March 1, 2014

Women's History Month: A Challenge to Geneabloggers!

DIL Plant Ajax Ontario where my Mom & Grandmother worked in WW2
In honour of Women's History Month (March 2014) I want to issue a challenge to all geneabloggers to write a  minimum of 10 blog posts this month about women who have made a difference.

I'm going to tackle this challenge too. I plan to write about 10 women who made a difference somehow. Perhaps they made a difference in my life, or to the world. But I want to recognize women this month - women who suffered hardships but endured, women who were the first to challenge what had been a man's world, women who made important discoveries, and women who were pioneers.

Ten ideas that might help you to join me in honouring women this month are


  1.   Which of your female ancestors were alive when women achieved the right to vote.  How do you think they reacted to the ongoing suffragette movement? Different countries extended the right of voting for women in different years and even within one country, different areas sometimes had different rights. For example in Ontario Canada women who owned property could vote for school trustees as early as 1850. In 1917 women in Canada gained the right to vote in all elections. It was 1920 before women in the USA were given the right to vote. In the UK women over the age of 30 who met certain property qualifications could vote but it was not until 1928 that all women over the age of 21 achieved that right.

  2. Do you have a  female relative (direct ancestor or collateral lineage) who played an active role in women's issues? Perhaps one who was a Suffragette or was a pioneer in a male-dominated role or occupation?  Perhaps she sailed to the New World to start a new life in the 1600s or was a refugee from a war-torn or religious-intolerant location. Tell her story in a blog post or comment here on this blog.

  3. Choose one female ancestor and the historical context during her life. Pick one historical event that would have impacted on her life. Perhaps she lived through the Spanish influenza in the early 1900s or she was widowed during the Civil War, or lived through the Depression.

  4. Write a biography of your favourite female Ancestor. Be sure to tell us why she's your favourite

  5. Make a list of your direct line maternal ancestors beginning with your mother. So you will list your mom, her mom, her mom's mom and so on, back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging?

  6. Write about your mtDNA findings. If you haven't been tested yet, order an mtDNA kit!  There are several companies offering DNA tests - Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, 23andMe.com

  7. Did any of your female ancestors participate in some kind of war-related activity? My mother and grandmother both worked in a Munitions Factory in WW2.  Perhaps your ancestor rolled bandages or knitted socks for the troops. Write about one ancestor who was active in some way during a war or skirmish.

  8.  Which female ancestor do you most identify with? Tell us what she did or what she was like and why you identify with her

  9. Was there a female (teacher, minister, friend, relative) who impacted on your life?  Tell us about her

  10. Did any of your female ancestors or relatives follow a non-traditional female role either in their relationships, occupations or in society? 
I hope you'll join me in recognizing some fascinating and inspiring women this month.

9 comments:

Nancy said...

These are some great ideas. Thanks for suggesting them.

Kristin said...

They sound good.

flora68 said...

"Do you have a female relative (direct ancestor or collateral lineage) who played an active role in women's issues? Perhaps one who was a Suffragette or was a pioneer in a male-dominated role or occupation? ...Tell her story in a blog post or comment here on this blog."

My father's great Aunt Judith ("Judo") Hyams Douglas, a New Orleans attorney, one of the 1st female attorneys in the South, was one of the speakers at the 1908 Women's suffrage Convention. She spoke primarily of the Church's role in subjugating women, referring to anti-women's rights ministers and priests as "God's self-ordained proxies". (I've always loved that phrase!)

From the record of that convention, here's Aunt Judo's part:

"Mrs. Douglas, a brilliant young speaker from New Orleans, new to the suffrage platform, took up the resolution, 'Woman has too long rested satisfied [Pg 222] in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned to her,' and said in part:

"Only one thing can make me see the justness of woman being classed with the idiot, the insane and the criminal and that is, if she is WILLING, if she is SATISFIED to be so classed, if she is contented to remain in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her. It is idiotic not to want one's liberty; it is insane not to value one's inalienable rights and it is criminal to neglect one's God-given responsibilities. God placed woman originally in the same sphere with man, with the same inspirations and aspirations, the same emotions and intellect and accountability.... The Chinamen for centuries have taken peculiar means for restricting women's activities by binding the feet of girl babies, and yet there remains the significant fact that, after centuries of constraint, God continues to send the female child into the world with feet well formed, with a foundation as substantial to stand upon as that of the male child. As in this instance, so in all cases of restriction put upon women—THEY DO NOT COME FROM GOD BUT FROM MAN, beginning at birth.... For thousands of centuries woman has heard what sphere God WANTED her to move in from MEN, God's self-ordained proxies. The thing for woman to do is to blaze the way of her sex so thoroughly that sixteen-year-old boys in the next generation will not DARE ask a scholarly woman incredulously if she really thinks women have sense enough to vote. Woman can enter into the larger sphere her great Creator has assigned her only when she has an equal voice with man in forming public opinion, which crystallizes customs; only when her voice is heard in the pulpit, applying Scripture to man and woman equally, and when it is heard in the Legislature. Only then can be realized the full import of God's words when He said, "It is not well for man to be alone."

Mrs. Douglas analyzed without mercy the pronouncements of Paul regarding women and said: "The pulpits may insist that Paul was infallible but I prefer to believe that he was human and liable to err."

When she had finished Dr. Shaw remarked dryly: "I have often thought that Paul was never equalled in his advice to wife, mother and maiden aunt except by the present occupant of the Presidential chair" [Roosevelt].

I'm so proud of Aunt Judo. I vaguely remember meeting her once met her when I was a very little kid. I had no idea...

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Wow! Aunt Judo sounds like an amazing woman. What a terrific example for others.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Nancy and Kristin - hope you join in!

Mountain Mama said...

FamilyTreeDNA is the only company doing full sequence mtDNA and with a database large enough to make the test possible relevant. The others offer atDNA testing.

KerrieAnne Christian said...

I'm not sure that I will make 10 posts this month however - here is a blog Linga Longa Stories of Women and Thirroul - which I set up to write about Women from my home town, Thirroul which is 50 miles south of Sydney Australia - http://lingeringonwomenthirrou.blogspot.com.au/

However it is inspiration to do a few more posts on Linga Longa

KerrieAnne Christian said...

Well I have been inspired to link together blog posts I've done into a single post on 7 generations of women in my Hicksfamily in home town of Thirroul NSW Australia in Linga Longa blog - http://lingalongathirroul.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/7-generations-of-hicks-family-women-in-thirroul/

Yvonne Demoskoff said...

Hi, Lorine. I took your WHM challenge with a post about prompt #5 at my blog: http://yvonnesgenealogyblog.blogspot.ca/2014/03/womens-history-month-challenge-5.html