Women’s History

Unreported History: the National Convention for the Defence of the Civic Rights of Women, October 1903, By Dr. Maureen Wright.

Unreported History: the National Convention for the Defence of the Civic Rights of Women, October 1903

©Dr. Maureen Wright, University of Chichester, founder and lead of Women’s Political Rights,  www.womenspoliticalrights.uk

It might be fair to say that for many women’s suffrage scholars October 1903 is a date best known for the founding of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) by Emmeline Pankhurst. However, just a week later, in Holborn Town Hall, an event took place which was equally as significant to the British campaign for Votes for Women. Mrs Pankhurst chose not to attend this event, but over …

Blitzmädels an die Front: A Lesser Known Female War Film

‘Women, Oberführerin,belong in the kitchen and in bed.’[1]Oberleutnant Wagner’s scathing dismissal of women at war epitomises the gender challenges faced by Oberführerin Hanna Helmke and her female air signals assistants in “Blitzmädels an die Front” (‘Lightning Girls on the Front’). Released on 22 August 1958, this obscure West German war film follows a fictional group of young German women who serve alongside the Luftwaffe (German air force) during the Second World War. The real-life Blitzmädels (‘lightning girls’) they are based on – nicknamed after the lightning bolts on their uniform sleeves – received, deciphered and transmitted …

Women in the Service Industries in Southern Africa since 1900 – Dr Andrew Cohen & Dr Rory Pilossof

Women in the Service Industries in Southern Africa since 1900.

Andrew Cohen (University of Kent) and Rory Pilossof (University of the Free State)

There is a rich and well-developed historiography on work and labour in southern Africa. The colonial occupation of the region gave rise to new forms of work and social arrangements that have been well documented. The two most notable arenas of work were on the mines and white owned commercial farms that came into being under colonial rule. These two sectors dominate the historiography on work and labour, in both colonial and post-colonial studies. In addition, there …

‘No Liberation Without Black Women’: Gender in the Black Liberation Front, by Amelia Francis

Black Power groups began to erupt throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s in Britain as young people of African, Caribbean and Asian descent unified under the term ‘Black’.[1] Furthermore, the Black Power era manifested in international solidarity between various struggles for decolonisation, anti-imperialism and socialist revolution. The Black Liberation Front (BLF), was founded in North London, 1971, and operated on a Pan-Africanist, socialist axis. Active until 1993, the group propagated self-help approaches to issues facing the Black community in Britain and elsewhere. In historical memory, the BLF is respected for its many initiatives, including the Ujima Housing Association, …

Sappho to Suffrage: Women who Dared by Professor Senia Paseta

I have spent a good proportion of the last two years curating Sappho to Suffrage: Women who Dared. This exhibition in the Weston Library, at the Bodelian, Oxford, highlights items from the Bodleian’s holdings which were made, written, owned or commissioned by women. As the Bodleian holds more than 13 million items from across the ages and the globe, one might think that the chief difficulty in curating such an exhibition would be ruling items out rather than in. In fact, I visited a number of departments which could offer me very few (and even in some cases no) suggestions …