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Women's History
and the struggle for
Women's Rights

 

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Women's History Month from Time Magazine for Kids, covers suffrage, sports, powerful women, women in US history, Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, many others.

 

Women's History and Heritage Month "celebrates the contributions that women have made in all aspects of society. Learn more about their accomplishments through our selection of articles and photo galleries." This Smithsonian article covers diverse women like Cleopatra, Harriet Tubman, The Supremes, and Anne Frank. It also heavily covers American women in the arts: music, painting, photography, and writing.

 

Women's History Month from Scholastic turned up articles and teaching ideas for women's rights, feminism, sports, and tons of articles on women in non-traditional fields. Plenty of material here.

 

 

Woman Suffrage Parade Washing to DC 1913

 

 

Women's History Month from the Library of Congress has a link to a very cool Pinterest page about the Suffrage Movement, with plenty of period photos. The Treasures of Women's Suffrage page is also amazing, with all sorts of objects related to women's rights. Check out The National Woman Suffrage Parade, 1913 page, it's also quite interesting. There's a slideshow and oodles of links to other sections of this deceptively large site, covering both victories and defeats.

 

In the USA, Native Americans of both genders got the right to vote in 1924, when they officially became citizens. It took until 1948 for all the states to finally let all Native people vote.

 

 

Women Rock Science

 

 

For all the women that made us women from the blog "Marilyn & Josephine" has brief bios of 14 women who changed the world, in big or small ways. In order: Nawal El Saadawi, Golda Meir, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Margaret Cho, Gloria Steinem, Ayaan Hirsi, Coretta Scott King, Manal al-Sharif, Amelia Earheart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benazir Bhutto, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Shirley Chisholm, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

 

Well Behaved Women

 

 

Hedy Lamarr - Actress, mathematician, inventor, pioneer of radar, microwaves, frequency hopping, and radio controls.

 

 

Malala quote about being shot

"Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too," Malala said at the United Nations in July 2013.
"They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed."
"And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."

 


 

 

Girls Not Brides logo "Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 500 civil society organisations
committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfil their potential."
Learn about Child Marriage.
Read Girls' Voices
Check out the impacts at News and Analysis
#MyLifeAt15 celebrates the dreams and ambitions we hold at the age of 15 in support of every girl having the opportunity to achieve hers, without child marriage holding her back.
Download the .pdf file flyer

 

How Inge Lehmann used earthquakes to discover the Earth’s inner core Very good article from Vox. Plenty of graphics help explain how she did it. This isn't the only good Inge Lehmann article out there, but it had the best combination of biography, brevity, science, and understandable graphics.

 

 

  Lucy Maud Montgomery "was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. Anne of Green Gables was an immediate success. The central character, Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following." (Wikipedia)

 

 

Margaret Hamilton developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. Software designer, systems engineer, businesswoman. Invented new paradigms for coding that vastly increase the reliability of software. Designed Universal Systems Language (USL).

Maragaret Hamilton 1995 In Apollo capsule in the 1960's M.H. with program printouts < That is a stack of code, students. Back in the day there were no monitors and only 8" tape reels for storage! You had to run a program to see if it worked! This was a major incentive in the quest to develop better software! Which she did. Read the Wikipedia article.

 

 

 


 

 

Maria Sibylla Merian 1647 - 1717 Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women of Art and Science, is all about this self-educated German artist and pioneer scientist of 367 years ago. She was a trailblazer in entomology (study of insects), botany (study of plants), the study of biomes, use of the scientific method, and accurate scientific illustration. Read her bio and learn about her beginnings at age 13, studying silkworm metamorphosis. Learn about her daughters, and all the profusely illustrated (that means lots of pix) books she and they wrote about insects and the plants they live with. The paintings, by the way, are beautiful! The narrated slideshow is definitely worth watching to the end. This woman and one daughter went to the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America by themselves (gasp) at a time when "respectable women" did NOT! EVER! DO THAT! Read how the daughters followed in mom's footsteps and became great painters in their own right. They helped illustrate mom's books and kept the books in print, with a little help from Czar Peter (The Great) and other friends. Check out the ladies' paintings here. This site is from The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Visit if you're in the area, and be amazed.

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian A biography for kids, featured in A Mighty Girl.

 


 

Dr. Mary H. Schweitzer, Phd "It's a girl and she's pregnant," Dr. Schweitzer said to her lab assistant, Jennifer Wittmeyer. These two researchers used ingenious lab techniques to discover soft tissue in T-Rex fossils. At a presentation at the Black Hills Institute in 2005, we in the audience watched spellbound as she gently pulled and stretched 68 million year old tissue from medullary bone from an ovulating T-Rex's femur!

  • From Wikipedia: "Schweitzer was the first researcher to identify and isolate soft tissues from a 68 million year old fossil bone. The soft tissues are collagen, a connective protein."
  • From Smithsonian: "Before female birds start to lay eggs, they form a calcium-rich structure called medullary bone on the inside of their leg and other bones; they draw on it during the breeding season to make eggshells. Schweitzer had studied birds, so she knew about medullary bone, and that’s what she figured she was seeing in that T. rex specimen."
  • An NSF article stated in part: "Schweitzer found that the dinosaur tissue was virtually identical to that of the modern birds in form, location and distribution. Removal of the bones' minerals revealed that medullary bone from the ostrich and emu was virtually identical in structure, orientation and even color, with that of the T. rex."
  • This shows (1) there is still a lot to learn about fossilization and (2) yet more proof that birds ARE dinosaurs.
    And that leg bone is still 68 million years old, soft tissue and all.

     


     

     

     

    Maud Menten.jpg"Maud Menten ( 1879 – 1960) was born in Port Lambton, Ontario. She was a Canadian physician-scientist who made significant contributions to enzyme kinetics and histochemistry. Her name is associated with the famous Michaelis–Menten equation in biochemistry. She was among the first women in Canada to earn a medical doctorate. At the time she completed her thesis work at University of Chicago, women were not allowed to do research in Canada, so she did her research in Germany." From Wikipedia via Sally Michaelis on Pinterest.
    At Menten's death, colleagues Aaron H. Stock and Anna-Mary Carpenter honored the Canadian biochemist in an obituary in Nature: "Menten was untiring in her efforts on behalf of sick children. She was an inspiring teacher who stimulated medical students, resident physicians and research associates to their best efforts. She will long be remembered by her associates for her keen mind, for a certain dignity of manner, for unobtrusive modesty, for her wit, and above all for her enthusiasm for research."

     

     

     

     

     

    Maya AngelouMaya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. (Wikipedia)

    Maya Angelou/Quotes
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival, not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.

     

     

    Maya Angelou

    The world has lost a great voice today. A self-taught master of the written word, Angelou also spoke no less than six languages. A traumatic and violent childhood, marked by years of silence, led to a blossoming of her artistry and her gifts. She was a champion for civil rights and justice, and on the inner circle with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2011 she received our nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. We know now why the caged bird sings, and we release her spirit today back to the starry heavens. May your light shine ever on, Maya Angelou. - George Takei

     

     

    Minnie Spotted Wolf, American Minnie Spotted Wolf This tough, 5'5" (165 cm) ranch hand from the Blackfoot Nation in northwest Montana set fence posts and broke wild horses before joining the US Marines in World War II. She was a heavy equipment operator, a truck driver, and a mechanic. When the war was over, she went home and taught school for 29 years, raised four kids, and kept working on the ranch. She could outride the young men of her people into her 50s. "Mom was proud of who she was. She wasn't in the military just for herself, but for the Indian people. She wanted others to know who she was and where she came from." Another hard-working, honest, no-nonsense American woman.

     

     

    Women's History Month from the History Channel. "Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women's History Month is a celebration of women's contributions to history, culture and society. The United States has observed it annually throughout the month of March since 1987. Much like a fractal "tree", this site branches out and goes on and on... You'll love it! Suffice it to say there are 22 videos, 10 photo galleries; links to themes, events, biographies, suffragettes, wars, and more.

     

     

    Women's Suffrage Convention drawingGrandmother's Choice: Votes for Women Nothing gets you into the history better than your own ancestors' stories. This is the story of Katharine Hepburn's mother, aunts, and grandmother, who were in the forefront of the Women's Sufferage Movement in America, over 100 years ago. Katherine Houghton Hepburn did not rest after the 19th Amendment was passed. She joined with Margaret Sanger to fight for legalized birth control. " Her namesake daughter Katharine Hepburn, the movie star, (four Academy Awards for Best Actress) told Life Magazine in the 1940s, 'My mother is important. I am not.' " Read it for yourself at this site, which also links to the story of the British "suffragettes" and "suffragists", and a short mention of Australian suffragists. (You may have noticed this is a quilting site. One of our team members quilts, and noticed the value of this "piecework" of the "fabric" of women's history.)

    From Katharine Hepburn's IMDb Bio: "Her first name is often misspelled as Katherine, it is actually spelled Katharine with a second A. She was known for correcting those who spelled it wrong."

     

     

    Rosalind Franklin.jpg R E Franklin PhD.jpg

    Rosalind Franklin: DNA's unsung hero, by Cláudio L. Guerra. From TED-Ed Original Lessons. "The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most important scientific achievements in human history. The now-famous double helix is almost synonymous with Watson and Crick, two of the scientists who won the Nobel prize for figuring it out. But there’s another name you may not know: Rosalind Franklin. Cláudio L. Guerra shares the true story of the woman behind the helix." She did the work and they got the credit (you know, sexism). In this case, outright theft was involved. "Somebody" stole Dr. Franklin's work and used it to figure out the double helix.

     

     

    "Saint" Kate Barnard of Oklahoma. First woman in the America to be elected to a statewide office. This amazing little woman was elected before women could vote. She was a major influence on the Constitution of the new state of Oklahoma. She was able to get 30 laws passed to protect prisoners, the poor, orphans, union members, Native Americans, etc. "She was one of the few public officials who dared to cry out against the abuse of Native American children." When she died, sick and alone, corrupt politicians (whom she had exposed) arranged for her burial in an unmarked grave. This Wikipedia article was the most complete, most unbiased one available.

     

     

    Emily Carr, Canadian ArtistCanadian Emily Carr of Victoria, BC, noted artist and dog lover. Champion of First Nations art forms, Emily Carr’s ongoing commitment to establish a strong and inclusive voice for Aboriginal students recognizes that Aboriginal art forms are vital expressions of cultural identity. Emily Carr University of Art and Design is named for her.

     

     


     

    Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity This online exhibit is brought to us by The Center for History of Physics, A Division of The American Institute of Physics. Everything you wanted to know about Maria "Manya" Sklodowska, Polish patriot and underground college student; and about Madam Dr. Marie Sklowdowska Curie, PhD: Pioneering research scientist. Inventor of a mobile X-ray lab in a truck for the French Army during World War I, she then organized a fleet of these for battlefield surgeons. Discovered two elements: polonium and radium. Wife, mother, and winner of two Nobel Prizes (and always a Polish patriot).

    There is a short version , for those who have a report to crank out (life tip: don't put off doing your assignments).

    There's a long version that covers everything and has links to other science bios. Both are very readable, and will leave you in awe of this amazing lady.

    More links about her: Nobelprize.org discusses her her discoveries in radioactivity and chemistry and has her Nobel lectures. Some trivia: In 1935 Marie's daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, was awarded the Chemistry Prize together with her husband Frédéric Joliot for the discovery of artificial radioactivity. Two generations of female Nobel Prize winners doesn't happen often. About.com has a short bio and a list of Curie links.

     


     

    "This one's for the girls." - Martina McBride

     

    Zombie Marie Curie tells it like it is:

    from XKCD - Zombie Marie Curie comic strip

     

     

     

    Lise Meitner Lise Meitner of Austria and Sweden

    Nuclear physicist, discovered nuclear fission, did all of the things Zombie Marie Curie said. Fled to Sweden ahead of the Nazis. Realized fission could be used to make atomic bombs - and the Nazis were close to figuring that out. Got word of this threat to the US government via Albert Einstein. Because she was a pacifist, she refused to go to America to work on the Manhattan Project. This little blurb about her does not pay proper tribute to Dr. Meitner or to her accomplishments. Check the link for more. Her bio is fascinating.

     

     

     

    Emmy Noether Emmy Noether (1882 - 1935) was an awesomely brilliant German mathematician.
    Einstein called her a genius. She developed Noether’s Theorem, (yes, THAT Noether) "an expression of the deep tie between the underlying geometry of the universe and the behavior of the mass and energy that call the universe home." Mostly she worked in abstract algebra; her theorems were a sideline. It's hard to explain what she did if you don't have a strong background in calculus and physics. You can find out more here and here. Dr. Noether fled to America ahead of the Nazis in 1933. Sadly, she died of cancer two years later. :(

     

     


    For most of history, Anonymous was a woman. - Virginia Woolf


    Sophie Germain Sophie Germain of France 1776 - 1831 "All things considered, she was probably the most profoundly intellectual woman that France has ever produced." –H. J. Mozans, 1913. Mme. Germain was a self-taught mathematician who "did math" for the love of the subject. Her battles for acceptance by the all-male establishment went on for most of her life. With the help of some well-known male mathematicians (Fourier, Gauss, and Lagrange), her work was finally recognized beginning in 1816, when she won a prize from the French Academy of Science for her mathematical explanation of a tough physics problem. Her best known accomplishments are: (1) her partial proof of Fermat's Last Theorem which paved the way for later mathematicians - it was finally solved by Andrew Wiles in 1995 (!); and (2) her work on prime numbers (yes, THAT Sophie Germain). Sophie Germain Primes are named for her! She used them to find that partial proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.

     

     

    1951 stampSofia Kovalevskaya Sofia Kovalevskaya of Russia 1850-1891 Pioneering mathematician and novelist. Not allowed to attend Russian universities because she was female. So she went to Germany, attended the University of Heidelberg, impressed Kirchoff (of Kirchoff's Law fame) and other faculty with her brilliance. Studied math under the famous mathematician Weierstrass. "By the spring of 1874, Kovalevskaya had completed three papers. Weierstrass deemed each of these worthy of a doctorate. The three papers were on partial differential equations, Abelian integrals, and Saturn's Rings. In 1874 Kovalevskaya was granted her doctorate, summa cum laude, from Göttingen University in Germany." Still could not get a professor post anywhere in Russia because (guess why) ...... female. A Swedish friend got her a post at the University of Stockholm. She was the first editor of the respected mathematics journal, Acta Mathematica. "The high point of Sofia's career came on Christmas Eve of 1888, when she was presented the famous Prix Bordin of the French Academy of Sciences in recognition of her winning mathematical paper, 'On the Problem of the Rotation of a Solid Body about a Fixed Point'. This got her a lifetime chair in mathematics at the University of Stockholm in 1889, and a membership in the Russian Academy of Sciences. In early 1891 Kovalevskaya suddenly died of influenza complicated by pneumonia." She was only 41 years old :( Credit for these facts goes to Russiapedia's article about her.

     

     

    Rachel Carson Rachel Carson Beloved, awesome scientist, ecologist, and pioneer of the environmental movement. Author of Silent Spring* and The Sea Around Us, among other works. The first scientist to warn us about the abuse of the environment by overuse and overspraying of pesticides. She was slandered and vilified by giant chemical corporations who tried to silence her, but her peer-reviewed science has been proven correct by history. Our link goes to the excellent site by Linda Lear. (*Available all over the internet as a pdf file)

     

     

    Crick & Watson stole Franklin's notes

    Rosalind Franklin, PhD Dr. Rosalind Franklin Pioneer Molecular Biologist. Dr. Franklin, an Englishwoman, was responsible for much of the research and discovery work that led to the understanding of the structure of DNA. J. D. Bernal called her X-ray photographs of DNA "the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance ever taken." Between 1951 and 1953 Rosalind Franklin came very close to solving the DNA structure. She was beaten to publication by Crick and Watson because a male colleague, who did not approve of female scientists, showed Watson one of Franklin's crystallographic portraits of DNA. Her research was used without her knowledge or permission. When Watson saw the picture, the solution became apparent to him, and the results went into an article in Nature almost immediately. Dr. Franklin did not know that others were using her research! The man who "borrowed" it went on to share the Nobel Prize with Crick and Watson in 1962. Rosalind Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958. This good woman was only 37. NPR's article: Rosalind Franklin: Dark Lady of DNA and SDSC - UC San Diego's page above were the sources of much of this information. But wait, there's more!

     

    sRosalind Franklin.jpg R E Franklin PhD.jpg

    Rosalind Franklin: DNA's unsung hero, by Cláudio L. Guerra. From TED-Ed Original Lessons. "The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most important scientific achievements in human history. The now-famous double helix is almost synonymous with Watson and Crick, two of the scientists who won the Nobel prize for figuring it out. But there’s another name you may not know: Rosalind Franklin. Cláudio L. Guerra shares the true story of the woman behind the helix." She did the work and they got the credit (you know, sexism). In this case, outright theft was involved. "Somebody" stole Dr. Franklin's work and used it to figure out the double helix.

     

     

    Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi, Painter, Italy

     

    MulanHua Mulan, Warrior, China

     

    Some famous women of New ZealandKate Sheppard Memorial, New Zealand

     

    MumShirl of Australia Mum Shirl MP , Native Australian, community leader, and Member of Parliament, Australia

     

    Eva Peron  "Evita"  of Argentina María Eva Duarte de Perón (1919 – 1952) Evita, the Soul of Argentina

     

    Dilma Vana Roussef President of BrazilHer Excellency Dilma Vana Rousseff, President of Brazil

     

     

    Sybil Ludington Sybil Ludington was a 16 year old heroine of the American Revolutionary War. (Picture and text from A Mighty Girl's FB page.) 16-year-old Sybil Ludington became a hero of the American Revolutionary War. At approximately 9 pm on April 26, 1777, Sybil, the eldest daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, climbed onto her horse and proceeded to ride 40 miles in order to muster local militia troops in response to a British attack on the town of Danbury, Connecticut -- covering twice the distance that Paul Revere rode during his famous midnight ride. Riding all night through rain, Sybil returned home at dawn having given nearly the whole regiment of 400 Colonial troops the order to assemble. While the regiment could not save Danbury from being burned, they joined forces with the Continental Army following the subsequent Battle of Ridgefield and were able to stop the British advance and force their return to their boats. Following the battle, General George Washington personally thanked Sybil for her service and bravery. To introduce your children to this inspiring and underrecognized hero of the Revolutionary War, we recommend "Sybil’s Night Ride," a picture book for children 4 to 8 and "Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride," an early chapter book for readers 6 to 9. An illustration from the latter by Ellen Beier is pictured here. Sybil Ludington was also the focus of an episode of Liberty's Kids, the animated educational historical fiction television series, which you can view on YouTube at http://bit.ly/1tMrkk5.

     

     

    Timeline: the women's movement from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). "From Suffragettes to Spice Girls, take a look at how the women's movement has changed in Australia and around the world." This timeline does just that, with readable prose and lots of graphics! Mostly about Australia, of course, but touches on the UK's movement, and then goes on to modern times worldwide. This is great stuff and you can learn a lot, too.

     

    Australian cartoon, 1900 Cartoon from an Australian newspaper, 1900.

    Caption: "Hey, you man! Where's that vote you promised me?" She got it in 1903.

    Australia was the first country to allow women to run for parliament.

    Australian Aboriginal women like Mum Shirl could not vote until 1962.

    June 24, 2010: Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia's first female prime minister.

     

     

     

     

    Women in Science - A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors , from The San Diego Supercomputer Center of USD La Jolla. Bios of 16 distinguished women scientists from the 1800s until now. Also includes mathematics, statistics, computers, and management. Good source material here.

     

    Women Who Changed America - An Unfinished Journey " is dedicated to telling the stories of amazing women who helped shape America. We want to inspire women to follow their dreams and make their lives extraordinary. We are dedicated to creating a fund that rewards math and science teachers and grants scholarships to young women." Read about women who changed America in the field of Politics, Workplace, Wellness, Sports, and the Arts. Click on any woman's photo to learn about her life. Watch the videos. Share your own personal stories about women who changed, or are changing, America. "We would love to hear the stories about the amazing women who have inspired you and your loved ones. Please share your stories, upload your pictures, post a short video.
    Our aim is to showcase the lives and accomplishments of women all over America."

     

    Kiran Bedi of India and Nepal
    Law Enforcement

    Kiran Bedi of India

     

    Rani Lakshmi Bai of India
    A heroine of The Mutiny of 1857.
    (She knew how to use that sword.)

    Rani Laxmi Bai of India

     

    Here's a list of some famous American women, and their movements & publications, from Wikipedia and other places.

    Bella Abzug Grace Hopper National Women's Hall of Fame Venus & Serena Williams

    Gloria Steinem Abigail Adams Molly Ivins Jacqueline Cochran Lucille Ball Tina Fey

    Women's Media Center Mary Pickford Mary McLeod Bethune Lady Gaga Cher

    Oprah Winfrey Brandi Chastain Kay Yow Clara Hale Maya Angelou Maria Tallchief

    Dr. Mary Schweitzer Twenty Fortune 500 Women CEOs Dr. Sally Ride Joan Baez

    Hillary Rodham Clinton Wilma Mankiller Nancy Ward Katharine Hepburn

    Angie Debo Kate Barnard Loretta Lynn Minnie Spotted Wolf Wendy Davis

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