Saturday, December 12, 2020

BC names new Calderwood University Professor in Islamic and Asian Art

Emine Fetvaci, a prominent scholar and accomplished teacher whose research areas include the arts of the book in the Islamic world, and Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid art and architecture, has been appointed to Boston College’s Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship in Islamic and Asian Art, effective January 1, 2021.

Emine Fetvaci

Emine Fetvaci (Daniel Star)

"Emine Fetvaci is one of the world's leading scholars of Ottoman painting, and she is playing an important role in redefining Islamic art history by exploring Islamic art in conversation with a broader early modern world,” said Boston College Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.

“She brings to Boston College both this scholarly expertise and a deep commitment to formative liberal arts teaching. I am delighted that she will be joining us as the Calderwood Professor of Islamic and Asian Art."

read more here @ Boston College

Four leading female academics enter race to become Trinity provost

Four leading female academics have put their names forward for the position of provost of Trinity College Dublin.

Prof Linda Doyle, former dean of research; Prof Linda Hogan, former vice-provost; Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, professor of history and chairwoman of the Irish Research Council; and Dr Sarah Alyn-Stacey, associate professor in French, have all confirmed to colleagues that they have applied for the position.

Provost Patrick Prendergast is due to finish his 10-year term on July 31st, 2021, and the next head of Trinity will take over the following day.

The identity of any other applicants is unknown as the initial interview process is confidential.

However, the number of senior female academics who have entered the race raises the possibility that Trinity could have its first female provost in its 428-year history.

Applications for the position of provost closed at midday on Friday, and initial interviews will take place during December and January.

read more here @ Irish Times

Abortion and Contraception in the Middle Ages

Today, conversations around abortion in modern Christianity tend to take as a given the longstanding moral, religious and legal prohibition of the practice. Stereotypes of medical knowledge in the ancient and medieval worlds sustain the misguided notion that abortive and contraceptive pharmaceuticals and surgeries could not have existed in the pre-modern past.

This could not be further from the truth.

While official legal and religious opinions condemned the practice, often citing the health of women, a wealth of medical treatises produced by and for wealthy Christian women across the Middle Ages betray a radically different history—one in which women had a host of pharmaceutical contraceptives, various practices for inducing miscarriages, and surgical procedures for the termination of pregnancies. When it came to saving a woman’s life, Christian physicians unhesitatingly recommended these procedures.

read more here @ Scientific American

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Scotland becomes first nation to provide free period products for all

Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign that has fundamentally shifted the public discourse around menstruation.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on Tuesday evening, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them, building on the work of councils like North Ayrshire, which has been providing free tampons and sanitary towels in its public buildings since 2018.

Period poverty – the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis – has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, according to charities.

Earlier research by the grassroots group Women for Independence revealed that nearly one in five women had experienced period poverty, which has a significant impact on their hygiene, health and wellbeing. Women are estimated to spend an average of £13 a month on period products and several thousand pounds over a lifetime.

The legislation will also enshrine in law the requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide the products for free, which was announced by first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in 2017. This was then a world first, while the Scottish government has also funded a project in Aberdeen to deliver free period products to low-income households as well as a further £4m for councils to continue the roll-out to other public places.

In the interim, a number of individual businesses – restaurants, pubs and even football clubs – started providing free products independently. It has become increasingly common in Scotland to walk into a women’s toilet and find free products by the sinks, or with an honesty box.

read more here @ The Guardian

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The True Story of Rose Dugdale - The Woman Who Stole Vermeer

From CrimeReads:
When Rose Dugdale became international news in the mid-1970s, she emerged as an emblem of the times. Fiery, bold, and brash, she defied the conventions of her birth and of her gender in everything from action to attire. At the same time, she was generous, articulate, and unquestionably bright. Her criminality, combined with her lineage, her degree from Oxford, and her doctorate in economics, made her a curiosity to journalists not only in Ireland and Britain but in North America as well. She was media gold, having abandoned a life of wealth and leisure to take up arms in operations that would almost certainly, if not intentionally, lead her to prison.

Dugdale was also a radical, not just politically but criminally. No woman before her or since has ever committed anything resembling the art thefts for which she served as mastermind, leader, and perpetrator. For these and other crimes, she carries no regrets or remorse and offers no alibis. The ethical decisions she made during her life were her own, formed after years of intense study in universities and on the ground, from Cuba to Belfast.

Hers was an age of conflict. The antiwar movement, assassinations and riots in the United States, massive student protests in major cities in Europe, civil wars from Guatemala to Ethiopia, a recent revolution in Cuba, a coup in Portugal, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland— these were the fires burning around the world, and she studied all of them.

Her unbridled zeal for her causes was the topic of countless contemporaneous journalistic opinions, and they typically lay somewhere on a continuum, with “Reluctant Debutante Rebelling against Her Parents” at one end and “Poor Little Rich Girl Radicalized by Her Boyfriend” at the other. In fact, neither of these is completely accurate. Yes, there are elements of rebellion against her parents’ wealth, and it is indeed correct that her militancy intensified while she was with boyfriend Walter Heaton, but the truth is that her convictions were the result of her own studies, her own mind, and her own soul. Rose Dugdale was her own person—not her parents’, not Heaton’s, and not the IRA’s.

read more here from Anthony Amore @ CrimeReads

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lady Judith Montefiore: A Brief History

It was, in the words of Charles Dickens, “The best of times and the worst of times.” While revolution and political strife roiled Continental Europe, Britain in the 1780s and beyond was home to progressive social change, and to a growing community of educated, cultured Jews who flocked to England.

This group of highly educated, ambitious Jews called themselves the “Cousinhood” – brilliant Jewish families who built empires of business and service, married into each other’s families and created a new, vibrant Jewish community. One of the most prominent of these immigrant Jews was the Dutch-born Levi A. Barnet Cohen who moved to London in the 1770s and eventually became one of a dozen Jews newly elected to Parliament, without compromising his Orthodox Jewish faith. He married a brilliant Jewish woman named Lydia and together they raised an observant Jewish family. Their daughter, Lady Judith Montefiore, became a great – and little known – patron of Jewish life.

Judith used her wealth to support poor Jews, helping build the Jewish Ladies’ Loan and Visiting Society, a Jewish orphanage in London, and educational programs for girls at Jews’ Hospital. Moshe also rose in British society. He was knighted in 1837 (Judith gained the honorific Lady then); that year he was also elected the Sheriff of London – only the second Jew ever elected to that post. Yet despite the Montefiore’s high social position, they were dogged for years by anti-Semitism and snide anti-Jewish remarks.

read more here @ aish dot com

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Local Mexican folk artist honors murdered or disappeared women

From SWNews4U:
Artist Gabriela Marvan’s ‘Dia de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) exhibit at VIVA Gallery in October is dedicated to the “souls of the 10 women who are killed or disappear each day in Mexico.” 

Gabriela Marvan is part of a collective of Mexican artists, which formed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to face their struggles together.

“The origin of this idea began when I realized that my artist friends in Mexico were struggling with the pandemic situation. I know how talented they are, and I know that the world would be interested in knowing more about their art. Our goal with this collective is to develop a connection between the Mexican folk artists living in Mexico and the Mexican folk artists living in USA, empowering our art through sharing our process, our towns, our inspiration.”

Was Senenmut Queen Hatshepsut’s Secret Lover?

Was Senenmut Queen Hatshepsut's Secret Lover?Hatshepsut had a glorious reign over Egypt, but her personal life did not seem as glorious. She never mentioned her husband after he died, and she became the king. Her daughter, Neferu-Re died when she was a teenager, and her name was erased from her temple by Tuthmosis III to show that he was the legitimate king, like his father and grandfather. Did she get in a secret relationship with Senenmut to compensate for all this?

Senenmut was a wealthy commoner, an overseer of works, and the tutor of Neferu-Re. Many believed that he was the secret lover of Queen Hatshepsut as well, judging by the graffiti on a wall: the female pharaoh being made love to by an overseer. Widowed women in ancient Egypt did not remarry, but it did not mean they could never fall in love again.

read more here @ The Great Courses Daily

Footprints tell story of woman carrying toddler while dodging sabre-toothed cats

Locally known as "ghost tracks" because they can only be seen under certain weather conditions, the adult tracks were first discovered in 2017, followed by the child's.

The prints tell the remarkable story of a woman and a small child as they made their way across the mudflats with large predators crossing their path.

An analysis found the woman was moving at a rapid pace, intermittently carrying and putting down the child.

Incredible details of 10,000-year-old trek revealed in fossil footprints

On the outward journey, her prints show that she was slipping, suggesting conditions were wet and treacherous. But on her return, following the same path almost exactly, she was alone and no slipping marks were detected.

read more here @ The Telegraph

New Zealand election: Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party scores landslide win

From BBC News:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018.jpgNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won a landslide victory in the country's general election.

With all votes tallied, Ms Ardern's centre-left Labour Party won 49.1%, bringing a projected 64 seats and a rare outright parliamentary majority.

The opposition centre-right National Party won 26.8% in Saturday's poll - just 35 seats in the 120-seat assembly.

The poll was originally to be held in September but was postponed by a month after a renewed Covid-19 outbreak.

Ms Ardern, 40, told her supporters after the victory: "New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years. We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander."

read more here @ BBC News

US woman faces first federal execution since 1953

From BBC News:
The US is to execute a female federal inmate for the first time in almost 70 years, the Justice Department said.

Lisa Montgomery strangled a pregnant woman in Missouri before cutting out and kidnapping the baby in 2004. She is due to be given a lethal injection in Indiana on 8 December.

The last woman to be executed by the US government was Bonnie Heady, who died in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

US Attorney General William Barr said the crimes were "especially heinous murders".

read more here @ BBC News

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Horrifying Attacks On Indian Women

An Indian husband walked to a police station in India carrying the decapitated head of his wife who he beheaded after accusing her of having an affair. 

Chinnar Yadav attacked his wife Vimla with a sharp weapon after a heated argument in which he accused her of being unfaithful with their neighbour, according to police.

After killing and beheading his wife, Yadav was then filmed carrying her severed head to their local police station in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Similar scenes were captured in Uttar Pradesh in February when another man decapitated his wife and walked through the streets singing the Indian national anthem. 

This is not the only attacks on women in this region. You have the following horrific examples:

- husband kills wife he thinks is about to give birth to a daughter
- gang rape reported but not believed by police
- reporting sexual assault is termed a conspiracy
- rape culture criticised
- vulnerability of women
- acid attack on woman by neighbours
- cremation of rape victim under scrutiny
- high incidents of crime against women
- congress woman assaulted for speaking out
- another gang rape death
- sexual assault not believed, justice delayed
- woman beaten for resisting public molestation
- high level of crimes against women

The northern region of Uttar Pradesh is one of the four largest states in India, with a population to 200 million (and growing). With the fifth largest economy, the state is now dominated by the services industry. The service sector comprises travel and tourism, hotel industry, real estate, insurance and financial consultancies.

Uttar Pradesh also has the highest number of crimes among any state in India, but due to its high population. Uttar Pradesh also continues to top the list of states with maximum communal violence incidents. An analysis of Ministers of State of Home Affairs states (2014), 23% of all incidents of communal violence in India took place in Uttar Pradesh - this includes violence against religious minorities, social castes, and women. According to a post from NDTV, "... 4,322 cases of rape were reported in 2018, with almost 12 taking place daily ..." - and further statistics are provided in this article from The Hindu, with this alarming statistic that "... the conviction rate in rape-related cases stood at 27.2% even though the rate of filing chargesheets was 85.3% in such cases ..."

This is just over the last year or so; it boggles the mind to think of the brutality women and girls have been silently subjected to in years past. Something needs to be done!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

How the Mercury 13 Fought to Get Women in Space

Jerrie Cobb poses next to a Mercury spaceship capsule.
Only a month ago, it was announced that Jeanette Epps would become the first Black woman to live on the International Space Station—two years after she was originally supposed to go into space. Historically, NASA has not been the greatest at supporting women. It didn’t even accept women to its astronaut training program until Sally Ride in 1978.

When NASA opened its doors in 1958, it did not explicitly exclude women from applying to be astronauts. It did, however, require all applicants to be military jet test pilots—something women could not qualify for.

Physician William Randall Lovelace hypothesized that women—being smaller and lighter—might actually be better suited for space flight than men were. In 1960, he developed a secret “Women in Space” program at his research center in New Mexico. This project, which was not sanctioned by NASA, recruited over two dozen women and had them undergo the same rigorous physical and mental exams as the NASA astronauts. The first pilot recruited for this program, Jerrie Cobb, began referring to the others as her “Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees” (FLATs), but the final group would come to be known as the Mercury 13.

read more here @ JSTOR Daily

The Angel Makers of Nagyrév and the truth around murderous women of myth

From SYFY Wire:
In central Hungary lies a village named Nagyrév. A farming town to the southeast of Budapest with a sparse location of around 800 people, Nagyrév was, like many small villages in the country during the early 1900s, a quiet and unobtrusive place. Its community was tightly bound and its amenities simple. What it lacked, however, was a resident doctor. For those who were sick or in desperate need of medical advice, their options were limited. That changed in 1911 when a woman named Zsuzsanna Fazekas came to town. Within 15 years, she would become one of Europe's most infamous woman, the self-styled leader of a group of women who were accused of murdering close to three hundred people by poisoning. They became known as The Angel Makers of Nagyrév.

When she arrived in Nagyrév, Zsuzsanna Fazekas raised a few eyebrows. She had a murky background, her husband had apparently gone missing under curious circumstances, and nobody knew where she had come from. She did, however, come with some solid references and prior experience as a midwife.

The Angel Makers Of Nagyrev | Sword And Scale

It's unclear how the so-called Angel Makers were eventually detected. One account claim that a medical student in a neighboring town found high arsenic levels in a body that washed up on the riverbank, leading to an investigation. Béla Bodó, a Hungarian-American historian, said that the murders were made public when an anonymous letter to a local newspaper accused the women of mass murder. Whatever the case, the authorities were driven to exhume dozens of bodies from the local cemetery, and they discovered that 46 of the 50 corpses dug up contained massive traces of arsenic.

When the police came to arrest Fazekas, she was already dead, having taken some of her own poison. 26 women eventually stood trial for the murders. Their motives were varied, and their crimes became the stuff of local myth. Some women claimed they were sick of their abusive spouses. Others wanted to get their hands on land owned by their families. Many said they had wanted to keep their lovers from wartime. It was remarked upon with shock at the time that these women often seemed unrepentant on the stand, even bored by the drama of the courtroom. They felt that they had done what they had to do, regardless of the monstrous nature of their misdeeds. Eventually, eight of the Angel Makers of Nagyrév were sentenced to death but only two were executed. 12 others received prison sentences.

read more here @ SYFY Wire

see also: The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson

Learn about the “secret” language that only women in China speak...

Hunan Province, in southeast China, is a unique painting that combines soaring limestone peaks, canyons cut by rivers and submerged rice fields covered in fog. Mountains cover more than 80 percent of the area, interspersed with small villages that arose on the slopes of the mountains in isolation from one another.

And in this province, among the embrace of rugged cliffs and small villages, the Nushu language, which is the only writing in the world created by women and used by only them, has emerged.

Nushu script, which means “writing women” in Chinese, flourished in the nineteenth century in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province, to enable women from the Han, Yao and Miao nationalities in this region to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, which were absent in many of these societies. at that time.

Some experts believe that the roots of this writing, which was the preserve of women, go back to the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279, and some believe that it dates back to the Shang Dynasty more than 3000 years ago. Girls were learning Nushu writing from their peasant mothers and practicing it with their sisters and friends in feudal Chinese society at a time when women were denied educational opportunities.

Many of these women were illiterate. In order to learn Nushu, they had to train in transmitting the written text as they saw it. With time, the Nushu paved the way for the emergence of a distinct female culture that still exists today.

It is noteworthy that this non-spoken writing was known to anyone outside Jiangyong Province for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, and it was only in the 1980s that it echoed to the outside world.

read more here @ Alkhaleej Today

First all-female team win Nobel Chemistry Prize for gene-editing tool

Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the US on Wednesday won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors”, the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team.

Using the tool, “researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision,” the Nobel jury said.

“This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true,” they added.

The technique has been tipped for a Nobel nod several times in the past, but speaking to reporters in Stockholm via telephone link Charpentier said the call was still a surprise.

“Strangely enough I was told a number of times (it might happen) but when it happens you are very surprised and you feel that it’s not real,” she said.

Charpentier, 51, and Doudna, 56, are just the sixth and seventh women to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

read more here @ Khmer Times

King of This Ancient African 'Kingdom State' Picks a 'Virgin' Bride Every Year

From News 18:
Monarchy, even though mostly abolished, is still prevalent in few countries. Most of the monarchies around the world have reduced to ceremonial roles with limited or no constitutional powers. However, some of them still reign with absolute power and hold titular titles as Kings or Queens. One such ‘kingdom state’ from Africa is sure to leave you shocked if not baffled.

The kingdom of eSwatini formerly known as Swaziland, is one of the world’s remaining absolute monarchies. The small landlocked kingdom is bordered by the Republic of South Africa and Mozambique. King Maswati III is known for his polyamorous ways rather than ruling over his subjects with flair. As per Swazi tradition – the King is mandated to choose a new bride every year and he will continue to wed ‘virgins,’ as long as he is the king.

The annual ceremony dates to 1940s and was created to preserve women’s chastity before marriage and serve the Queen Mother. It also was propagated to strengthen solidarity among women to work together.

read more here @ News 18

Ancient kitchen, ‘women’s room’ found in Patara

Archaeological excavations carried out in the ancient city of Patara in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district, which is described as the cradle of civilizations as it has hosted many civilizations throughout history, have unearthed a kitchen and a “women’s room,” believed to be 2,400 years old.

The artifacts found during the excavations in Patara, the capital of the Lycian Union, where important traces of human life have been found in the archaeological excavations, have thrilled the world of archaeology.

Ancient kitchen, ‘women’s room’ found in PataraThe excavations are carried out in the Tepecik region, where the city’s settlements were formed. The kitchen was found in this area along with the “women’s room” with mirrors, ornaments and fragrance containers.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, deputy head of Patara excavations, Associate Professor Erkan Dündar said that the Tepecik settlement in Patara is an area where the earliest finds and architectural structures of the ancient city were found.

Emphasizing that thanks to the excavations there, they reached information about the residential life during the Lycian Union period, Dündar said that besides residential buildings, there was a military garrison in Tepecik.

read more here @ Hurriyet Daily News

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt to open at the Kimbell in December

At the heart of the exhibition is Queen Nefertari, who was renowned for her beauty and prominence, the museum said in a news release.

“Ancient Egypt has long fascinated the modern world,” said Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum, “and we are thrilled to present this remarkable exhibition that is altogether alluring, grand, exotic and captivating. We are especially grateful to the Museo Egizio for lending us this extraordinary collection of objects.”

Called “the one for whom the sun shines,” Nefertari and other women of ancient Egypt are brought to life through 230 objects from temples, tombs, palaces and the artisan village of Deir el-Medina, presenting the richness of Egyptian culture some 3,000 years ago.

Drawn from the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, one of the most important and extensive collections of ancient Egyptian works in the world, these exceptional objects highlight the role of women – goddesses, queens and artisans – in Egypt’s New Kingdom period (c. 1539–1075 B.C.).

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt adds an exciting new show to the Kimbell’s special exhibition repertoire and casts light on royal life in the palace, the roles of women in ancient Egypt, the everyday life of artisans and the powerful belief system and ritual practices around death and the afterlife.

read more here @ Fort Worth Business Press

Dalit women: Rapes reveal double struggle of low-caste females in India

The victim of India's latest alleged gang rape faced the double discrimination of being born female and low caste, says her family, fearing she will get no justice in death either.

They say it would all have been different if the 19-year-old victim of a brutal attack came from an upper-caste family or if the suspects were all lower-caste Indians, known as Dalit.

India Dalit protest1

"The police are twisting facts," her brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

"Things could have been different had we belonged to an upper caste." 

His sister - who cannot be named - died from her injuries last week after she was allegedly attacked by upper-caste men on 14th September in a field near her home in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, sparking widespread outrage and protests.

Days later, another lower-caste Dalit woman died in the same state, also after being gang raped.

read more here @ Sight Magazine

The cases highlight discrimination and abuse against India's 200 million Dalits, who are on the lowest rung of an ancient caste hierarchy and suffer social and economic exclusion despite laws to protect them.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Happy Birthday Women of History

Women of History is coming up to another birthday milestone 

- its 22nd birthday!

Women of History was founded on 13th October 1998 as a fledgling website hosted by the now defunct Geocities.  It initially featured biographies of fifty historical women that fascinated me personally. 

After a few years, more biographies were added, with each biography being accompanied by some amazing art work and a list for further reading.  The research that I put into these vignettes was done the old fashioned way - through books - there was no such thing as wikipedia when I first started out.

Once Geocities finally closed down in March 2009, the old website morphed into the Women of History blog, hosted by Blogger since May 2007. The blog that you see today has undergone many changes - mainly theme related. Articles, newsworthy items, and biographies and books on notable women throughout history graced the pages of the blog.

In the end, I began cross posting reviews of related books onto my other blog - Melisende's Library - which is where you will find all literary related items.

I hope you take some time to visit and explore both my blogs.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Obit: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose 27-year tenure as the second female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court culminated a legal career dedicated to advancing the rights of women, has died. She was 87.

She died due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer and was surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, the court said in a statement Friday. Ginsburg battled with five bouts of cancer.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center on February 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Justice Ginsburg and U.S. Appeals Court Judge McKeown discussed the 19th Amendment which guaranteed women the right to vote which was passed 100 years ago.

Her death comes less than two months before an election and gives President Donald Trump a chance to try to shift the already conservative nine-member court further to the right by filling a third seat. Senate confirmation of his nominee would increase the chances of a decision overturning or severely curtailing the Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling.

Only days before her death, National Public Radio reported that Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously said the Senate would move to confirm any nominee this year, even though McConnell blocked President Barack Obama from having a hearing on his nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016. That set the stage for Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch instead.

read more here @ BNN Bloomberg

Friday, September 4, 2020

Japanese calligrapher revivving forgotten female ancient script

From CNN Style:
Legend has it that kana script, which translates to "woman's hand," was invented in the ninth century by Kukai, a priest and Sanskrit scholar, although some historians say it's hard to tell who exactly founded it and where, according to Akagawa.

A lost chapter of the "Tale of Genji" that was discovered in 2019.

What is apparent is that the kana characters -- which form the basis of kana shodo -- represent the different sounds that make up the Japanese language. It was shaped mainly by noble women, although both genders used it to write everything from assassination commands and love letters to poetry and diary entries.

With its undulating, cursive lines, kana shodo appears to stream down whatever surface it graces. According to Akagawa, women of the court competed with one another to invent their own signature designs for characters. Considered a language native to Japan, it was seen as a vehicle through which women could express themselves and document their observations of the world.

read more here @ CNN Style

A body fully dressed with jewelry excavated in Gyeongju

A full set of accessories have been unearthed, which are presumed to belong to a women of the highest status during the Silla Dynasty in the first half of the sixth century. This is the first case where the dead of the tomb has been found wearing accessories from head to toe.

The Cultural Heritage Administration announced Thursday that a precision excavation into the ancient tomb No. 120-2 of Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju City, has found a number of jewelry items including a gilt-bronze crown, gold earrings, silver bracelets, a silver belt, and gilt-bronze shoes.

The gilt-bronze crown has a round frame (that fits into the head) at the bottom, with three pieces of twigs-shaped ornaments and two pieces of deer-horn ornaments attached on the top. The crown was fold flat and discovered covering the face of the dead, instead of the head. Experts say that this rare case of excavation is intended to cover up the face of the dead as courtesy.

Silver rings have been found as well, five from the right hand and one from the left. “The left hand has not been exposed entirely, so more rings could show up,” explained an official from the administration. “It is possible that the dead might be wearing rings in every finger, just like the buried of the ancient tomb of Cheonmachong.”

read more here @ The DONG-A ILBO

How Egypt’s State Sanctioned Violence On Women Erodes Its Ancient Prestige

From Forbes:
In a year with landmark anniversaries of women’s rights, women’s safety is at utmost peril worldwide and endangered in Egypt under the current Saudi-backed Sunni, general-turned president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s rule. Hegazi [a 30-year-old Egyptian socialist, writer, and lesbian activist Sarah Hegazi] joins thousands of women victimized under Egypt’s military Islamic dictatorship since June 2014.

EGYPT-POLITICS-WOMEN-RIGHTSA 2013 U.N. report on women showed 99.3 percent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment in Egypt. A Reuters poll of experts on women's issues had Cairo voted as the most dangerous city in the world for women.

“There has been an upsurge of domestic violence and femicide–30 cases were reported in just two months,” says Rana Allam, former chief editor of Cairo’s Daily News Egypt (DNE) newspaper, a commentator on Middle East political affairs and human rights issues who serves as Senior Editorial Adviser and Strategic Communications Director to the International Civil Action Network (ICAN) and the Women Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) organization.

Allam explains how financial stress, rising unemployment, extreme heatwave and socio-economic conditions have escalated unleashed violence by men against women–more than culturally tolerated levels.

read more here @ Forbes

Two 'warrior women' from ancient Mongolia may have helped inspire the Ballad of Mulan

Archaeologists in Mongolia have found the remains of two ancient women warriors, whose skeletal remains indicate that they were well practiced in archery and horseback riding.

The remains of the older warrior woman (left) and her husband, which were excavated from the Airagiin Gozgor archaeological site, in the Orkhon province of northern Mongolia.These two women lived during the Xianbei period (A.D. 147 to 552), a period of political fragmentation and unrest that gave rise to the Ballad of Mulan, the researchers said.

Perhaps these women were so athletic because during the Xianbei period, "it may have been that women were needed to defend home and country alongside the men," said study researchers Christine Lee and Yahaira Gonzalez, bioarchaeologists at California State University, Los Angeles.

Of the two warrior women, one was older than 50 and the other was about 20 years old. It's possible they practiced archery and rode horses because these skills were needed during the political instability that following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in China in A.D. 220, Lee said.

Neither woman had signs of war trauma. This could be because both women were found in elite graves, and elite people may not have fought in battles, Lee said.

read more here @ Live Science

(Image: © Christine Lee)

The authors reclaiming the forgotten voices of ancient women

From BBC News:
Natalie Haynes is one of a new group of writers reclaiming women's voices from ancient literature.

Greek statuesAlong with authors such as Pat Barker and Madeline Miller, she's telling new versions of the Classics, veering away from epic fights and macho heroes.

Instead, they're finding compelling and timely voices: refugees fleeing war-zones, women being treated as commodities and people trying to survive an epidemic.

"When you re-tell a myth, you make it new," says Haynes.

In her book, A Thousand Ships, she foregrounds "the female characters which had been deliberately erased or overlooked".

Given we live in a world with environmental disasters, disease, sexual violence and war, Haynes says these tales are as pertinent now as they were 3,000 years ago.

read more here @ BBC News

Lynching of Akua Denteh: Criminalise witch name calling

On Thursday, 23 July, 2020, a 90-year-old woman, Madam Akua Denteh was beaten to death in broad daylight at Kafaba near Salaga, a well known slave market in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Salaga and Kafaba are in the East Gonja Municipality of the newly created Savannah Region carved out of the Northern Region.

Madam Akua Mariama Denteh, the 90-year-old woman who was lynched at KafabaThe hysteria and public outcry created by the lynching of the 90-year-old woman is beyond description. Whether or not things will change, we will wait and see.

The Ghana Police immediately offered GH¢2,000 for information leading to the arrest of the culprits even though the evidence was streaming on social media and shown on TV.

The first arrest the police made was the chief of Kafaba. Whether the arrest was right or wrong, we will get to know in due course of time.

read more here @ Graphic Online

Obituary: Lady Barbara Judge

Lady Barbara JudgeFrom CityAM:
Lady Barbara Judge, who has died aged 73 from pancreatic cancer, was a trailblazer in a varied career which spanned law, banking, regulation, media and the nuclear industry. 

An outspoken advocate for the accession of women in the workplace, she broke barriers becoming the first female director at Rupert Murdoch’s media giant News International and the first female chair of the Institute of Directors, though her career was not without its controversies.

At age 33 she became the youngest commissioner at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and only the second woman in the role. 

read more here @ CityAM

Friday, July 10, 2020

Frances Perkins: Architect of the New Deal

In the midst of the catastrophic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, more than 100 million Americans are accessing financial assistance and medical care. These vital services are available in part because of the efforts of a woman many have never heard of.

Frances Perkins was the first female presidential cabinet secretary and the central architect of the New Deal. She designed Social Security and public works programs that brought millions out of poverty. Her work resulted in the construction of hospitals, public schools, and related infrastructure. A social worker by training, Perkins also implemented workplace regulations that are standard to this day.

How did a woman who was not allowed to vote until she was 40 become such an important civil servant and political force? 

read more here @ JSTOR Daily

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Creation of the Rape Kit

Many Americans likely learned about rape kits from modern television crime dramas. In scenes from popular shows such as “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” a victim lies on a gurney while detectives ask questions and explain that her rape kit will be sent for DNA testing.

The rape kit was developed in the late 1970s as a way to standardize evidence collection.Now a crucial part of any sexual assault investigation, the rape kit was developed in the late 1970s by Chicago Police Sgt. Louis Vitullo. He later became the chief microanalyst for the city’s crime lab.

The kit contained plastic test tubes and swabs for vaginal, rectal and oral smears, individual slides and mailing boxes for the smears, a comb to collect samples of foreign (that is, not from the victim) hair, and nail clippers to salvage evidence from under fingernails. It also included a brown paper bag for victims’ undergarments and clothes, forms for the doctors and police officers involved to complete, sealing tape and a pencil to write on the slides. 

Today’s kits contain virtually the same items, with only minor variations based on specific manufacturers or hospital procedures.

read more here @ Duquesne University

Friday, July 3, 2020

Crimes Of Honor In The Modern World

Since ancient Rome, honor killings have been a known phenomenon; the paterfamilias or oldest man in the family had the right to kill his unmarried daughter who was having sex or an adulterous woman. Honor killings existed in Europe in the Middle Ages; for example, under ancient Jewish law, killing by stoning was the punishment imposed on an adulterous woman and her partner. Today, the practice is mainly associated with parts of Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.

read more by Dr. Mohamed Chtatou @ Eurasia Review

Africa: Five Things You Didn't Know About Practices That Harm Girls

Image result for all africa logoEvery day, hundreds of thousands of girls around the world are harmed physically or psychologically, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities. And without urgent action, the situation is likely to worsen.

These are the findings of UNFPA's flagship 2020 State of World Population report, released today. The report examines the origin and extent of harmful practices around the world, and what must be done to stop them.

It identifies 19 harmful practices - ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing - that are considered to be human rights violations. But it focuses on three practices in particular that are widespread and persistent, despite near-universal condemnation: female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and son preference.

read more about the five unexpected, and critical, takeaways from the report @

Hidden women of history: Catherine Hay Thomson

In 1886, a year before American journalist Nellie Bly feigned insanity to enter an asylum in New York and became a household name, Catherine Hay Thomson arrived at the entrance of Kew Asylum in Melbourne on “a hot grey morning with a lowering sky”.

Hay Thomson’s two-part article, The Female Side of Kew Asylum for The Argus newspaper revealed the conditions women endured in Melbourne’s public institutions.

Her articles were controversial, engaging, empathetic, and most likely the first known by an Australian female undercover journalist.

read more here @ The Conversation

Outrage as Indian judge calls alleged rape victim 'unbecoming'

From BBC News:
An Indian judge is under pressure to delete comments from a court order that questioned the behaviour of a woman who alleged she was raped.

Granting bail to the rape accused last week, Justice Krishna S Dixit of the Karnataka High Court said he found the woman's statement "a bit difficult to believe".

Justice Dixit went on to ask why the woman had gone "to her office at night - at 11pm"; why had she "not objected to consuming drinks with him"; and why she had allowed him "to stay with her till morning".

"The explanation offered by her that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep is unbecoming of an Indian woman," the judge said, adding that it was "not the way our women react when they are ravished".

His remarks set off a storm of protest. Outraged Indians asked if there was a "rulebook" or a "guide" to being a rape victim. An illustration was widely shared online which, drawing on several recent court rulings, mocked up "An Indian judge's guide to being the ideal rape survivor".

An illustration by Indian artist @PENPENCILDRAW

Aparna Bhat, a senior Delhi-based lawyer, wrote an open letter to the chief justice of India and the three female judges of the Supreme Court in response to the ruling.

"Is there a protocol for rape victims to follow post the incident which is written in the law that I am not aware of?" she wrote. "Are 'Indian women' an exclusive class who have unmatched standards post being violated?"

Appealing to the Supreme Court judges to intervene, Ms Bhat said the judge's remarks showed "misogyny at its worst", adding that not condemning them would "amount to condoning".

read more here @ BBC News

Alberta's new lieutenant-governor first Muslim in history appointed to role

From CBC News:
Salma Lakhani of Edmonton has been named as the new lieutenant-governor of Alberta, making her the first Muslim in Canadian history to be appointed to the ceremonial role.

"Ms. Lakhani is devoted to supporting people in her community, from new immigrants and young people, to women and families," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in a news release announcing the appointment.

"As lieutenant-governor of Alberta, I know she will serve the people of her province and our country well, and continue to be a source of inspiration for all Canadians."

Lakhani is a long-time community advocate and successful business owner who has dedicated her life to helping people in need, the prime minister's office said in a news release.

read more here @ CBC News