For decades, scientists believed that only male birds sang. Then women entered the field and showed what their predecessors had missed.
We take single-sex public toilets for granted today. It is hard to believe that when public conveniences were first constructed, the vast majority of these toilets were just for men.
In Victorian Britain, most public toilets were designed for men. Of course, this affected women’s ability to leave the home, as women who wished to travel had to plan their route to include areas where they could relieve themselves. Thus, women never travelled much further than where family and friends resided. This is often called the ‘urinary leash’, as women could only go so far as their bladders would allow them.
This lack of access to toilets impeded women’s access to public spaces as there were no women’s toilets in the work place or anywhere else in public. This led to the formation of the Ladies Sanitary Association, organised shortly after the creation of the first public flushing toilet. The Association campaigned from the 1850s onwards, through lectures and the distribution of pamphlets on the subject. They succeeded somewhat, as a few women’s toilets opened in Britain.
Women persecuted for witchcraft crimes in Scotland hundreds of years ago are set to be honoured in a major new cultural project being developed by two of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians.
Susan Hawthorne explains the key ideas in Vortex, the running theme in the book of the myth of Cassandra and Trojan horses, how growing up in Australia has affected her work and why she asks readers whether we care about the safety of lesbians.
The medicalization of childbirth and the marginalization of the midwife has made childbirth a much more dangerous process.
Computing did not start with Ada Lovelace, rather its origins lie in the much older crafts of weaving and calligraphy.
Source: Before Lovelace — Lady Science
With Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman set to take centre stage, there are calls for the world’s major economic powers to boycott this weekend’s G20 summit over the jailing of female political prisoners who campaigned for the right to drive.
This month, a UN human rights committee expressed alarm at the worsening health of the 31-year-old, who is on a hunger strike, and urged the Saudis to immediately release her.
Up until June 2018, Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women were banned from driving cars.
Just months before the restriction was lifted, the Saudi Royal Court issued a decree ordering a group of female activists who had been behind a Women2Drive campaign not speak to the media.
They were later arrested.
The Dick, Kerr Ladies football team attracted 53,000 fans to Everton’s Goodison Park on Boxing Day 1920. But instead of being used as proof of women’s football’s popularity, it turned out to be the beginning of the end.
Throughout 1921, the matches came thick and fast for Dick, Kerr Ladies, but storm clouds were brewing for the women’s game.
League football had resumed in 1919 after the Great War, with men coming back from the front to resume their former lives.
However, in every aspect of life in 1920’s Britain, women were finding their voice in society. Suffrage had been granted to women over the age of 30 in 1918 — although genuine equality only came in 1928 with universal suffrage for those aged over 21.
However, in sport, patriarchy still ruled.
On December 5, 1921, just under a year after the spectacularly successful match at Goodison Park, the Football Association (FA) banned women from using its grounds, saying football was “quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”.
The FA did not recognise women’s football again in any form until 1969, almost 50 years later.
What Lederberg did was spend decades investigating the way micro-organisms share genetic material, trailblazing work at a time when scientists had little sense of what DNA was. So did her first husband, Joshua Lederberg, who died in 2008. Yet far more people have heard of him than of her, a disparity that some experts attribute to a phenomenon known as the Matilda Effect. The term, coined by scientific historian Margaret Rossiter, is a nod to 19th century suffragist Matilda J. Gage, who, as Rossiter puts it, first described the bias that has led to female researchers being “ignored, denied credit or otherwise dropped from sight” throughout history.
The Matilda Effect goes hand in hand with another phenomenon: the Matthew Effect. Per the Gospel of Matthew, those who have plenty shall have more in abundance, while those who have little will find it taken away. Rossiter, now a professor emerita at Cornell University, thought there should be more focus on the fact that female scientists had for centuries ended up on the short end of this maxim. She wrote a paper introducing the term in 1993, and, she says, “it took on a life of its own.”
Lederberg’s legacy matters because she is more proof that science is and has been a realm of women. Today women are better represented, but prejudices linger. And young girls still have fewer scientific role models than boys do.
“We have to work really, really hard on this in our society on every front,” says Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. “Just the fact that her story is being told now is a triumph.”