Women of the Red Cross Motor Corps in WWI

Just leave it to a group of fiercely determined women to make a name for themselves behind the wheels of the Motor Corps’ ambulances. As Sophia Petrillo of the Golden Girls repeatedly said, “Picture it”… it’s the turn of the 19th Century and the production of automobiles has, pun intended, revved up. It’s an age of[…]

A Tale of Two Suffragists: Hazel Hunkins and Maud Wood Park

Thousands of women took different paths and pursued multiple strategies to win the goal of securing the right to vote. Two suffragists arrived in Washington, D.C. in late 1916, one from Billings, Montana and the other from Boston. Born twenty years apart, they spent the next three years in the nation’s capital working for the[…]

Anne Bradstreet: America’s First Literary Voice in the 17th Century

America’s first literary star, Anne Bradstreet, who was a pioneer in more ways than one. Anne came to the new American colony in 1630 from Great Britain, with her husband Simon Bradstreet and family. She was just 18. They were Puritans who left the home country because of political and religious tensions. But traveling by[…]

The Women Who Built Mayo Clinic

Franciscan nuns, physicians, anesthesiologists, and social workers helped created a pathbreaking medical center. Several years ago, a few colleagues and I discovered a well-kept secret about Mayo Clinic, where we all worked. We had decided to create a Jeopardy game for Women’s History Month based on women who were involved in the early years of[…]

Mary Astell: Woman Philosopher Who Called Out Misogyny in the 17th Century

Astell recognized the ways in which background social structures explain behaviors. The English philosopher Mary Astell (1666-1731) was a woman ahead of her time. She anticipated discoveries in the social dimension of knowledge and explanation that you might have thought were made only in the 21st century. She also revealed the existence of a form[…]

Tracing 500 Years of Pregnancy Portraits, from the Tudors to Today

A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London traces 500 years pregnancy portraiture. A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London looks closely at 500 years of portraiture to explore how pregnancy was depicted — and not depicted — from the Tudors to today. Curator Karen Hearn has been thinking about this subject[…]

When Dorothy Parker Got Fired from ‘Vanity Fair’

How Parker’s determination to speak her mind — even when it angered men in positions of power — gave her pride of place. This article, When Dorothy Parker Got Fired from Vanity Fair, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ Dorothy[…]

Twelve Great Women of Ancient Persia

Ancient Persian (pre-Islamic) women had almost equal rights with men and, in many instances, more freedoms and benefits. Introduction Women in ancient Persia had more rights and greater freedom than any other ancient civilization including, according to some scholars, even ancient Egypt which is famous for its respect for the feminine principle in religion as[…]

Hildegard of Bingen: Early Medieval Christian Mystic

Hildegard of Bingen was called the “Sibyl of the Rhine” because of her apocalyptic visions. Introduction Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179), also known as Blessed Hildegard and Saint Hildegard, was a German religious teacher, prophetess, and abbess. At a time when women were often not recognized in the public and religious sphere she was also an[…]

Christine de Pizan and the Medieval ‘Book of the City of Ladies’

This is probably the best expression of of Pizan’s views of contemporary medieval women. The Woman Question In the late Middle Ages, one of the most popular books was the Romance of the Rose (Roman de la Rose), begun in 1237 by Guillaume de Lorris and expanded by Jean de Meun some decades later. The[…]

Women in Ancient Egypt

Women in ancient Egypt were the equals of men in every area except occupations. Introduction One of the central values of ancient Egyptian civilization, arguably the central value, was ma’at – the concept of harmony and balance in all aspects of one’s life. This ideal was the most important duty observed by the pharaoh who,[…]

Selma Lagerlöf: Surface and Depth

Analyzing the importance of Lagerlöf’s oeuvre and the complex depths beneath her seemingly simple tales and public persona. This article, Selma Lagerlöf: Surface and Depth, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ In 1909, an ageing “spinster,” with a marked limp,[…]

Women in the Mongol Empire

They had more rights than women in contemporary cultures to the east and west of Mongolia, some even reigning as regents. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Women in the Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) shared the daily chores and hardships of steppe life with men and were largely responsible for tending animals, setting up camps, childrearing, producing[…]

How Forceps Permanently Changed the Way Humans Are Born

Childbirth used to be a terrifying ordeal. But women were surrounded by others – mothers, aunts, sisters – who brought love and experience. But midway through the 19th century, this changed. Introduction Obstetric forceps look like ninja weapons. They come as a pair: 16 inches of solid steel for each hand with curved “blades” that[…]

Warrior Women of the World of Ancient Macedon

Amazons of legend and very real Scythian tribes were mentioned in the same breath in ancient Greece. By David GrantHistorian and Author Introduction The 8th November is celebrated as Archangels Day in Greece, but on that November day in 1977 CE something remarkable happened: an excavation team led by Professor Manolis Andronikos were roped down[…]

Women’s Voice and Religious Utterances in Ancient Greece

Examining religious utterances such as curses, supplication, and prayer, as reflected in some passages from ancient Greek epic and tragedy. Introduction This paper tackles the issue of women and religion through a particular looking glass: religious utterances such as curses, supplication, and prayer, as reflected in some passages from ancient Greek epic and tragedy—pivotal literary[…]

The Priestess Pythia at the Ancient Delphic Oracle

The role of priestess at Delphi was enormously influential. She was consulted on everything from warfare to love to public policy. Introduction In a time and place that offered few career opportunities for women, the job of the priestess of Apollo at Delphi stands out. Her position was at the centre of one of the[…]

The Female World of Love and Larceny in the Eighteenth Century

Men were transient figures (and often dupes) of light-fingered sex workers, but women’s relationships with each other were often more enduring. I was recently delighted to learn of the return of the period drama Harlots for a third season. The television series set in rival eighteenth-century London brothels is good viewing, even if its portrait[…]

Prehistoric Bones of Women in Russian Cave Links to Modern Indigenous People

The bones show interbreeding Neanderthal and Denosivan humans. This article reprinted from RFE/RL. A piece of bone from a cave in Russia has yielded what may be the biggest archaeological find of the year, media reported on August 30. The bone belonged to an ancient human who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father.[…]

Scientists Wonder: Did Cave Women Wander?

Primitive women were more likely than their male counterparts to pack up and leave the cave. Primitive women were more likely than their male counterparts to pack up and leave the cave, eventually partnering with men from further afield, according to a study published in Nature magazine. By studying fossilised teeth from nearly 2 million years ago found[…]

Persecuting the Powerless: Why Most Accused Witches Were Women

Witch trials most often targeted a persecuted minority: women. Introduction “Witch hunt” – it’s a refrain used to deride everything from impeachment inquiries and sexual assault investigations to allegations of corruption. When powerful men cry witch, they’re generally not talking about green-faced women wearing pointy hats. They are, presumably, referring to the Salem witch trials,[…]

Women’s Roles in the Industrial Revolution

Throughout the Industrial Revolution, gender was a major influence on worker salary. Experience of Women at the Outset of Industrialization The Industrial Revolution impacted different social classes of women in numerous ways.  Throughout this time period, the working class citizens were most significantly impacted.  Many women who did not belong to wealthy families would often[…]

Lady Hell Cats: Women Marines of World War I

In 1918, the Marine Corps began investigating how the integration of women would take place. By Kenna HowatHistorian Prior to World War I, if a woman wanted to join the military, she would have to join as a nurse or disguise her sex. Some historians estimate that hundreds of women served in the Civil War[…]