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Tag: women's history
  • From building sets to dolls, toys offer a fun new way to introduce kids to trailblazing women throughout history!

    With all of the excitement, drama, and derring-do of women throughout history, why keep it to books? Women's history is full of impressive figures who smashed boundaries, stood up against injustice, and defiantly insisted on being true to themselves. When we pull their stories off the page, they become even more thrilling — and one way to do that is to bring women's history into the toy box! Dolls, games, building sets, and more provide a new way to spark an interest in women's history and a fun way to make these stories into part of day-to-day play. With options from toddlers to teens, the toys featured in this post will help kids discover remarkable women they may not have learned about in school, and introduce them to a variety of new role models to admire! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Before Sara Josephine Baker took charge, a third of children died before their 5th birthdays.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the pioneering physician Sara Josephine Baker revolutionized public health care for children in New York City. When Baker started her public health work, the impoverished slums of Hell's Kitchen on the city's West Side were among the most densely populated places on Earth, and epidemics killed an estimated 4,500 people each week in the overcrowded immigrant tenements, including 1,500 babies. With a third of children born there dying before their fifth birthday, Baker famously remarked that "It is six times safer to be a soldier in the trenches than a baby in the United States." Thanks to her initiatives, the death rate plummeted, and Baker became famous as doctor who had saved 90,000 children in New York City and countless others as her reforms were replicated across the United States and in other countries. Continue reading Continue reading

  • From soldiers to spies to peacemakers, these remarkable women made tremendous contributions during "The Great War."

    On the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in 1918, World War I finally came to an end after four devastating years. The day of the armistice became a national holiday in many countries, a solemn day to remember the nine million soldiers and the seven million civilians who died during the Great War which was deemed, at the time, the "war to end all wars." When stories are told of wartime heroism, most focus on the brave men who fought in the trenches along the front lines, but heroes played many roles during those long years of war. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Strict gender norms and fears of witchcraft pushed women out of a centuries-long tradition.

    By Laken Brooks, Doctoral Student of English, University of Florida; this article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

    What do witches have to do with your favorite beer?

    When I pose this question to students in my American literature and culture classes, I receive stunned silence or nervous laughs. The Sanderson sisters didn’t chug down bottles of Sam Adams in “Hocus Pocus.” But the history of beer points to a not-so-magical legacy of transatlantic slander and gender roles.

    Up until the 1500s, brewing was primarily women’s work – that is, until a smear campaign accused women brewers of being witches. Much of the iconography we associate with witches today, from the pointy hat to the broom, may have emerged from their connection to female brewers. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Jeanne Villepreux-Power began her adult life as a dressmaker, but rose to become one of the preeminent marine biologists of her day.

    If you've ever been captivated by colorful fish and sea creatures darting around an aquarium, you can thank 19th century French scientist Jeanne Villepreux-Power! Villepreux-Power began her adult life as a dressmaker, but rose to become one of the preeminent marine biologists of her day. Her invention of a glass box for holding and observing marine specimens — the first recognizable glass aquarium — earned her the title "Mother of Aquariophily" from British biologist Richard Owen. "[She] was not content with purely descriptive studies of dead specimens," French scientist Claude Arnal wrote in a tribute to her. "She was excited by life and its mysteries." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Betty Reid Soskin began her career as a ranger at the age 85 at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park.

    Betty Reid Soskin, America's oldest active National Park Service ranger, celebrates her 100th birthday today! Soskin began her career as a ranger at age 85 at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in California — a park that she had helped plan in its early stages years earlier. For several years, Soskin has given a popular tour called “Untold Stories and Lost Conversations" during which she gives a tour of the park, shares her personal WWII story, and encourages others to contribute their own stories to the park's collection of oral histories. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Nazis had a 5 million-franc bounty on the head of the spy known as the "White Mouse."

    In 1943, Nazi authorities were on the hunt for a spy they had nicknamed the "White Mouse" because of her ability to evade their capture, no matter what trap they set. The Gestapo had declared her their most wanted person, and placed a 5 million-franc bounty on her head. Their quarry was Nancy Wake, one of Britain's Special Operations Executive's most capable secret agents. Famous for her fearlessness, Wake would continue to evade her pursuers for the rest of the war, at one point even hurling herself from a train window to escape capture, and eventually become one of the Allies' most decorated servicewomen of World War II. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Katherine Johnson calculated -- by hand -- the flight trajectories for a number of historic missions, including the Apollo 11 flight to the Moon in 1969.

    When President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Katherine Johnson in 2015, few people had even heard her name — but today, thanks to the smash success of the book Hidden Figures and its movie adaptation, this groundbreaking mathematician has become an inspiration for girls everywhere! Continue reading Continue reading

  • The top books and films for children and adults about the 72-year fight for women's suffrage in the United States.

    For children today, it's hard to imagine a time when women couldn't vote; realizing that they've had that right for just over 100 years is astounding. It's equally shocking when they learn that women had to fight for 72 years before the 19th Amendment — which stated that no citizen could be denied the right to vote on account of sex — became law. So it's imperative that we teach today's children about the struggle for women's suffrage, not just to honor the dedication and sacrifices of the women who led the Women's Suffrage Movement, but also to ensure that future generations don't take the right to vote for granted. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Apollo 11 moon landing nearly ended in failure -- until Margaret Hamilton's flight software saved the day.

    In this iconic photograph, pioneering computer scientist Margaret Hamilton stands next to the computer code that she and her team wrote to guide the Apollo spacecraft to the moon! Hamilton was the lead software designer for NASA’s Apollo program, and her forward thinking saved the 1969 Apollo 11 mission when the flight software she designed prevented a last-minute abort of the famous landing which brought the first humans to the Moon. Over the course of her career, Hamilton developed the concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, and Human-in-the-loop decision capability, which became the foundation of modern software design. She also fought for programming to be given the respect it deserved, coining the term "software engineering" ; after all, as her work showed, software could make the difference between failure and a groundbreaking success. Continue reading Continue reading

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