Marie Hicks
Historian & Author
Andrina Wood, an early British computer expert, at the console of a British Tablulating Machines computer.

Do Some Exploring This Women's History Month

(Did you know many of the first computer programmers and operators were women? This image shows women in the British Royal Navy operating the earliest digital, electronic, programmable computer-- the Colossus--in 1944. The Colossus computers broke encoded messages faster than ever before, and played a crucial role in the planning of the D-Day invasion.)

      On March 28th the Humanities Dept. will be having a Women's History Open House Event in the Siegel 218 conference room, from 3:00-4:45pm. Everyone is welcome: students, staff, faculty, and all genders. There will be food, good conversation, and handouts on women's history resources, including a pocket timeline of interesting events in women's history put together by our faculty (Professors Flanagan, Power, and Hicks) and designed by Susan Mallgrave, Humanities Department.

Explore some timelines of women's history from around the web:

They say Justice is blind, but for a long time in this country's history the treatment of women, especially women of color, was anything but fair. Check out this timeline of women's legal history in the U.S. to see when women got the right to serve on juries, own property, and even gain the right to use birth control.

Everybody's working for the weekend: this timeline of women's labor history shows the importance of labor actions taken by women workers.

The history of contraception is a history of women's liberation from the dictates of biology. This timeline charts American advances in birth control over the past century.

The fight for women's rights has always been intertwined with other groups' struggles for civil rights. Check out this timeline of African Americans' struggles, and also this PBS timeline on GLBT history which is a companion piece to their excellent documentary on the Stonewall riots.

This American women's history timeline juxtaposes key events in U.S. history with advances, and setbacks, in women's struggle for equality.

Get an international perspective of women's history with this brief timeline from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Interesting Women You Should Know About, But Might Not (Check back throughout the month for more, or follow me on twitter for updates):

Mary Anning was an incredibly adventurous paleontologist, from a poor British family.

Long before there was Foxconn, the Lowell Mill "Girls" helped define industrialization and factory life.

John Stuart Mill stood up for women's rights over a century before men regularly called themselves feminists.

The Women's Library in London has some interesting online displays and pictures.

CUNY's mini-histories of women's leadership in US history includes great snapshots of black women's struggles for suffrage and civil rights, women's work during WWII, and more.

Explore British women's roles in World War II and learn about the details of British women's lives through a wealth of images taken during the 20th century in the UK.

Many early computer professionals were women but, counterintuitively, their representation in the field decreased as time went on. You can see lots of pictures and cartoons of early women computer operators on this conference poster I made a while back. (Note: the file is about 25MB.)

Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman to earn a medical degree in Italy. Her revolutionary ideas about children and learning continue to influence education today.

In 1914, Margaret Sanger was indicted on obscenity charges for coining the term "birth control" in her newsletter. All these years later, birth control continues to raise hackles. Less used than the pill, the IUD has a fascinating history--it created FDA standards for approving medical devices, as detailed in this nicely-illustrated Wired article.

Men's history is women's history too: think about the "hidden women" affected by the infamous Tuskegee studies on untreated syphilis in black men (1932-1972). Here's a timeline of the study.

Women's history isn't all triumphs: there are still women alive today who were forcibly sterilized by the government because they were poor, on welfare, seen as inferior, or became pregnant at "too young" of an age.