As more than one woman is connected to some stops, twenty one women are included. These women’s lives span over four hundred years, although the majority died in the twentieth century. Within the Trail it became apparent that there were themes, such as health and civic life. At the site of the former Children’s Hospital (stop Four) four women are commemorated: Clementina Esslemont who founded the Aberdeen Mother and Child Welfare Association in 1909, Fenella Paton who founded the first birth control clinic in Aberdeen in 1926, Dr Agnes Thompson who pioneered services to children and Dr Mary Esslemont (Clementina’s daughter) who worked, inter alia, as a gynaecologist at the hospital. Pioneering speech therapist Catherine Hollingsworth’s story is told at stop Six. At the site of the former General Dispensary (stop Eleven), Maggie Myles, author of a Textbook for Midwives, which has been in print continuously since 1953, is commemorated.
Since WILPF’s inception, the world has experienced 224 wars. During that same timeframe, women won two important struggles for human rights. The first, of course, was the right to vote in 1920; the second, the right to reproductive freedom in 1972. Jacobs, and the group that formed out of the Hague conference insisted then, and we insist now, on a third human right —the right to be at the peace table; to be part of the decisions to make war or keep the peace. Fewer than one in 40 of the signatories of major peace agreements since 1992 have been female, according to the UN development fund for women. This needs to change.
Today, there are 50 ongoing violent conflicts resulting in 50 million refugees around the world, and untold death and destruction. The international trade of lemons and toothbrushes is regulated, but not guns and other weapons. Would the adoption of more feminist foreign policy and an increase in women’s participation in peace negotiations put an end to arms and conflict? Probably not. But the point is not to end conflict, but to resolve it without recourse to military violence. The world is missing a powerful opportunity for creating sustainable peace when it turns to military solutions and restricts the participants at peace negotiations to the men with guns.
… modern advances in the judicial system … give abused mothers fighting for child custody a reason to believe change is coming. In 2004, the State of Wisconsin’s legislature passed a law that “instructs judges to make domestic violence their top priority by stating that ‘if the courts find that a parent has engaged in a pattern or serious incident of interspousal battery, or domestic abuse, the safety and well-being of the child and the safety of the parent who was the victim of the battery or abuse shall be the paramount concerns in determining legal custody and periods of physical placement” … [Meanwhile] the child protective agency of the city of New York was discovered to have “unconstitutionally removed children from the custody of their non-abusive battered mothers after substantiating mothers for engaging in domestic violence” … Although this may not seem like hopeful news in itself, the fact that this injustice was revealed is a step in the right direction.
At the age of 12, Nancy decided to read Law at Newnham College, Cambridge. This ambition was realised in 1910, after she received her first LLB from the University of London. This first degree was completed in an acknowledgement of the fact that the University of Cambridge did not, then, award Law degrees (or indeed any degrees) to its female graduates … It is a tribute to her determination that in 1914 Nancy went down from Cambridge with a Double First in The Law Tripos: in Part I she was second between the male and female Lists, and fourth in Part II. The year 1948, when the University of Cambridge began awarding degrees to women graduates, finally saw Cambridge award her an MA (Cantab).
Sonja Tiernan outlined the very cross-class and life-changing relationship of the daughter of big Anglo-Irish landlord and the working-class Esther Roper from 1897. Eva ‘rejected her aristocratic lifestyle, moving from an opulent mansion in the beautiful countryside of Sligo to a mid-terrace property in the smog-bound quarters of industrial Manchester’. They were together for 30 years. ‘Once labelled as a pair of oddities, it is now clear that the women were open about their relationship, mixing with an eclectic group of radical gay and lesbian activists. The couple became formidable political advocates in England often organising successful and radical campaigns for social justice …
In 1979 when the radio announced the First Strike, American Cruise Nuclear missiles were to be based at Greenham Common USAF Airbase, Sheila Standard ‘was gripped with fear and a sense of inevitable disaster, and felt powerless to do anything. The worst bit was her mum lived near Greenham, and would “get it first!” However … [quickly], all over the country, people started to organise into anti-missile groups, and she joined Withington Against the Missiles, a local group in Manchester, and accidentally got involved in an NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) protest becoming one of the “Bunker 4”.Then something truly epic happened … Greenham … thousands of women discovering the power of working together, singing, being silly, the wit and repartee, fear and bravery, that goes with bringing fences crashing down, to the mockery of militarism …
2015 is the year to ensure that women’s records are recognised as not only a significant but a central part of US history. The Trust calls for entries, nominations and positive suggestions to recognise women in US history – from all backgrounds, all states and territories, all centuries, all fields of endeavour. The call is on for women to come to the fore, for those who care about US history and herstory, for those who recognise women as equal participants in the building of the country to act! Don’t let another year go by without ensuring the recognition of women through places, spaces, communities, buildings and sites.
In the novels by Blume, Klein, et al, ‘two nice kids, in love, have sexual intercourse and no one dies.’ In both Blume’s ‘Forever’ and Klein’s ‘It’s Ok if you Don’t Love Me’, the male love interests are the ones left alone, the girls having moved on and embodied the traditionally ‘masculine’ relationship role. The young women in these books enjoy sex, and their experiences are discussed in detail. Crucially, they enjoy sex as just one component of a rounded lifestyle, as with Blume’s Sybil: ‘Sybil Davison has a genius IQ and has been laid by at least six different guys.’
The situation concerning pandemic male violence against women and girls is dire because men’s backlash against women has been ongoing for more than two decades. Not only has male violence against women been successfully depoliticised individualism is now dominant wherein men claim that women and men are symmetrically situated and women magically have limitless choices and agency. Each act of male violence against women supposedly happens because the woman made a wrong choice or failed to enact her agency! This ensures the focus is on individual women rather than how society operates whereby male created institutions and structures remain in place and maintain male domination over women.