Everything that explains the world has in fact explained a world that does not exist, a world in which men are at the center of the human enterprise and women are at the margin ‘helping’ them. Such a world does not exist — never has.
- Gerda Lerner
The pioneering work of social, cultural and feminist historians has opened the way for an understanding of the rich and varied lives of women across the social spectrum and across the centuries. Delve into how major advances in gender equality have contrasted with a relatively slow change of pace in lifestyles, and uncover women’s experiences, roles and positions from antiquity to the twenty-first century.
Although women have had to wait until the modern era to be formally recognized as medical professionals, the role of woman as healer has a very long lineage. Explore the position of women in Ancient Greek and Roman civilization as healing practitioners and medical authorities, not merely as patients.
Sources of information on women’s lives in the Middle Ages are few but medieval depictions of women, however stylized, remain an important source for understanding attitudes towards sex and gender. Discover the world of women not just as subjects but also as creators, patrons and consumers of art and literature.
The Victorian quest for respectability is considered in Teresa Mangum’s study of the way femininity was framed in terms of cleanliness while Annette F. Timm and Joshua A. Sanborn examine the complex interactions between gender roles and colonialism.
What changed and what stayed the same for women living and working in the 20th century? Bronwyn Winter unravels the Western narrative of the advancement of gender equality in the 20th century, and Maggie Andrews explores how women in early 20th century British suburbia experienced and understood the rituals of the homeplace through the ‘domestic goddesses’ of broadcast radio.
The Japanese military was responsible for the sexual enslavement of thousands of women and girls during the China and Pacific wars under the guise of providing 'comfort' for battle-weary troops. Campaigns for justice and reparations for 'comfort women' since the early 1990s have highlighted the magnitude of the human rights crimes committed against Korean, Chinese and other Asian women by Japanese soldiers after 1937. Explore the origins of the Japanese military's system of sexual slavery and how Japanese women were its first victims.
Image source for Women as Healers image: Department for International Development.