Our work elsewhere…non-violent protest

Mags has written about the parallels between the Mansion House protest and early suffragette tactics for the New Statesman.

Read the article here.

The key source for the suffragettes parts is Rise Up, Women by Diane Atkinson (Bloomsbury, 2018). Mags has been reading it steadily for months, and marking events that could become #OnThisDay facts for our social media.

photo of paperback of Rise Up Women showing page markers
Mags’ copy of Rise Up, Women with page markers. Yes, it is going to take a while to add them all to the datafiles…

She also considered including the Greenham Peace Camp, where again women using non-violent protest were violently treated.

“I didn’t include them in the end. The missiles left Greenham not because of the protests but the wider glasnost and thawing of the Cold War. I also wanted to use the statues in Parliament Square to support my point that people once seen as threatening to those in power become celebrated. The Greenham women are not as far along that journey of acceptance.”

Elena Piscopia receives her doctorate: 25 June 1678

cropped portrait of Elena Piscopia seated with a book in her hand

On 25 June 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia is cross-examined in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin in Padua. Crowds of nobles, scholars and city officials are watching. Her answers on two Aristotelian theses impress her examiners and she is awarded the Doctorate of Philosophy degree. She is one of the first women to receive a doctorate in the world.

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Valentina Tereshkova reaches orbit: 16 June 1963

Valentina Tereshkova in her spacesuit, preparing for launch

On 16 June 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, orbiting the Earth 48 times in Vostok 6. With her flight, she clocked up more hours in space than all the preceding American manned missions combined. She remained the only woman to have flown in space for 19 years and she remains the only woman to have completed a solo space mission.

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Ada Lovelace meets Charles Babbage: 5 June 1833

Sketch of Ada Bryon at 17

On 5 June 1833, Ada Bryon attended a party at mathematician Charles Babbage’s house. She’d been presented at court a few days earlier so it was simply part of the London season. Except Babbage invited Ada to see his prototype Difference Engine. It was the start of an intellectual friendship that resulted in Ada becoming the first theoretical computer programmer.

We know machines run algorithms now, delivering customised playlists or sorting job applications. Ada was the first person to perceive the numbers to be used in calculations could also act as symbols for other systems.

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Alison Hargreaves summits Everest: 13 May 1995

Alison Hargreaves on Everest

On 13 May 1995, professional British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves reached the summit of mount Everest in the Himalayas. She was the first woman – and only the second person – to summit without either support from a Sherpa team or supplementary oxygen.

Hargreaves had set her ambition out clearly and shown she was going for it: she would become the first woman to climb Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga – the three highest mountains in the world – without oxygen.

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Jeanne d’Arc in battle in Orleans: 7 May 1429

1903 painting of Jeanne d'Arc. She is in armour in front of a cathedral and surrounded by white flowers

On 7 May 1429, Jeanne d’Arc led several charges on the besieged city of Orleans in France. She was struck by an arrow, dressed the wound and returned to the fray. The next day, the English army besieging Orleans retreated and the city was freed.

Having led the lifting the of the siege, Jeanne then led the French army as they routed the English armies and freed more cities. When Charles VII of France was crowned in Reims that summer, Jeanne d’Arc knelt at his feet.

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How you can support us

We run this project because we are fired up with a desire to carve women back into history. It’s been a passion for over two years now, and will continue for a good while yet. We’d love to fill in the last gaps and have 366 days’ worth of achievements.

We do now want to start covering our running costs, and ideally give Mags a living wage for her writing time. So we’ve started a patreon (yes, we know the name is frustrating).

You can support us with $1 a month.

There’s no fancy tiers to chose from. No stunning reward packages where you start to think “but doesn’t the cost of producing that patreon reward wipe out any money earnt?”. We’ll do a monthly shout out if you’re on twitter. If we reach 200 supporters, we’ll start an email. but that’s it.