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Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, March 1, 2020

It's Women's History Month. A few thoughts.

I don't know about you, but the history classes I took in high school and college (Women's History wasn't yet a subject) were pretty devoid of women. There was Betsy Ross and Dolley Madison, possibly Abigail Adams. There was Harriet Tubman and Sacajawea and Madame Curie and Florence Nightingale.  There was Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. (Amelia Earhart offered to give Eleanor Roosevelt flying lessons but FDR vetoed the plan.) And there were was Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great, two of the greatest, most influential monarchs who ever lived. (And no, Catherine the Great did NOT die the way you think she did.)

Madame C.J. Walker
And then there was...who else? Marie Antoinette? Joan of Arc? I learned the name of every single explorer who ever traveled up the St. Lawrence River or set foot on the South Pole or traveled across the Sahara Desert. But none of my teachers ever mentioned Wu Zetian or Nellie Bly (I wanted to be a reporter when I grew up. I was crazy about Nellie Bly.)  There was no mention of female astronomers, mathematicians (R.I.P. Katherine Johnson), or explorers. I learned about Henry Ford but not about Madame C.J. Walker.

So many amazing women have touched and changed history. This month I'm going to catch up on my reading about them.

Allison Pataki, the author of The Traitor's Wife (Benedict Arnold was the traitor in question), has written an engaging article on 7 Forgotten but Extremely Influential Women from History. Check it out here.

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