Monday, December 31, 2018

We need to put back the women who were written out of science history

Can you name a female scientist from history? Chances are you are shouting out Marie Curie. The twice Nobel Prize-winning Curie and mathematician Ada Lovelace are two of the few women within western science to receive lasting popular recognition.
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One reason women tend to be absent from narratives of science is because it’s not as easy to find female scientists on the public record. Even today, the numbers of women entering science remain below those of men, especially in certain disciplines. A-level figures show only 12 per cent of candidates in computing and 22 per cent in physics in 2018 were women.

Another reason is that women do not fit the common image of a scientist. The idea of the lone male genius researcher is remarkably persistent. But looking to history can both challenge this portrayal and offer some explanation as to why science still has such a masculine bias.

Yet, scientific women worked through the cracks. Between 1880 and 1914, some 60 women contributed papers to Royal Society publications. And some women continued to work as scientists without pay or titles. 

read more here @ The Independent

see also:
@ The Smithsonian - Women Who Shaped Science
@ Ranker - Famous Female Scientists
@ Wikipedia - Women In Science

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Jane Squire - The Lady of the Longitude

Three hundred years ago, the British Parliament famously established rewards and funding for improved methods of finding longitude at sea. The 1714 longitude rewards of up to £20,000 (worth at least £1.5 million in today’s money) attracted diverse intellectuals, inventors, entrepreneurs and daydreamers to develop schemes. These financial incentives rejuvenated the centuries-old ‘search for the longitude’, which had begun to seem hopeless.
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Cambridge University historian Dr Alexi Baker has researched the fascinating story of Jane Squire, the only woman to participate openly in the search for longitude. Earlier historians dismissed Squire as ‘nutty’ or ‘strange’ but Baker’s pioneering research reveals a fascinating individual whose life sheds new light on the search for longitude. Squire’s experiences also illuminate the roles played by gender, class and religion in early science and mathematics.

However, Squire is the only woman known to have pursued the longitude without concealing her gender. Her complex and educated (if impractical) scheme drew the attention of learned and influential individuals, from the female intellectuals known as ‘bluestockings’ to the Pope.

More Than One-third of Suicides Worldwide Are Committed by Indian Women

Indian women have the highest rate of suicide in the world, committing more than one out of three worldwide, noted a new study published by Lancet Public Health (October issue) and reviewed by Scientific American in its December issue.

The Lancet Public Health study was written by Indian American Rakhi Dondana, a clinical professor in the department of global health at the University of Washington. Dondana and her colleagues analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study to determine suicide death rates in India from 1990 to 2016.

About 230,000 women in India annually die from suicide, concluded Dondana. Her results are much higher than the National Crime Records Bureau of India, which determined – for 2015 – that there were 10.6 suicides per 100,000 residents of India, which is lower than the global average of 11.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. The NCRB determined there were 133,623 suicides in India in 2015, much lower than Dondana’s estimates. Under-reporting and mis-classification of suicide deaths in India are common, noted the researchers, attempting to explain the wide disparity between their data and that of the NCRB.

read more here @ India West

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Was Nur Jahan a scheming temptress or just an independent woman who historians couldn’t fathom?

Image result for nur jahanFrom Dawn:
She was the 35-year-old widow of a man who had fallen out of favour with the Mughal emperor when she caught the eye of Jahangir. Within years, Mehr-un-Nisa, or Nur Jahan as she is known in history, rose to become the most powerful woman in the Mughal empire – coins were minted in her name, she enacted legislation, issued edicts, interacted with foreign traders and determined the empire’s policy.

Rana Safavi talks about the enigmatic Nur Jahan @ Dawn.

read more here @ Feminism India

Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

DNA evidence seemed to have put an end to the the claims of American Anna Anderson and others to be the lost princess. Now a new book to be published in Yekaterinburg, scene of the slaying of the Russian royals, will challenge the view that all the Romanovs were shot in a dank cellar in July 1918. 

Anastasia - the youngest of the tsar's four daughters - was 17 when she was supposedly killed in 1918. 

What makes the theory even more intriguing is that the author is leading Russian historian Veniamin Alekseyev, an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences who was a member of the Russian government commission which investigated the authenticity of bones purporting to the those of the royals. He became convinced Nicholas II's remains had been found, but he is far less certain about Grand Duchess Anastasia's, whose bone remnants are - officially - interred in St Petersburg. 

read more here @ The Siberian Times

3 Distinguished Chinese Female Scientists Elected Academicians of TWAS

Three distinguished female Chinese scientists were elected academicians at the 28th Academician Conference of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in Italy on November 27.

They are:
  • Chen Hualan - a virologist and researcher at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Huang Hefeng - an expert specializing in fertility, is a professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).
  • Liu Ming - an expert in micro-electronics science and technology, and a researcher at the Institute of Microelectronics of CAS

Liberia Mourns Women Peace Activist "Aunty Ruth"

From allAfrica:
On Thursday [13th Dec 2018], Liberians woke up to the death news of Madam Ruth Caesar [Aunty Ruth], a founding member of the Mano River Women Peace Network (MARWOPNET).

The death has caused many women and activists to take to their social media pages writing condolence messages to the family and remembering the works she did while alive.

Madam Caesar died in Atlanta Georgia USA.

Mahmoud Koroma, Program specialist UN Women said she her death is a blow to the women's movement of Liberia. She spoke her truth to power sometimes at great personal risks. Her contribution will forever be remembered.

"She gave counsel generously. Had a listening ear and received all with warmth and a smile."

read more here 

The modern Amazons: an island in Brazil, where women live alone.

The tradition of the “female tribe” is not so ancient as the Amazons described by the ancient authors, and warlike, and the more wild these ladies will not name.

The only thing that distinguishes these “ladies” from us to you, is the complete lack of men in the County.

In Brazil there is a village “Cordeira de Noiva” , which has existed for more than 100 years. It is home to about 600 representatives of the fair half of mankind, and their children, rather, only daughters.

read more here

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Protection or Profit? The 1000 Prostitutes Employed by the Church in 12th Century London

The modern Christian church does not condone prostitution and would never consider getting involved with it. However, in 12 th century England, a borough of London known as Southwark had eighteen licensed brothels with about one thousand prostitutes employed therein! All of these brothels were run by the church and brought in large sums of money for building churches and other ecclesiastical duties.

Officially, the church could not condone prostitution. However, there were no rules against them profiting from it. It's important to understand that bishops in medieval England were not just churchmen, but politicians and statesmen too. St. Thomas Aquinas likened the place to “a cesspool in the palace; take away the cesspool and the palace becomes an unclean evil-smelling place.” Therefore, prostitution was seen as a necessary evil to gain revenue for the church.

read more here @ Ancient Origins

see also @ The Malta Independent - Nuns Who Lived Off Prostitution

The sexual assault case that shook Ancient Rome

From The Week:
Image result for ancient roman actresses"You say that he raped an actress," Cicero told the court. "And this is said to have happened at Atina, while he was quite young."

There was a low, subdued chuckle from the crowd. They were all men — women weren't allowed inside the courtroom — most from the town of Atina themselves. They'd made the 80-mile trip to support a man they respected, whom they believed had been unfairly accused.

His name was Gnaeus Plancius (Quaestor in Macedonia in 58 BCE), and in the year 54 B.C., he was one of the most powerful men in Rome.  She was just a little girl when Plancius attacked her. 

Her name has been lost to time — nobody bothered to write it down. To the Roman Republic, she was just some woman in Atina who'd flaunted her skin on stage and then acted surprised when a red-blooded man couldn't control himself.

read more here @ The Week

Egypt’s female pharaohs and what really stood behind their power

A woman has yet to be elected to the highest office in the United States, but 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt it wasn’t unusual for women to rule—and some became all powerful, like Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Yet as Kara Cooney explains in her new book, When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt, those women were ultimately only placeholders for the next male to take the pharaoh’s throne.

When National Geographic caught up with Cooney by phone in Los Angeles, she explained why Hatshepsut was so perfect; how Cleopatra grew up in a family that makes the Sopranos seem like lambs; and what these women symbolize for their society—and ours.

read more here @ National Geographic

Saturday, November 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

read more here @ Radio Prague

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Akua, the influential slave healer who became queen in Jamaica

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

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

read more here @ Face2Face Africa

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

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

Savitri Devi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

read more here 

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

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

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

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

read more @ Science Alert

Sunday, September 30, 2018

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

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

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

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

read more here @ Science in Poland

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

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

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

read more here 

Friday, September 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Why are abayas mostly black in Qatar?

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

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

read more here @ I Love Qatar

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

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

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

read more here @ Face2Face Africa

Ancient Female Master Ceramicist

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

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

Read more @ SmithsonianMag

Reviving Japan’s Ancient Ama Fisherwomen Culture

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

read more here @ Robb Report

Friday, September 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

read more here @ Daily Mail Online

Women of Forbidden City: Empresses of Qing Dynasty

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

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

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

read more here @ CGTN

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

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

read more here @ South China Morning Post

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

read more here @ Houston Chronicle

Empowering the women of an ancient kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

read more here

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

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

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

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

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

Exhibition: Royal Women of Influence in Medieval Coventry

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

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

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

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

read more here @ The Coventry Observer

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Inside Siberia’s isolated community of forgotten women

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

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

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

Sunday, August 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

read more about the 51 women featured here @ Interesting Engineering

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

read more here @ ABC News

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Somalia Announces First Prosecution for Female Genital Mutilation

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

read more here @ allAfrica

Zimbabwe: Too Poor for Periods

Zimbabwe is suffering a sanitary wear crisis.

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

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

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

read more here @ allAfrica

Sultan of Yogyakarta: A feminist revolution in an ancient kingdom

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

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

Eldest daughter during our exclusive interview

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

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

read more here @ BBC News

Saturday, July 28, 2018

CONDI: The Condoleezza Rice Story by Antonia Felix

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

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

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Grave of ancient noblewoman comes to light in island of Sikinos

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

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

read more here @ Tornos News

Seal of Byzantine Empress Yolande of Montferrat

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

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

read more here @ Archaeology in Bulgaria

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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

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

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

Charlotte Yonge: A woman of some importance

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

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

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

read more here @ Church Times and @ Project Gutenburg

Sunday, July 15, 2018

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

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

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

read more here @ South China Morning Post

Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?

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

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

read more here @ New York Times

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