Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rotha Lintorn-Orman - Female Fuhrer

For those interested in this long forgotten part of British history, please visit "History Planet" to read this article in its entirity.  A snippet to whet the appetite:

Female Fuhrer
The History of British Fascism tends to be dominated by Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, itself a very a-typical fascist organisation. However Baronet Mosley’s (touted as future British Prime Minister during his tenure in both the Labour and Conservative parties) conversion to Fascism didn’t occur until 1931 when he visited Mussolini in Italy and the British Union of Fascists wasn’t formed until 1932 a full ten years after Il Duce’s march on Rome and 6 years after Hitler had published Mein Kampf.
Rotha was the daughter of a British army major, but her grandfather was Field Marshall Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons and she grew up in a minor gentry household able to afford a servant. When World War One broke out like many women Rotha went to work, but unlike most she did it by joining the army as an ambulance driver serving in the Reserve Ambulance Corp and later the Scottish Women’s Hospital Corps with whom she won Croix du Chairite twice for bravery, serving on the Drins Front in Serbia. In 1917 she was invalided back home with malaria where she joined the Red Cross and became commandant of the Motor School at Devonshire House in charge of training ambulance drivers.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ancient Romano-British Homicide

From UPI:
The body of a girl believed to have been killed by Roman soldiers almost 2,000 years ago has been discovered in north Kent in Britain, researchers say.

Archaeologists working on the site of a Roman settlement built on the route between Canterbury and St. Albans uncovered the remains, the BBC reported Thursday.

"She was killed by a Roman sword stabbing her in the back of the head," Paul Wilkinson, director of the excavation, said. "By the position of the entry wound she would have been kneeling at the time."

She had been between 16 and 20 years old when she was killed, and her bones suggested she had been in good health, Wilkinson said.

Fragments of Iron Age pottery found in the shallow grave date it to about A.D. 50 and suggest she was part of the indigenous population, he said.

That view was reinforced by the orientation of the body. Romans buried their dead lying east-west, whereas
this body was buried north-south as was the custom for pagan graves, Wilkinson said.

Curse of a Female Politician

FUNERALS by their very nature leave you depressed and demotivated. They invariably also leave you with so many questions.

Thenjiwe Lesabe’s funeral at Fort Rixon on Saturday, February 19, 2011, left me with more questions than answers. Here I was at a funeral of arguably one of the greatest women in the history of this country, a woman whose life had traversed different generations and a multiplicity of struggles and yet no one seemed to be able to draw an accurate picture of her life.

Lesabe, whose life’s history I have had to piece together from various conversations with different people, was an activist and a fighter during the liberation struggle. She was also at the center of the post-colonial Gukurahundi era, which ended with the ZAPU/ZANU Unity Agreement in 1987.And Lesabe is probably the only prominent woman who left Zanu PF to re-join the reformed ZAPU, now led by Dumiso Dabengwa.

Puerto Rican Women Make History

From NCN News:
A historic moment occurred at the Puerto Rico East District Assembly when presiding General Superintendent Emerita Nina G. Gunter and District Superintendent Olga Robles worked together at the table. It was not until the assembly business began that both realized this was the first district assembly in the Church of the Nazarene conducted with a female general superintendent and a female district superintendent in leadership.

Gunter, who served as general superintendent from 2005 to 2009, is the only woman ever elected to the highest office of the denomination. She officiated at the Puerto Rico East assembly on behalf of Mesoamerica Region jurisdictional general superintendent Dr. Eugénio R. Duarte. Robles is serving in her third year as superintendent of the Puerto Rico East District.

"There was quite the applause from the delegates and visitors to the assembly when Rev. Robles acknowledged this historic aspect," Gunter said. "I was delighted to serve with this positive, relational, and visionary leader." Robles also represents the Mesoamerica Region as a member of the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Inspiring Women Summit 2011

From CSR Wire:
Organizer: The Shift Network
Date: 05.07.11, 08:00AM – 05.13.11, 04:00PM
Location:Worldwide - from your computer & telephone!
Sponsor:The Shift Network

This is quite an exciting time in history to be a woman! More and more of us are waking up to our true gifts and helping midwife the birth of a new era that re-balances our culture with feminine qualities and leadership.

That’s why we're thrilled to be co-sponsoring the 2nd annual Inspiring Women Summit, May 7th-13th, which is bringing together empowered women from all over the world to make the biggest impact possible in these shifting times.

Click here to sign up now for this FREE virtual event:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Robin Oliveira - My Name Is Mary Sutter

This book is a good suggestion for reading on the occasion starting this year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and a fitting end to March as Women's History Month. It is the story of one woman who starts out as a midwife and yearns to become a surgeon. Since this was an unlikely occupation for a woman in the mid-1800's, she was rejected time and again from medical school and eventually answers the call of reformer Dorothea Dix to become a nurse just as the Civil War is beginning. She was at first even turned down for that because of the strict social regulations of the time for women and men.

Mary sets off on her own to the front and apprentices herself to a doctor. The story of the Civil War from a medical standpoint unfolds from there. It is not light reading, but her personal story woven throughout exposes the reader to the full scale of how inadequately prepared both the North and South were for real battle, real deaths, and real lifelong injuries.

Remembering Almena Lomax

She was a pioneering journalist who founded a newspaper at a most challenging time in the nation's history, especially for a Black woman.

Almena Lomax, 95, who was also a civil rights activists, died on March 25, in Pasadena, California after a brief illness; the family did not disclose details.

Mrs. Lomax became the first black journalist to be accredited by the Motion Picture Academy, and led boycotts of the movies “Porgy and Bess” and “Imitation of Life,” which Mrs. Lomax believed “libeled the Negro race.” Active in the Civil Rights Movement, in 1956 Mrs. Lomax was active in the bus boycott, and stayed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family in Montgomery, Alabama, producing her highly acclaimed “Mother’s Day in Montgomery: Boycott Leader Serves His Congregation Toynbee, Langston Hughes, Emerson and Jesus Christ, and is Received in Complete Consanguinity.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ancient & Mordern Nubian Women

The land of Nubia extends from the first, as Aswan, to the fourth cataract, in the Nubian Desert. Nubia is divided into lower Nubia in Egypt and upper Nubia in Sudan.

Historically speaking Nubia’s strategic importance comes from the fact that it is the only continuously inhabited corridor between the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa, which in many ways has shaped its history.

That Nubian history starts around 3100 B.C. similar to the Egyptian history; to keep track of Nubia’s history it is divided into Groups A, C and the Kerma culture.

History tells us Nubia enjoyed many episodes of political power under the kingdoms of Kerma, Napata as well as the Meriotic kingdoms. It is worth noting that the Golden Age of Nubia started after a decline in the Egyptianization of the Kush region-which lies to the south of Egypt and north of Sudan.

Nubian Kings and Queens came to power starting the 25th Dynasty and ruled the whole land of Egypt during a period known as the Napatan period (760-593 B.C.).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Film - The Conspirator

From Gateway:
"The Conspirator" is the story of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), the only woman charged as a co-conspirator in the killing of President Lincoln, and the mother of John Surratt, one of the eight conspirators that included John Wilkes Booth. The 28-year-old Fredrick Aiken is a Union solider who recently returned from the war and is just beginning to practice law. His mentor, Reverdy Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) asks him to take the case. He is reluctant at first but soon begins to see the injustices in Surratt's military tribunal.

This movie isn't just about the execution of Surratt. Though it plays like a legal thriller, you never get that David and Goliath feel. History has told us how this story ends, and it's fairly clear from almost the first courtroom scene that Aiken has no chance of winning.

Buthayna Kamel - Egypt's Next President?

For the first time in the history of Egypt, a woman is running for president.

Buthayna Kamel, a 49-year-old talk show host, has announced her candidacy for the presidential election that will be held later this year. This monumental step would not have been possible had it not been for the youth uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. In the past, only candidates who were approved by Mubarak and rubber-stamped by his Parliament could run.

However, what is supposed to be a historic moment is being overshadowed by many Egyptian women who feel that they will be “shut out” of the emerging government, according to NPR.

Well-known Egyptian activist Nawal El Saadawi believes securing women’s rights isn’t going to be through a female presidential candidate, but through the unification of women’s groups who will follow exactly what the youth did to defeat the old regime.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fanti Women Support Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings

From Ghana Web:
The Fanti Women Caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has declared support for the Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings for the Flagbearership of the party.

They have thus called on President Atta Mills to step aside in order to save the party.

They made it clear that Nana Konadu is the only hope for the party and they support her due to her remarkable achievement.

The Press Conference was held on Saturday, April 11 2011 at Biriwa in the Mfantseman West Constituency of the Central Regional.

The Paramount chief of Biriwa, Nana Akyin Attanya V who was present at the conference advised the members to stay focused and rally around Nana Konadu to help build a prosperous nation.

Rebecca Carr by Steve Martin

The Wayne County Soldier's Registry for the Civil War lists more than 3,500 men. In that book is one woman who "earned an honored place among the Wayne County soldiers that fought."

The directory states, "besides furnishing two sons and a husband for the army, she volunteered her own services as nurse to the 36th Indiana Regiment and received a pension of her own."
Her name was Rebecca Carr.

Assam Witch Hunts

A spate of killings in Assam’s Kokrajhar district in the past one week has shed new light on rampant ignorance, illiteracy and superstitions among rural tribal folk.

Four women have been hacked to death in Kokrajhar district since April 15, with the police saying all are victims of superstition and alleged practice of witchcraft. Two people were killed earlier in the year.

Women & Warfare

From the Waverley Leader - Remembering our ANZAC Women:
WHILE most of the focus on Anzac Day highlights the many soldiers who fought for their country in military conflicts, a strong group of ladies will also pause on April 25 to remember their contribution.

Oakleigh Carnegie RSL life member Verna Phillips will be one of them.

The 88-year-old joined the Australian Army during World War II in 1942 after seeing notices posted in the city encouraging women to take on administration and office jobs.

From Third Coast Digest - Band of Sisters:
America’s female soldiers are breaking new ground both here and abroad. They are fighting and dying just like the men do.

It is this phenomenon that led author Kirsten Holmstedt to focus two books on the stories of female soldiers, both in the Iraqi theatre and after they returned home.

From the Arizona Republic - Woman Who Spied For The Union:
"Nurse," written by Marissa Moss, tells the true tale of teenager Sarah Emma Edmonds, who dressed as a man and enlisted in the Union Army under the name Frank Thompson. Thompson rescued the wounded on battlefields, nursed them and served as a spy, disguising herself as a slave to get behind Confederate lines.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Indian Census: Girls Declining

From NPR:
India's latest census revealed a disturbing trend: There are far fewer girls born each year than boys.

Activists say the disparity is deliberate.

Much of Indian culture regards boys as assets to families and girls as liabilities. Some families are using ultrasound technology to determine the gender of fetuses and then aborting the females.

The process has been going on for decades, leading to a shortage of marriageable girls that is beginning to make itself felt all over India.

Dr. C. Chandramouli, India's census commissioner, says the numbers don't lie: The girls are missing.

Among children under 6 years old in India today, there are only 940 girls for every 1,000 boys. Worldwide, it's around 986 to every 1,000.

Chandramouli says this is a continuation of a trend that was first seen clearly in the 2000 census — but the new figures show the problem is spreading.

As a comparison, I would like to compare these results with census' taken in other countries to see whether it is a universal trend or localised.

Yemeni Women Protest

From CNN:
Thousands of Yemeni women marched toward the attorney general's office in the capital Saturday demanding legal action for what they called the president's attacks on their morality.

Similar demonstrations took place in other cities as well fueled by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's comments the day before.

In a short speech Friday, Saleh said women who were protesting against his regime were violating Yemeni cultural norms that prohibit mixing with men who are not direct relatives. He called it forbidden behavior in Islam and advised women to stay home.

Angry female activists said Saleh was trying to degrade them in public.

Prominent activist Tawakkol Karman said Saleh was shocked to see women leading Yemen's revolt.

"Saleh has finally shown the world his real face and his hatred against women," said Karman, a leading member of Islah, the largest opposition party in Yemen.

"Women have ruled Yemen on numerous occasions throughout Yemen's history," she said. "That is why he has tried to oppress women for the 33 years he has been in power."

Indian Women & the Mahalaxmi Temple

The Anna Hazare blitzkrieg, which shook up the entire system, proved that India is changing fast. A similar tremor of change was felt at the heart of the Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur on Saturday. In this case, the pride of the patriach, the ultimate male bastion fortified by centuries of rules loaded against the fairer sex, was finally breached.

The garbhagruha (sanctum sanctorum) of the important twelfth century temple in a city of half a million, nestled in the lush corner of south Maharashtra’s sugar belt, was witness to a change in the course of history, with one line shouted out by a trustee of the temple a few minutes past 10.30 am: “Let the women devotees in.”

The trustee requested the male devotees to empty the tiny space and make way for the women. What followed was a group of women, who walked up the silver-coated staircase leading to the innermost shrine of Ambabai with a quiet zest in their steps, even as the few priests inside watched, aghast.

The centuries-old barrier had been broken at last, even as the hardcore traditionalists, which most of the priests in the garbhagruha are, watched in dismay because to them the sanctity of the divine abode of Ambabai, one among the Shaktipeeths, had been defiled.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Enigma of Stephanie Rosenthal

We are all used to the phenomenon of the wandering Jew, and to finding a Jew in almost every nook and cranny. But who would have imagined that in the 1920s, a Polish Jewish woman was writing a best-seller in Chinese that was said to be “going like matza water” because half a million copies had been sold.

Prof. Irene Eber, an eminent scholar of Chinese literature and history and of Jews in China, was reading a fascinating travelogue by Mejlekh Ravitch, a Yiddish poet from Warsaw, written while he traveled in China for six months during 1935. Ravitch mentioned having met a landsman, one of the few women writers in the country. This discovery set Eber on a search to uncover the identity of her landsman as well.

Gurubari Meher - Freedom Fighter & Martyr

From the Times of India:
On January 28, a few months before India became independent, the then (princely) state government of Sonepur let loose a reign of terror at Binika town. The people rose in revolt against the king for his pro-British stance.

Nearly 20,000 freedom fighters, led by a brave woman, organized a mass movement against the king. Police resorted to baton charge and the woman leader of the movement was shot dead by the police. The woman, Gurubari Meher, became a martyr in India's freedom struggle.

But while the names of many other freedom fighters of the state have made it to the hall of fame, hardly anyone remembers this valiant woman. The story of Gurubari is one that has never been retold to the residents of Independent India, and, strangely, neither do many historians know of her.

She laid down her life for India's sake but remained unsung. Except for a small mention of her participation in the Praja Mandal Movement, she has not been portrayed as the brave soldier of western Orissa that she was.

A Woman Named Canyon Sam

Director Quentin Lee (The People I’ve Slept With) is looking for support in his latest project, the short documentary “A Woman Named Canyon Sam”. Based in San Francisco, Canyon Sam is an accomplished performance artist, published author and passionate activist. Canyon’s book Sky Train: Tibetan Women on the Edge of History received PEN America Center’s Open Book Award in 2010. Canyon Sam is also one of the first Asian American lesbian activists in the world.

The Princess of Montpensier

It’s not easy to make a 140-minute Medieval-set film, even one about sexual desire and rivalry, pulse with passion. That is the challenge veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier grapples with in The Princess of Montpensier, his middling adaptation of Madame de La Fayette’s short story about various men vying for the affections of an unhappy princess in 16th-century France.

Tavernier has assembled a cast of rising young stars to inject some heat into the handsomely mounted proceedings, but what their photogenic presence and the director’s own agility behind the camera can’t give the film is a sense of urgency. Despite the intelligence and savoir-faire that clearly went into making The Princess of Montpensier, the movie gives the impression of going through the motions rather than engaging the viewer with its ideas and images, which mostly feel familiar.

Set against the backdrop of the war between Catholics and Protestants, The Princess of Montpensier centers on a young heiress, Marie de Mezieres (Melanie Thierry), and the different men who, to varying degrees, love her, want her, revere her, and resent her: the insecure prince whom she is forced to marry (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet); the prince’s cousin, a studly knight with questionable intentions (Gaspard Ulliel); a quick-witted duke with a devilish gleam in his eye (Raphael Personnaz); and the count of Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), a retired warrior who becomes Marie’s tutor and pines for her from the sidelines in what is by far the film’s most persuasive and palpable emotion.

Reconstructing Viking Woman

From BBC News:
Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the face of a Viking woman whose skeleton was unearthed in York more than 30 years ago.

The facial reconstruction was achieved by laser-scanning her skull to create a 3D digital model.

Eyes were then digitally created, along with hair and a bonnet, to complete the look.

The project was part of a £150,000 investment at York's Jorvik Viking Centre.

The Dundee academics were brought in by the centre's owners, the York Archaeological Trust, as part of a project to bring York's Vikings to life.

The female skeleton used was one of four excavated at Coppergate in York.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A History of Lipstick

From The Vine:
For thousands of years the mouth has been considered the most sensual part of the face. And whether we know it or not, whether we'll admit to it or not, we women have relished in exploiting the mouth's powers by decorating and enhancing our lips. It'd be careless to view lipstick as merely seductive, however. Depending on the colour, and the shape of the lip line, lipstick is also a symbol of power, of sophistication, of rebellion, of courage, of optimism and more.

Digging Up The Mona Lisa

Italian researchers are planning to dig up bones in a Florence convent to try to identify the remains of a Renaissance woman believed to be the model for the Mona Lisa. If successful, the research might help ascertain the identity of the woman depicted in Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece – a mystery that has puzzled scholars and art lovers for centuries and generated countless theories.

The project aims to locate the remains of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a rich silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo. Tradition has long linked Gherardini to the painting, which is known in Italian as La Gioconda and in French as La Joconde. Giorgio Vasari, a 16th-century artist and biographer, wrote that Leonardo painted a portrait of del Giocondo's wife.

Fake Amarna Princess On Show

From BBC News:
A fake ancient Egyptian statue has returned to the museum in Greater Manchester which was tricked into paying £440,000 for it.

Bolton Council bought the Amarna Princess in 2003 after Christie's and the British Museum authenticated the figurine as 3,300 years old.

But the statue of the granddaughter of King Tutankhamun was created by Shaun Greenhalgh in his shed in Bolton.

It, and other fakes, will go on display at Bolton Museum from 16 April.
See post from 16th November 2010 - Fake Amarna Princess

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Leonora Galigai by Historian Yaara Bar-On

Historian Yaara Bar-On goes back to the 17th century to tell the story of Leonora Galigai, the Jewish companion of the queen of France. Her tale reflects the feminist struggle across the ages and into our own day

Galigai is at the center of a new book, "A 'Jewish Witch' in the Court of Louis XIII, King of France: The Trial of Leonora Galigai, 1617" (Carmel Publishing; Hebrew), by the historian Yaara Bar-On, the deputy president for academic affairs at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.

It's a story of high drama, complete with a show trial, rampant prejudice, court intrigues, struggles between men and women, between princes and servants. Among the issues the writer examines are xenophobia, misogyny, the power of gossip and other phenomena that are still very much with us today. Above all, though, the book brings alive the 17th century in a way that reconfirms the relevance of its history for our own time.

Arab Women Protestors - Figureheads & Mascots

A common theme since the Arab uprisings started has been the celebration of the role of women in the protests. Some have even gone so far as to say that the "stereotype of the submissive, repressed victim has been shattered by female protesters in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen". I am not sure that women on the ground in these countries feel the same way, or feel that their participation in the protests is unprecedented.

While the prominence of women in the revolutions has been moving, there is a psychology behind celebrating and glorifying women's political activity when it is part of a popular push. In these times women are almost tokenised by men as the ultimate downtrodden victims, the sign that things are desperate, that even members of the fairer sex are leaving their hearths and taking to the streets. The perception isn't that women are fighting for their own rights, but merely that they are underwriting the revolution by bringing their matronly dignity to the crowd like some mascot.

Exhibition: Her History in Taiwan

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) It may be hard to imagine today, but 100 years ago in Taiwan, more than half the local women had their feet bound and were kept at home, and some were sold as commodities.

A reminder of those hardships can now be seen at an exhibition at Academia Sinica in Taipei that offers a unique look into the lives of Taiwanese women and the evolution of their roles in society up to 1950 -- from a female point of view.

Titled "Her History in Taiwan, " the exhibition shows how women lived, struggled and transformed their lives through a collection of marriage papers, contracts, photographs, diaries, and personal items selected from the digital archives of Academia Sinica's Institute of Taiwan History, the exhibition's organizer.

International Women of Courage Award 2010

Panama’s most highly educated indigenous woman Toribia Venado Venado nominated for the U.S. Secretary of State’s 2010 International Women of Courage Award, was officially recognized in Panama this week (ending April 2).

In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Ambassador to Panama, Phyllis Powers, hosted a reception at the Ambassador’s residence.

The State Department issues the award each year to women from around the world who make outstanding sacrifices to advance human rights, particularly women’s rights, and to help protect those who are vulnerable.

Toribia Venado Venado is currently the Assistant Director of the National Institute of Women. one of the most senior government positions ever held in Panama by an indigenous woman.