Women's History

Entertaining the Harvey Girls … A New Documentary Experience

The Fred Harvey Company, in reaction to growing tensions between staff and customers, decided to bring out women from the East and Midwest to stay in dormitories and work in their restaurants on an initial 6-month contract. The Harvey Girls were an instant hit, and many women stayed on, requesting further employment and marrying locals. Ultimately, this workforce spanned almost 100 years and involved over 100,000 women … many of the Fred Harvey Company’s most prominent restaurants and buildings which were designed by their chief building designer, Mary Colter. Colter was way ahead of her time, not only in her chosen profession, but also in her unique aesthetic which fused Native American and Hispanic Southwestern traditions. Colter’s work is still in evidence at The Grand Canyon in Arizona, La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona and at Union Station in Los Angeles, California.

Politics, Women's History

No More Rights to be Won?

Youthful arrogance is not limited to eras, individuals or generations. It permeates political movements, particularly where past oppression and greater disadvantage colour the work and its record. History reflects this for women in all periods, all battles. Conventional history, ways of working, and recording herstory colour women’s demands through centuries and how women’s campaigns are see.

General, Politics, Women's History

Forgotten Heroes

Why do some women receive publicity and public recognition of their achievements and others remain completely ignored? This is the case of Ellen Wilkinson MP, discussed in an earlier blog, and also her friends the birth control pioneers. There was an…

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Biography, Event, Politics, Women's History

Media & The Woman … The Right to Write & Be Read – Part 3

The worst anecdotes, just as Dr North reported, came from colleagues in commercial TV newsrooms, with some truly shocking me. In one case, a 30 something reporter, winner of a recent prize in investigative reporting, told me how she asked privately not to work with a particular producer due to his insistent lewd comments and behaviour. She asked her superiors that her name not be mentioned as she did not want to make a formal complaint. The man was not only told of her complaint but he then turned the tables on her warning colleagues and cameramen against her and making her work life impossible. She has now moved and is working at the public broadcaster. Another described standing open mouthed as an executive, in his late fifties stood beside her and worked his way through a list of pretty much every older woman in

Biography, Event, Politics, Women's History

Media & The Woman … Reflections on the Right to Write & Be Read – Pt 2

I, like so many correspondents of this era have had to revolutionize the way I work – from an often barely daily deadline and workload to a virtual 24/7, stand alone operation. As Vice President of the Foreign Press Association in London, 125 years old this year, I have been intrigued thinking back to the old guard, the newspaper correspondents, pretty much all of them male, who filed once every couple of weeks from the outposts of the empire, including often horrendous theatres of war, to newspapers back home.

Biography, Event, Politics, Women's History

Media & The Woman … Reflections on the Right to Write & Be Read – Pt 1

The fight was never ending to get placement for stories about equal pay and equal opportunity, welfare, reproductive rights, balancing family life, stories about childbirth, about breast feeding into the paper, let alone onto page one alongside the nation’s male dominated political affairs. One year, this same colleague reminded me, childcare fees rocketed by 25 per cent in one go – none of us even had kids then but she remembers it took a full week of lobbying to get an editor (whose wife happened to be a feminist and mum of two young children) – to agree to running the story, let alone putting it on page one where it belonged.

Event, Politics, Women's History

Women, Politics, Parliaments – Bringing about Democracy

Just as men do not accept that the right to vote is sufficient – Parliamentary representation must be possible for all men, or at least all men are entitled to seek parliamentary places – neither do women accept that the vote is enough. Democracy means that women and men must have the right to vote for women or men as members of Parliament. Democracy means that women and men must have the right to stand for Parliament.