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August 16

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

Women Used to Help in the Fields and Men Used to Help in the House

Women's Colleges Educate Women to Lead

Men Refused to Work on This Magazine

Other Notable Women on the Flotsam of History


QUOTES by Elizabeth Janeway, U.N. Report, Susanna Haswell Rowson, Sarah Josepha Hale .

Women Used to Help in the Fields and Men Used to Help in the House

One of the most eye-opening books about the problems - the REAL problems of a woman's life - is More Work for Mother, the Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave.
      It should be assigned reading for EVERY women's study course for a bit of reality mixed in with theory. And it should be included in every bride's wedding shower for a bit of reality with starry eyes.
      What's this book got to do with women's rights and equality? Remember what one feminist said at the height of the 1970's feminist movement,
"It always comes down to (someone having to wash) those damned dishes."

In a highly readable but factual manner, Ruth Schwartz Cowan points out that for thousands of years, agrarian life meant men and women "had to work in tandem in order to undertake any single life-sustaining chore... women assisted men in the fields, and men assisted women in the house."
      But industrialization of the early 1800's changed the concept of maintaining a household. Cowan writes, "One of the most profound effects of industrialization was, and is, the separation of 'work places' from 'home places.'"

Cowan points out that many of the so-called inventions to make the maintenance of homes and feeding of families easier actually helped to lessen the work men had to do and INCREASED it for women.
      For example, she cites that while gas stoves eliminated the need for the males to go out and cut wood, the woman (mostly pregnant) still did her usually hard work. She had to draw water, grow and preserve her own vegetables, take care of the chickens, usually milk and tend the family cow, take care of the children already born, maintain the house while she cooked meals from "scratch."
      It's only very recently with the advent of frozen and canned goods bought in stores that some of the real work of food preparation in the kitchen has been lessened... but the trade off is partially destroyed by the time it takes to go shopping. And ladies, we still have to peel potatoes the old fashioned way... the potatoes that are processed in other ways are usually not the kind most people want to eat.

Another thing that was supposed to be a time-saver was the washing machine. In actuality, it caused MORE work for the average woman because she no longer sent it out or had a laundress come in.
      Cowan writes,
"...The woman endowed with a (washing machine) would have found it easier to do her laundry, but simultaneously, would have done more laundry, and more of it herself, that either her mother or her grandmother had."
      Cowan points out that a number of so-called time-saving devices actually tied the woman to the home. Suburban living required someone - and guess who that became - to stay home to use all those gadgets in which so much money had been invested, as well as drive the kids around to their events (no public transportation) and taxi their husbands to the trains or bus stops or work and pick them up again because two cars were wasteful or too expensive.

Also, heavy cleaning household work "that had previously been allocated to commercial agencies or servants returned to the domain of the (lone) housewife - laundry, rug cleaning, drapery cleaning, floor polishing - as new appliances were invented to make the work feasible for the average housewife... the costs of labor (all labor, that is, except the labor of the housewife) continued to escalate in the postwar years."
      Women of today desperately need to learn the REAL herstory of how they were turned into unpaid and unheralded household drudges who are expected to do two to five times as much as any women in HIStory.

One of the more fascinating pictures in the book is from an 1869 washing machine advertisement from the Library of Congress. It pictures two smiling women doing the laundry in high fashion costumes that would have made Scarlet O'Hara jealous.
      The ads attempt to make lthe backbreaking task of washing clothes look like an afternoon tea - and it made most men believe it. To this day, as a result of such advertisements, men believe stay-at-home mothers with children loaf all days watching TV and eating chocolates.
      It is pictures like those, painted by the romantic, hypocritical patriarchy that are stamped into our histories and interpretations of the past, not the reality of women in basic clothing sweating and working like mules.
      The water for the washing machines didn't magically appear but had to be carried by the bucket, nor did it magically heat itself, nor did the several tubs of rinse water magically appear and disappear. Nor did little fairies come to haul the heavy baskets of wet clothes to the back yard to hang out - 25- 40 pounds in weight - in freezing temperatures or on boiling days to be pinned (each piece separately) to the clotheslines (and taken backdown again) to be ironed and ironed and ironed.
      The old adage was wash on Monday and iron on Tuesday. They were all-day hard labor!
      A New Orleans food tradition is red beans and rice for dinner on Monday when the wash is done. The beans and flavoring are simply dumped into a pot of water and cooked without additional care for hours while the women of the house sweated over the wash tubs. For once no complicated dinners were contemplated on such a hard working day - but oh, those flavorings! It's really a good dish!

One of Cowan's most pressing points: "The transition to the two-income family (or to the female-headed household) did not occur without taking a toll - a toll measured in the hours that employed housewives had to work in order to perform adequately first as employees and then as housewives. A thirty-five-hour week (of housework) added to a forty-hour week (paid employment) adds up to a working week that even sweatshops cannot match. With all her appliances and amenities, the status of being a 'working mother' in the U.S. today is, as three eminent experts have suggested, virtually a guarantee of being overworked and perpetually exhausted."
            -- Cowan, Ruth. Work for Mother, The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. New York: Basic Books, Inc. 1983. Available in hard cover and paper. Ms. Cowan's book is the winner of the 1984 Dexter Prize given by the society for the History of Technology.

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Women's Colleges Educate Women to Lead

In a 1992 Associated Press story, it was pointed out that while women's colleges educate only about 2% of women in the country, nationally, women's college graduates make up 42% of the 31 female members of Congress.
      Of the 4,012 highest paid offices and directors of 1990 Fortune 1000 companies, less than one-half of 1% were women - but of those few women, one third were women's college graduates.
      One of every seven women cabinet members in state government attended women's colleges.

The percentage of women who major in physics at Bryn Mawr College is 29 times the national average and in actual numbers, only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles have more women physics majors.
      One-third of all Bryn Mawr students major in science while the national average is 8%.
      In 1992, Ursaline College in Northern Ohio began using a revamped curriculum and a retrained faculty to test the theory that women learn better when they work together in small groups and relate what they study. It was said to be the nation's first curriculum based on women's learning patterns instead of men's.

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Men Refused to Work on This Magazine

Because they were sure it wouldn't last, no men would work for Taiwan's Dine Ying Yun-peng when SHE started CommonWealth (Tien Sia) magazine. The men explained they had to worry about supporting their families and needed steady employment. However, the fact that a woman headed it may have had an effect on their decisions.
      Its first issue sold out and now it is the top business and financial magazine in Taiwan and a recognized force. Ying is the monthly Chinese-language magazine's publisher and editor. Her style is said to be "Confuscianist," and emphasizes the good rather than highlighting the bad when she acts for the public good
"against the greed of the unscrupulous." That directions, she says, will help raise standards of social responsibility.
      She and her magazine have won innumerable honors and she is a member of the National Unification Council, the first woman member.

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Other Notable Women on the Flotsam of History

Lyndmila Zhirkova - Bulgarian politica figure. The daughter of the Bulgarian president, she became chair of the Bulgarian Committee of Arts and Culture at 31. She promoted a cultural center in the heart of the capital Sophia. She was recognized as one of the most influential women in the Soviet bloc until her tragic death at 37.

Xie Xide - Chinese educator and physicist. A victim of the Cultural Revolution in the mid 1960s, this talented educator was reinstated in 1974.She did research on surface physics and founded the Modern Physics Institute (1977). She was elevated to the presidency of Fudan University in 1983 where she had taught and spent five years as vice-president. XX was one of a handful of women elected to the Commmunist Central Committee. She published Semi-conductor Physics (1958) and Solid Physics (1962).

Katharine Zell - After breaking all the rules by marrying a priest in 1527, the warning that women were forbidden by St. Paul to speak in church fell on deaf ears as she publically defended him. KZ became active in Protestant affairs, aiding others who were being persecuted by religion, and edited a songbook. She is revered for her high spirits in German history.

Patricia Zipprodt won the 1975 Tony award for her costuming of the Broadway hit Mack and Mabel. She had won her first Tony for the costuming of the runaway hit Cabaret in 1967.

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B. 08-16-1766, Carolina Nairne (of Nairne) - Scottish composer. A Baroness, CV was a cimposer and laureate of Jacobitism who wrote a number of songs which are part of the folklore including "Charlie Is My Darling."

B. 08-16-1813, Sarah Porter - U.S. educator. SP created Miss Porter's school in Farmington, CN, one of the outstanding school for girls in the nation.
      Raised in an exceptional family that produced a president of Yale College allowed her to study the classics to an extended degree, this brilliant woman started her successful school in 1843.Initially she kept the school small teaching Latin, French, German, chemistry, natural science, mathematics, history, geography, and music in addition to the basic subjects. She gradually added staff and accommodations but took pains to maintain the schools standards which were unique in the nation for their excellence, She also demanded strong characters. She was also way ahead of her times by insisting on daily exercise for the girls.
      When she died in 1900. She taught herself Greek and Hebrew in her old age while continuing to teacdh her favorite subjects. The school continued to be preeminent in academic reputation.

B. 08-16-1827, Frances (Mary) Buss - English pioneer of women's education. Her devotion to the cause of women's education, along with that of her associate Dorothea Beale was the brunt of ridicule.
      FB fought for sound education for women and founded what became the North London Collegiate School for Girls, probably the first secondary school for girls in England. She and Beale fought for the right of women for a college education and were ridiculed for it in the newspapers:
      "Miss Buss and Miss Beale
      "Cupid's darts do not feel
      "How unlike us
      "Miss Beale and Miss Buss.
      "How Different from Us."

B. 08-16-1863, Dora Estella Bright - British composer, primarily of opera and piano works.
      DEB was the first woman to win the Lucas Prize in composition at the Royal College of Music and the first woman invited by the British Philharmonic Society to compose a work.

B. 08-16-1865, Dame Mary Gilmore - Australian author. MG was "generally acknowledged" as the grande dame of Australian literature.
      MG was made Dame coimmander of the British Empire in 1937. Her first collection of poetry was Marri'd (1910). She is best known for The Wild Swan.

B. 08-16-1865, Carolin Ruutz-Rees - U.S. educator. CR was president of Rosemary Hall, Connecticut.
      She was serving as vice-president of the National- American Woman Suffrage Association at the adoption of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women's voting rights in the U.S. (1920).

B. 08-16-1897, Marjorie Faith Barnard - Australian author. MFB was the winner of the Patrick While Literary Award (1983). She is noted for her novels and History of Australia (1962). She also wrote in collaboration with Flora Eldershaw.

B. 08-16-1909, Marchette Gaylord Chute - UK author. MC broke the retelling mode of historical writers and did actual source research.
      She is best known for With Shakespeare of London (1950) and Geoffrey Chaucer of England (1946). Her young sister was Joy Chute, see 01-03-1913.

B. 08-16-1910, Mae Clarke - U.S. actor.

B. 08-16-1928, Ann Blyth - U.S. film actor and singer.

B. 08-16-1931, Betsy Von Fürstenberg - German-born U.S. actor.

B. 08-16-1931, Eydie Gorme - U.S. pop vocalist. EG was a popular nightclub and recording star. She often appeared with her husband Steve Lawrence, but she maintained a much better separate recording career that kept her near the top of the charts for a long, long time. The duo had a TV show (1959).

B. 08-16-1935, Julie Newmar - U.S. film actor.

B. 08-16-1936, Anita Gillette Balt - U.S. actor.

B. 08-16-1938, Ketty Lester - U. S. actor best known for her role of Hester on the popular TV series Little House on the Prairie.

B. 08-16-1939 Carol Shelly - Anglo American actor.

B. 08-16-1944, Carol Hunstein - U.S. judge, Superior Court of Georgia 1984-92, Justice Supreme Court of GA (1992), and chair of the Georgia Commission on General Bias in the Judicial System. CH is the winner of the Women Who Made a Difference award.

B. 08-16-1945, Suzanne Farrell - U.S. ballerina. She is the archetypical American ballerina and was principal with New York City Ballet which she joined the corps de ballet in 1961 and by 1963 she was dancing leads. She was named principal dancer in 1965.
      SF, born Roberta Sue Ficker in Cincinnati, Ohio, "combined a light, gentle presence and a certain cool assurance with flawless technique."
      She retired from dancing in 1989 but stayed with the company directing and teaching. She was artistic director of the Fort Worth Ballet. She was awarded innumerable honors and recognitions as truly one of the great ballerinas of her era. Her autobiography is Holding On to the Air (1990).

B. 08-16-1946 Lesley Ann Warren - U.S. actor who because of her roles became a world-class screamer in the way of Hollywood that had women screaming, paralyzed instead of doing anything to protect themselves when endangered - such as running.

B. 08-16-1947, Carol Moseley Braun - first Afro-American woman elected to the U.S. senate (1992). CMB graduated from the University of Illinois and University of Chicago Law.
      CMB served in the Illinois legislature 1979-89. She was Cook County, Illinois, (Chicago) recorder of deeds (1989-1992) when she ran against incumbent Senator Alan J. Dixon in the Democratic Primary.
      Dixon had been outspoken in his criticism of Anita Hill in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas and angered women voters. Her election was a stunning upset.
      She was not re-elected because of a number of unproved accusations of fiscal improprieties. Following her defeat, she was appointed to several posts within the Clinton administration.

B. 08-16-1952, Gianna Rolandi - U.S. soprano. She debuted with the New York City opera in 1975 and joined the Met in 1979. She performed in Europe balanced with appearances in the U.S. The extensive traveling is part of the "normal" life of great singers who are often booked five years in advance.

B. 08-16-1953 Kathie Lee Gifford - U.S. TV personality who starred for many years in the hit daytime show Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. She retired from the show in 2000 to concentrate on her acting and singing.

B. 08-16-1953, Catlin O'Heaney - U.S. actor.

B. 08-16-1958, Angela Bassett - U.S. actor.

B. 08-16-1958, Madonna - Louise Veronica Ciccone - pop singer and entertainment personality of immense popularity who challenges accepted depictions of women's sexuality and sensuality.

B. 08-16-1974, Krisztina Egerszegi - Hungarian swimmer. KE won three gold medals in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
      She was only 14 and the youngest athlete ever to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming when she won the 200-metre backstroke at the 1988 games in Seoul, South Korea. She was the winner of more individual gold medals than any other person in the Olympics.
      She dominated the sport for a half dozen years setting records during numerous world meets. She was named woman swimmer of the year in 1991 and 1992 but oddly not in 1993 when 1993 she became the first swimmer ever to earn four individual titles in one meet, the 100- and 200-metre backstroke, the 200-metre butterfly, and the 400-metre individual medley.

B. 08-16-1978, Fu Mingxia - Chinese diver. FM won the springboard and platform diving gold medals in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, U.S.A., only the fourth female diver ever to sweep both events at the same Olympics and the first since Germany's Ingrid Kraemer did it at the 1960 Rome Games.
      In the 1992 Barcelona games, when she was 14, FM became the youngest gold medalist in the HISTORY of platform diving.
      After her 1996 victory she said, "I think that I did okay - not particularly well, but no big mistakes." She will compete in the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia where she will still be among the youngest in thediving events.
      She started diving when she was seven and by nine had been moved to Beijing to live with her coach. She seldom sees her parents and was unable to answer a reporter's question about her parents following the 1992 victory. Her UNOFFICIAL Home Page is http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~bochen/ming.htm

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      "Grown-ups cannot divorces themselves from the young without paying an unforeseeable price. This action has not changed since the first hunter-gatherers called on their elders to recite the myths and act out the ceremonies of the tribe for the benefit of its children. These exchanged of information are still essential. Creating childcare centers where the generations can serve and befriend one another is an idea that every community in America ought to launch tomorrow."
            -- Elizabeth Janeway, author of Improper Behavior

      "Women constitute half the world's population, perform nearly two-thirds of its work hours, receive one-tenth of the world's income, and own less than one-hundredth of the world's property."

      "Nay, start not, gentle sirs; indeed, 'tis true,
      "Poor woman has her rights as well as you;
      "And if she's wise, she will assert them too."
            -- Susanna Haswell Rowson,"Rights of Women" [1804]

      "The, barbarous custom of wresting from women whatever she possesses, whether by inheritance, donation or her own industry, and conferring it all upon the man she marries, to be used at his discretion and will, perhaps waste it on his wicked indulgences, without allowing her any control or redress, is such a monstrous perversion of justice by law, that we might well marvel how it could obtain in a Christian community."
            -- Sarah Josepha Hale, U.S. editor and writer in the article "The Rights of Married Women," (1837) that appeared in her Godey 's Lady's Book.

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