Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Women's History Challenge

Today, March 1st, is the start of Women's History Month. As genealogists and family historians, we often look to historical events to give context to the lives of our ancestors. Because women were often at home taking care of the children while the men folk were out back in the garage inventing cars, or far away from home marching across battlefields, they often weren't in positions to accomplish noteworthy things... except for an exceptional few. But their lives were impacted by the events around them and they in turn impacted the lives of their husbands and children in the course of everyday life. This month we have a chance to honor women, not only the ones whose accomplishments have made headlines but the ordinary and extraordinary women in our own family histories as well.

Each week this month I'm going to feature an article on some aspect of women's history. My goal is to have a look at the world through the eyes of our female ancestors. I hope you'll join me in this look at women's history and use the information as context for the lives of the women on your own family tree. And then I hope you'll write about some of the women in your family's history and submit them to the Carnival of Genealogy (COG).


The March 18th edition of the COG will be devoted to the women in your family's history. Call for Submissions! In honor of Women's History Month (March), the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: A Tribute to Women. Is there a woman in your family that deserves mention? Do you have a favorite aunt, cousin, or 5th great grandmother that you'd like pay tribute to? Let's us hear about her! Submit your blog articles here. Deadline for submissions is March 15th. (There will be a Carnival edition coming up on the topic of mothers in honor of Mother's Day in May so you may want to choose someone other than mom for this one.)


March 8th is International Women's Day. Here in America it's not a holiday typically celebrated with flowers and candy, though elsewhere in the world it is. From the Wikipedia entry for International Women's Day:

International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on 8 March every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc). In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their sympathy and love to the women around them - somewhat similar to Western Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together. In others, however, the political and human rights theme as designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

Personally, I think one of the best ways for anyone to honor the women in their lives (friend or relative) or their female ancestors, is in print. Here's an idea...


One Woman
Compose a poem, write a tribute, share a memory, post a photo, or create a digital scrapbook page for One Woman. Wouldn't it be a wonderful tribute to women's history if all bloggers everywhere took the time to write something about One Woman that impacted their life on International Women's Day, March 8th? (... and then submit it to the Carnival of Genealogy... even better!) We could fill the blogosphere with tributes to women who might otherwise have fallen into obscurity. Sisters, friends, aunts, neighbors, deceased or living... one blog post will get a woman's name in the search engines and make information about her accessible the world over, for years to come! You could give a woman fame, honor her. Think about it. I challenge you all to spread the word, let's start something new for International Women's Day. Let's all write a tribute about One Woman... let's start the One Woman event!

Remember the success/popularity of the "meme" recently among the genea bloggers? We can get the ball rolling here and spread the idea to bloggers everywhere. What do you think? If you like the idea, blog about it. We only have 8 days to get the word out. Go bloggers, Go!

5 comments:

  1. I think this is a wonderful idea and I wrote about it here.
    I hope everyone takes on the challenge.

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  2. Thanks so much for highlighting this, Jasia.. We are so often guilty of underestimating the role of women, not just in history, but in genealogy, too.

    I found an ancestor, Jane Clark, who had 15 children born between 1770 and 1787, in North Yorkshire, England. The thought of that achievement is never far from my mind when I'm writing the Harry McFry story. The heroine is a 102 year-old Lillian McFry ... I'm trying to give a sense of someone who influenced so many people's lives (somtimes unwittingly!). Why shouldn't women get the medals?
    My own grandmother will be 103 this year (if she makes it through to August). Unlike Lillian, she didn't fight in the Spanish Civil War - but she brought up a fine family, and remembers Zeppelins being brought down over Hartlepool, England, in the First World War. Now, when she sits alone in her small bungalow, I often wonder where her thoughts go. We need to celebrate the role of women in history much more.

    Kind regards

    THJnr

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  3. I love this idea! I had just written a 80th birthday tribute to my mom this week, so I submitted it. I had not previously been familiar with Women's Day before this year...such a great opportunity to remember both famous women of history and wonderful women in our family!

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  4. A great idea! After reading Apple's entry I was inspired to write my own.

    http://www.nikki-ann.co.uk/blog.htm#110307

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