Archive for the 'History' Category

Text of the formal apology to Indigenous Australians

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
Text of the formal apology to Indigenous Australians made in federal parliament by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at 7am today. [Tuesday, 12 February 2008]

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

Thoughts?

My thoughts are deceptively simple - What happens now?

Canada formally apologised for the Residential Schools back in 1998, although that apology was specifically to those who had suffered abuse, not for the policy itself or for students who had “just” been taken from their families. It was eight years after that before formal apologies were issued to all students, and compensation was sorted in September of 2007.

To me, the Residential School System was always something “historical” - not something that had happened recently. However, the last Residential School in Canada was closed in 1998. I graduated from high school in 1994.

And again, I look at my History degree and wonder why I graduated so completely in the dark about my own country.

When Dead White Men Were Actually Dead White Women, and other historical things that interest me

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

I’m growing even more fond of the podcast for 51 Percent, which every week includes a story about women’s contributions to science. I found this one very interesting, and the great advantage of spending all day typing when people talk is that I can transcribe it rather than make y’all go listen.

The good doctor wore three inch lifts in his shoes, carried a parasol and travelled the world with a milk goat. And he had a lousy temper. But James Barry earned the highest rank a doctor could achieve in the British Army.

No one ever claimed Dr. James Barry was pleasant. After graduating from medical school in Edinburgh in 1812, he joined the British Army, and was appointed Medical Inspector in South Africa. He began making trouble immediately. He criticized local officials for the inadequate water system. And he insisted it be upgraded. He served from India to the Caribbean, from the Africa to Canada, advocating for better sanitary conditions and nutrition for soldiers. He also urged more humane treatment of lepers, prisoners, and the insane.

Dr. Barry travelled in the company of a poodle named Psyche and a black manservant named John, who provided him with six towels each morning, to “accentuate” his uniform. More than once people accused him of having “homosexual” affairs. Barry performed one of the first successful Caesarean sections in the Empire. Women said he was a most considerate birth attendant. In the Crimea he was the only person cocky enough to reprimand Florence Nightingale. He was bombastic, opinionated and tactless. But he was entertaining, and maintained friends in high places. One supporter claimed Barry was the finest doctor he’d ever know, but absurd in everything else.

Dr. Barry died in England in 1864. The woman who prepared his body discovered that the good doctor was female. James Barry’s real name is thought to have been Miranda Stuart. She took on the male persona to gain entrance to medical school in 1809, when it was practically impossible for women to become physicians, let alone enter the military. For the next 56 years Miranda Stuart pretended to be a man… and was, in fact, a top rate physician.

I really find this story quite interesting on so many levels. I’ve seen a few pictures of the good doctor - here’s a good one with added stories about people who actually met him - and I’m torn as to whether everyone involved just “played along” with the “Oh, yes, Dr Barry is a man”, or if people were genuinely fooled. There’s an implication of both in various stories I read about Dr Barry, including in the idea that he would have gotten into the army if people had realised he was a woman in the first place. I somehow suspect not, at least in the time period, but I’m not a military historian and someone may come along and correct me on that.

A very important person in my life gave me a copy of the DVD “Tipping the Velvet”, which tells the story of a woman in Victorian England who started her career as a woman dressed as a man (and yet still obviously a woman), realised she was a lesbian, and dealt with all the social stigmas of it. (One scene that really stuck out was “It’s not like you had real sex - that requires a man.” I wish I could believe such things weren’t said anymore, but I’m not as naive as I used to be.) There’s a lot going on in the miniseries (and even more going on in the book, I’m sure), but one of the things that stuck out to me was that there were many many women shown as dressing “like a man” while not convincing anyone they were men, while simultaneously there were other women who were actually managing to bend their gender enough to “pass” as male when they wanted to.

Is this anyone’s particular area of study or interest that they can recommend some books or websites on the subject?

Coloured Silences

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

My history knowledge has not improved if the only people in it are all white.

When I originally set out to write about women in history this month, not only did I foolishly think I would be able to pull off a post every weekday (I had goals, dreams, plans….), I also thought I would write something balanced. I have a whole list of important women in history that cross time periods and social barriers and continents and colours, and so many of them that weren’t European, American, or Canadian were completely off my radar.

But what’s been even sadder, to me, has been that so few of the women that make up the history I know are Black. Or Native. Or Asian. These women seem to have disappeared for me entirely.

And what’s sadder than that - until this past year, I never noticed.

The first time I learned about someone in history as specifically a Black Woman was through a rant over on, of all places, Fandom Wank. There, I learned about Harriet Tubman, a black woman during the time of slavery. I learned she was part of the Underground Railway, and that when she was helping slaves to escape to Canada, she carried a gun with her. If they faltered, if they said they wanted to stop, were too tired, too scared, whatever, she would pull out the gun, point it at them, and say “You will live free or die here.”

That’s it. She’s the only non-White woman who enters into my knowledge of history with a name, with some bit of information, with an anecdote, that isn’t from China.

And I didn’t even notice.

I have a history degree. I have deliberately spent most of my adult life learning about dead people, and my blind spots were such that I noticed the lack of women’s voices, but not the lack of black voices, and even less the lack of native voices, because I’ve never had to notice. I’ve never had to be aware of their absence. When I look into history to see someone like me, I can look at Eleanor, at Artemisia, at Anastasia Romanov, at Laura Secord, at so many white women, and for all that their voices are few and rare and often overlooked, they’re there. They exist.

I don’t know the name of one Native Canadian woman in history. I took Canadian history for two years. How is that possible?

It’s the silences, I think, that define what we feel is important, and what we feel is not. If you think that the history of women is important, you’ll notice the silences. If you think the history of Black women, of Native women, of Asian women, of Mexican and Jewish and South American women are important, you’ll notice the silences.

I’ve noticed the silences.

I want to learn.

“I thought other women weren’t interested in sports and I thought they didn’t get it.”

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

I continue to run myself ragged, hence the silence on Women’s History.

So, instead, I will direct you to this, the story of Kathrine Switzer the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

About three miles into the race, the press truck caught up to Switzer, who was running with Briggs and her burly boyfriend, Tom Miller. When the photographers noticed a woman in the race with an official number, the cameras started to click. And something clicked inside a BAA official, Jock Semple, who jumped off the truck and ran at Switzer in an attempt to tear off her number.

“Get the hell out of my race and give me that number!” shouted Semple, one of the race’s top competitors during the 1930s.

Fortunately for Switzer, Semple only ripped a tiny corner of her number off. And when he tried again, Miller intervened, laying a shoulder block into Semple that sent the 64-year-old Scotsman sprawling to the pavement.

Semple got back on the press truck. As the vehicle left to rejoin the lead pack, Semple shook his fist and yelled, “You’re in deep trouble!”

The whole thing is a fascinating read.

Minding My Gap

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

I’ve been attempting for the better part of a week now to try and write up a history of Women’s Shelters. It’s been… difficult, to say the least.

The first difficulty has been in deciding what counts as a Woman’s Shelter. Previous to anything opening specifically for women, there were homeless shelters that many battered women would go to. There were also advocacy groups and store-front advice providers (like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in the UK) that would allow women to stay there when they had no place else to go. Often, women would just open their homes to other women who needed a place to stay. Do these count? They weren’t specifically done with an eye to ending domestic violence, but at the same time, they did help women get out of bad domestic situations, even temporarily.

The second difficulty comes from the contradictions that sprout up when trying to determine when the “first” shelter specifically for battered women opened. I’ve had dates and locations varying from the early 60s to the late 70s, from the UK to California, Chicago, or Massachusettes. I’ve found little to nothing almost anywhere else I’ve looked.

This is a history that takes place in the lifetime of my parents, and I still can’t find out what really happened. When did the idea that Battered Women needed a place to go get publicly acknowledged? When did the fact that beating a wife was wrong become a commonly-accepted idea? When did hotlines and national advocacy groups start with the idea of ending wife abuse?

I can’t find it, and this gap in my history frustrates me.

What I can safely tell you is this:

A second wave of feminism had kicked off, expanding the focus from legal equal rights (such as the right to vote and hold property) to include ‘actual’ rights (such as equality and balance in child-raising and housework). One of the ways that they did this was to just get women talking to each other about things. Groups of women would get together and talk about various subjects, like how they felt about having children, or what they thought about their husbands’ contributions to the housework. They were called Conciousness-Raising Groups, and they were modelled after groups with the same goals in the Civil Rights movement.

The point of this was for women to realise that their problems were shared problems. Arguing about the housework wasn’t something that was unique to one woman just having a difference of opinion with her husband - most men at the time weren’t helping with the housework. Women in these groups would discuss how this was a universal problem, and only universal solutions would fix it. In talking about these things, they realised how “the personal is political” - what happens in your personal life is affected by the overall society that you’re raised in.

When I started looking for information on Women’s Shelters and realised that they had started cropping up at around the same time that Consciousness-Raising Groups were discussing the societal pressures that lead to sexism and mistreatment of women, I thought it would be easy to find and point to some sort of causal link. I was certain there would be research I could at least get the edges of and dig further into later on.

Maybe there is, and I just haven’t found it.

Either way, I leave it there for you: I can’t tell you when or why specific places for women to go to when they were battered started cropping up. I can’t tell you when the idea that beating your wife was wrong came about.

I just know I’m damn glad it did.

Thanks, Feminism.

“So, when do we get a Men’s History Month?” - Blog Against Sexism Day 2007

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Blog Against Sexism DayIt’s inevitable, isn’t it? I mean, one writes about Women’s History Month and one is instantly asked “So, when is Men’s History Month?” Or, to be specific:

Can we have a men’s history month too? And talk about manly manly things? The history I teach is weighted to be representative of the whole population, not just men and not just white men. Every mainstream History 101 book that I know of being in use is well weighted to over represent minorities and women to compensate for past disparities. Which is just fine. But if most freshmen 101 history classes are well weighted to be a fair representation, then why the special month?

Why the special month indeed.

I decided to take a quick look at the syllabi (syllabuses?) of several History courses, trying to get a sense from them what sort of overview they were doing and how women were being considered within them. To be clear, the classes I looked at were limited to North American university classes, and those I could find online. It’s not the best representation, but it at least gives us something to look at. Frankly, it’s harder to find them online than I was expecting. I tried to look only at introductory courses, but rarely did they make it clear what they were teaching. Instead, I focused on courses teaching Medieval History, although one of my examples is an intro course.

The first one I looked at was “Poets, Priests, & Paladins: Views of the Medieval World“, a 300-level course on Medieval Europe. This time period (500 - 1500) includes Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mellisande, Margery Kempe, Joan of Arc, Clare of Assisi, and Hilda of Whitby. Women were founding and living in religious orders, they were going on crusade (as washer women), they were troubadours, they were weaving great tapestries, they were raising up their own armies and defending their own and their husband’s land… it’s a great time for a class that includes women, right?

Too bad this one only brings any attention to “Women’s Roles” on the 22nd day of class.

Of all the source material and the texts mentioned specifically in the syllabus, only one is about women, and it’s about Christine de Pizan. It’s not clear if it includes samples of her writing or not.

It does, however, manage to focus three different days on medieval faith, monks, and the papacy, and dedicates much of the reading to Arthur and the Round Table.

This isn’t striking me as a “fair representation”.

But that’s just one course, at one university. Let’s look at another.

Medieval History is another 300-level course, again in the same time period.

This course does a little bit better, at least in the syllabus. There are mentions of actual women - Hilda of Whitby, Heloise, and Eleanor - and some acknowledgement that women were a part of the culture at the time. But there’s still an entire class dedicated to the Status of Women (instead of it being spread out through the coursework, as one would think it should be), there’s no mention of any other women, Hilda is only mentioned in relation to Bede, and Eleanor gets seven classes dedicated to her in some way. There’s a “special” question on the status of women during the time of Bede, but all other questions focus on Bede entirely.

This class really looks like it’s falling into that trap I was talking about before of not knowing how to integrate women into the narrative. There seems to be no source material that is written by women, and making Eleanor so incredibly important makes her seem like the only woman of note in the time period. With a survey course, you’re not going to get into the nitty-gritty, but some acknowledgement that women were doing things other than being written about by Bede and having sex with Henry II would be nice.

But it’s definitely a step up from the first one.

The last class I looked at was “World History for Teachers” [DOC]. Because it’s a doc, I’ll quote a bit from the syllabus here:

Objectives:

1) Students will develop strong foundational knowledge of all major civilizations and societies in world history.
2) Students will be able to make inter-civilizational comparisons, especially regarding the major themes of world history, e.g. economic development, political organization, belief systems, use of technology, etc.

Textbooks:
The following books are required for this course:

1) Stearns, Peter N. (2006) World Civilizations: The Global Experience, 5th edition
2) Packet of readings from The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

I want to take note of that packet of readings there.

In the course of 13 weeks, it manages to mention two women. Elizabeth and Isabella.

Two.

September 11th gets an entire day of course material dedicated to it, but in a list of the influential people that the course will look at, women are tacked on to “The Rise of the West”.

*sigh*

Of the fourteen syllabi I looked at, only one seemed to have any real attempt at integrating women into the narrative, giving women their own voices, and treating women like they did more than get married. Unsurprisingly (to me), it was an advanced level seminar course with a very lengthy reading list. Heck, looking at it, I want to take this course.

To say that history as it’s taught right now in North America is somehow balanced to include women’s voices seems to me to be, at best, a naive comment and, at worst, a comment to how wilfully blind the person making it is to the way women’s voices are silenced in the historical narrative.

So, when is men’s history month?

As they say: The other 11 months of the year.

And that, my friends, is what sexism is.

Artemisia - Portrait of the Artist as a Failed Women’s History Subject

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

I think it’s kinda sad that the most defining thing about Artemisia Gentileschi is that she was raped. I studied her both in history class and in Art History, and the whole rape-trial thing seems to be the defining stuff. She was raped by her mentor and teacher, who, upon finding out she was a virgin, told her he’d marry her. She continued to be taught by him and have a consensual sexual relationship with him on that promise (well, consensual here isn’t necessarily the word I’d use - she apparently felt she was so shamed that she had to have him marry her, and he kept promising he would). Her father found out, and her mentor was tried for rape. Artemisia was tortured quite violently and refused to recant the accusation. Her rapist was convicted and banished for life, which meant about four months in reality since he had friends in high places. She left Rome, taking a friend who agreed to marry her to protect her honour, and made an attempt to move on.

But the thing that makes Artemisia interesting to me is that, in a time when women weren’t encouraged to be artists, and when those who were artists were primarily portrait painters, she was famous and well known enough to be part of the Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno - the first woman to be accepted. She painted Old Testament women (see: Judith over there on the left) at a time when religious art depicting women focused on Mary Mother of God and Mary Magdalene. She returns to Judith time and again, a story in itself which is very violent and out of character for women in the Bible.

(To sum up Judith in a few sentences, she was a Jewish woman during the time of a war against the Jews. The leader of the other side was Holofernes, and he was the key to the other side’s power. Judith went to his tent and offered herself to him as a concubine. He accepted, and they had sex. As soon as she was certain Holofernes was asleep, she cut off his head. Shortest story ever, I know. Go read up on it, it’s interesting.)

Artemisia was a friend to Galileo, and had Cosmo de Medici as a patron. She worked with Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, who was related to the famous Michelangelo, and helped with the ceiling paintings on a celebration of Michaelangelo’s work. She was well-respected in the art world of Florence, until her debts ran too high and her patron died. She returned to Rome some years later and was lauded there as an outstanding painter, with more high-level patrons. Eventually she numbered Charles I of England amongst them, who commissioned her to paint important ceilings in his court.

The frustrating thing about her career, as fascinating as it is, is how much it was completely ignored after her death. There was little mention of her art for centuries of study afterwards. After her death, verses were written about sexual scandal, but not about her abilities as an artist (”By painting one likeness after another/ I earned no end of merit in the world/ While, to carve two horns upon my husband’s head/I put down the brush and took a chisel instead.”). Her work was attributed to her father or to her mentors, but rarely to her. It’s only in recent decades that her art is being recognised as hers.

Artemisia is, I think, where Women’s History really starts to fall down. As I said, I studied her in two different classes, but most of what I could remember about her without any checking was she had been raped, and she painted Judith a lot. It’s a classic example of people pushing a woman into a history class without really knowing where to put her or how to emphasis her. She was an amazing artist at a time when women in the industry were few and far between, and what matters about her is she was raped? I think not.

What matters about Artemisia is she was an amazing artist who painted strong women well.

A Whirlwind Tour through the Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of my heroes. She ended up Queen of both France and England, went on Crusade (and led to the next call for Crusade specifically saying ‘No Women Allowed’ by having opinions and stuff), helped her sons rebel against her second husband, ended up locked in a tower for a few years, and then traveled around chunks of Europe ensuring her sons had brides and ransoms paid and all sorts of fun stuff. Not a bad life at all.

Eleanor ended up married to the heir to the throne of France almost immediately after inheriting the Duchy of Aquitaine. Her father had petitioned for the King to protect Eleanor because it was a time when unmarried heiresses were often kidnapped, raped, and forced into marriage. The King politely waited until the men mourning Eleanor’s father had left the room before expressing absolute delight that this thorn in his side was gone and plotting what the wedding would look like. {I love how randomly cruel people could be at this time period. Ask me some day about the party that was held by Anne Boleyn’s family when Catherine of Aragon died. History really *is* fun!}

At first everything looked good between Eleanor and her newly-crowned husband, Louis. Then the Crusades started, and Eleanor brought about 300 women with her and insisted that they were going to accompany the men on their way to liberate Jerusalem. This didn’t go over very well (since, you know, women were bad in the eyes of the Church). Adding to the tension Eleanor ran into her Uncle Raymond while on Crusade and seemed much more interested in him than her husband. When Raymond made a suggestion on strategy that Louis disagreed with but Eleanor supported, Louis insisted that Eleanor take his side. Her response: “Screw that – I support Raymond.” This, also, didn’t go over well, and Louis took Eleanor away from there by force.

This was basically the end of their marriage, although it struggled along for a few more years. They had a couple of daughters, but the marriage ended up annulled in 1152, leaving Eleanor once again a major land holder at the age of 30. (Hmm… sexual peak, anyone?)

Eleanor’s first decision shocked Europe even more than the annulment did – she married a man 10 years younger than her who was leading a rebellion against the King of England in support of his mother’s (and ultimately his own) claim to the throne. With Eleanor’s land and troop support, Henry Plantagenet would ultimately fight King Stephen to a standstill, and become King of England himself in 1154.

For probably the same reasons that any marriage between two strong-minded people with opinions and stuff can fall apart (aided in no small part by Henry’s constant affairs), the marriage became a battleground fought through their sons. Eleanor encouraged them to rebel against their father in order to claim land and power from Henry before he died and to reclaim for herself her land of Aquitaine. Henry put the rebellion down and locked Eleanor in a tower for the next fifteen years. {Okay, the tower had a castle attached to it – and there was more than one place she was locked up – but isn’t it more interesting to think of her sitting at the window, watching the days go by, wishing for someone to climb up her hair and rescue her?)

Eventually, Henry died, and Eleanor was freed by Richard the Lion-heart to return to being an important force in English and European politics. She helped raised the infamous ransom that would free Richard when he was being held captive by the French, helped fetch home Richard’s bride, and helped support John when he inherited Richard’s throne. (I’m over-simplifying here – John and Eleanor had an incredibly bad relationship, but she was determined that one of her sons would rule England and John was all she had left after Richard died.)

We’re talking about a woman who, at the age of 70, took a dangerous trip over the Pyrenees Mountains. Eleanor died in her 80s, still respected for her political power and acumen throughout Europe.

If I’m going to live to be 83, I want to do it with that much vim and vigor. Her influence was instrumental (heh) in setting up the Age of Troubadours and the Courts of Love. During her rebellion against Henry, she was 50. She never gave up, she never surrendered, and she completely rocks my socks off.

[If you find Eleanor interesting, you may want to read “While Christ and His Saints Slept” and “Time and Chance” by Sharon Kay Penman.]

- Bibliography –

Almost all of this information was from memory, but dates were checked and details confirmed at various websites.

I also read “Eleanor of Aquitaine – By the Wrath of God, Queen of England” by Alison Weir.

Eleanor and the Troubadours both are included in “Uppity Women of Medieval Times” by Vicki Leon, which you should read because it’s great and treats history like it’s actually fun.

Is It Really Her Story?

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

On a recent LJ post a friend of mine wrote, she stated in passing, quite emphatically, that she didn’t like the term herstory – it’s history, damn it. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that – on the one hand, I don’t like the word herstory either, but on the other hand, I do support Women’s History and classes that focus exclusively on that. Here we are, in Women’s History Month (the 20th one since its inception in the US in 1987 – and after deciding I was going to do a bunch of posting for it I was embarrassed to find out that Women’s History Month in Canada is in October), and people continue to ask why it’s necessary – why aren’t we just integrating women’s history into the core curriculum of history? Why are we making it separate?

The first reason is that we’re still playing catch up with a bunch of things that people just don’t know or don’t realise. Like, for example, that the term feminism was first used in France in 1405 to describe the writing of Christine de Pisan. Before I started looking into Women’s History, I had never heard of Black Farm Woman (Schwarze Hofmannin in German), and I’ve studied the Peasant Revolts that she was a big part of. I’ve heard of Joan of Arc, of course, and studied her as well, but I’ve never seen anything on the other women who followed her, either driven by faith, madness, or ambition. I knew of Isabella & Ferdinand, but had no idea of Isabella’s reputation as a Warrior Queen who rode into battle.

Secondly, what’s being done to integrate women into history classes is being done poorly. Students walk away from classes complaining that they just learned about certain women “because they’re women – not because they did anything”. (As though they don’t learn about Prime Ministers just because they’re Prime Ministers, regardless of how little they accomplished. Kim Campbell, anyone?) Where women fit into history isn’t being shown as part of the greater whole of history, put tacked in, and no one is learning anything from it.

Thirdly, and related to the first two reasons – educators don’t know as much about Women’s History as they would need to in order to properly integrate it into classrooms. When teachers don’t yet know the details of what Black Farm Woman did, they don’t know how to add her into the study of the Peasant Revolts, The Reformation, and Luther. She seems pushed in because she’s an unknown, still, to the teacher.

But this only talks of learning about certain women in history – pointing out the importance of women like Queen Melissande, who ruled Jerusalem during the same crusade that brought Eleanor of Aquitaine to the city. But other things are included in Women’s History, things that might not necessarily need to be included in your overall comprehensive This Is History class. And just like we can take classes that specialise in Maritime History, or History of Politics, or History of Christianity, classes like Women’s History or a History of Feminism can be illuminating and interesting.

To me, it seems like educators are fumbling around, attempting to work out a way of teaching about women’s contributions without overwhelming the course or making it An Issue. And whereas I can understand the arguments against Women’s History Month and specific classes about Women, I think that they will still be necessary as long as educators continue to not know how to integrate their classes properly.

In order to talk about Women’s History in all its permutations, I’m going to write about two different types of history this month: the history of important women, and the history of women – that is, things that are specifically related to women or are specifically put forward by them. Examples of the former are easy – Eleanor of Aquitaine, Melissande, Black Farm Woman – all women that are fascinating in their own right, not only for what they did but why. The latter will include things like the history of Women’s Shelters (called Refuges in Australia), how women got the vote, women’s contributions to the Crusades, and prostitution (not that all prostitutes are women).

I hope this is something you will find interesting to read along with. Knowledge of history isn’t expected or required, and I’ll answer any questions I can. I’m still learning myself, despite my studies of history, and I want to learn how to make history interesting to other people, as well as myself.