was replaced in in 16th century by the "cucking stool".  This was designed to subject the woman to public shame - it was later that the cucking stool became the ducking stool.

Make Up: Queen Elizabeth I made a law forbidding women to use "false hair, make up, false hips, high heeled shoes or other such devices" in order to get a man to the altar.  The penalty was punishment for witchcraft.

Escaping the Hangman: One of the earliest recorded "escapes" was of Inetta de Balsham, who was sentanced to hang during the reign of King Henry III.  Hanged at 9am Monday morning, Inetta was found still alive by the following Thursday!  How did she survive???  It was found that her windpipe had deteriorated and "ossified" or hardened, and as such, the rope did no damage.  She was pardoned by a very amazed King. 

Bigamy:  At one point in time, it was legal for a woman to be married to two men - however, this only applied if her first marriage was to a commoner and the second to a peer.  As a peeress, the woman had the right to be tried by the House of Lords - they however, would have been obliged to acquit her of such a crime for if found guilty, her first marriage would be found to be lawful; and as such, she would no longer be considered a peeress and would not fall within their jurisdiction.  However, if she was to be convicted by the Crown Court, her second marriage would have to be acknowledged, negating their jurisdiction!  What woman of the time would honestly subject herself to be governed by two men!

Asenath Barzani: First Female Jewish Rabbi

From Kurd Net:
Asenath Barzani from Iraqi Kurdistan region [South Kurdistan] was the first known woman rabbi in Jewish history.

There are not many female rabbis in the Jewish history. The first known female rabbi in the history is Asenath Barzanî, a Kurdish woman from South Kurdistan.

Regina Jones who was officially declared rabbi in the German capital Berlin in 1935 used to known as the first female rabbi in the Jewish history. However, this information corrected recently by historian who unveiled documents indicating that a woman called Asenath of Barzani region in South Kurdistan was declared as rabbi in the 17th century.

Film: Mahpeyker

Kösem Sultan, one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history, is now the subject of a feature film, ‘Mahpeyker.’ Screenwriter Avni Özgürel says past depictions of Kösem Sultan as a despot were false, adding that his film shows her in a better light. Most importantly, he says, ‘Mahpeyker’ recounts the empire’s history through women, rather than men.

The life of Kösem Sultan, one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history, is set for cinemas in a feature film, “Mahpeyker,” that revolutionizes portrayals of imperial history, according to the movie’s screenwriter.

The Ottoman Empire has always been told through men but it was now time to tell its story through a woman, said screenwriter Avni Özgürel.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Australia: Court Stops Arranged Marriage

A 14-year old Melbourne girl has been been barred from travelling overseas in a bid to avoid an arranged marriage to a man she's never met, News Ltd reports.

The case came to light when the then 13-year-old, who can not be named for legal reasons, was removed from school ahead of her wedding.

She told child protection officers she had not met the 17-year old boy, and that she had only ever seen a photograph of him.

Child protection officers became convinced after interviewing the girl that she did not understand the sexual or emotional implications of being married.

The teenager told the officers she was not forced into the engagement, and that if she changed her mind after meeting her fiance, she would not have to go through with the marriage.

She said she had not discussed her concern with either of her parents.

Lagos: Itsekiri Women Rally

THE Warri Women Consultative Assembly, WWCA, has urged all aspiring political office holders in the Itsekiri nation to make themselves available to the electorate for assessment, saying that it would help in eliminating the problem of imposition of candidates.

The group also called on the aspirants to come with their respective programmes to a town hall meeting, which is scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 18, 2010 in Warri.

Disclosing this, yesterday, in Lagos, WWCA Facilitator, Chief Rita Lori-Igbebor, during a visit to Vanguard Corporate Headquarters, regretted that the Itsekiri nation had not been fortunate to be governed by its best brains in the past.

According to her, “Since the deaths of Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh and the Rewane Brothers, aspirants have been imposed on us. They don’t campaign nether do they know where they are representing. They are imposed upon us and they owe their allegiance to their God fathers. The consequences are what have brought Itsekiri to the state in which we have found ourselves. They go there to serve their pockets, their children and their wives.

This situation can no more be tolerated. We own our lands on which they seek to represent. A nation without a vision perishes.

It is therefore necessary that all aspirants meet Itsekiris on one-to-one, face-to-face, to introduce themselves and their agenda to the Itsekiri people.”

France: Nannies Flex Their Muscles

From the New York Times:
A stroll through any Paris neighborhood will bear out a trend that has already made it into official statistics. More and more foreign-born women are pushing the baby strollers, caring for the bedridden, ironing the shirts. With an aging population, and one of the European Union’s highest birthrates, France needs help at home, particularly as budget cuts take a bite out of social services.

Meanwhile, at a time of economic slowdown, more immigrant women are willing to take jobs to help lift the income of their own families.

“These may not be beautiful jobs, but they are jobs that are in demand, and we have identified an increasing number of women willing to do them,” said Jean-Pierre Garson, head of the international migration unit at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris.

According to the O.E.C.D.’s latest migration report, the employment rate for foreign-born women in France has risen steadily in the past decade — from 44.2 percent in 1995 to 52.3 percent in 2008.

Freedom For Sarah Shourd

From MicroMix:
32 year-old Sarah Shourd, an American women was freed by Iran on Tuesday after a $500,000 to win her freedom. The said amount was requested with a plea for Iran to drop or lower the sum because they were struggling to raise the cash.

Sarah Shourd and two male Americans Shane Bauer (Shourd’s fiance) and Josh Fattal (Shourd and Bauer’s friend) were held by the Iranian government after a suspicion on spying. The three Americans were detained near Iran’s border with Iraq in July of 2009. Shourd was freed after 13 months while her two male companions were denied from their freedom.

On NBC News, a spokesman said that Sarah Shourd has board an Arabic plane heading to Oman. Shortly after Shourd’s release, Iranian authorities said they are not considering the immediate release of Bauer and Fattal.

Before boarding the plane, Sarah Shourd gave a statement to Iran’s English-Language Press TV saying “”I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people, that have been involved, and especially, particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture.” She also said that “I’m grateful and I’m very humbled by this moment.”

President Obama is urging Iran to show a renewed compassion for the release of the other two Americans. Since there is no U.S Embassy in Iran, the Swiss embassy represents U.S. interest in Iran.

Taiwan: Women Not Convinced About Marriage

From the Taipei Times:
A large percentage of Taiwanese women doubt they would be happier after getting married, according to the results of a survey released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday.

The survey, conducted between May 31 and June 9, polled 1,468 people over age 18; 749 female, 543 unmarried and 639 under the age of 39.

Of the females, 50.1 percent said they would not be happier if they were married, while only 39.5 percent thought married people are happier than those who stay single.

Of the unmarried, 40.3 percent said life would be better if they were married and 31 percent agreed that married people are generally happier.

Of the respondents under 39, 46.1 percent thought they would have a better life if they were married. Less than 40 percent of these young respondents believed married people are generally happier.

Barbara Bradshaw Smith

On national television and newspaper front pages, she was the well-dressed, soft-spoken woman who became the face of LDS Church opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.

But while Barbara Bradshaw Smith helped lead the faith’s fight against the failed constitutional amendment, she also sought to expand women’s roles, saying she supported additional rights but not the ERA.

The former LDS Relief Society president, who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, died Monday at age 88 in Salt Lake City.

Smith was remembered by friends Tuesday as a loving and considerate person who presided over the women’s organization within the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1974 to 1984 — a tumultuous period for women in U.S. history and in the Mormon Church.

“Barbara took her church responsibility very seriously,” said friend and confidante Aileen Clyde, who served in the church’s Relief Society general presidency during the 1990s. “On the other hand, she felt she had to represent women.”

Smith was appointed in 1974 by then-LDS President Spencer W. Kimball and counseled him on the future role women could play within Mormon culture, according to Lengthen Your Stride, the Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, by his son, Edward L. Kimball.

Church leaders adopted the position that the ERA could threaten the family and women. At the same time, they held that women deserve more rights.