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Posts Tagged ‘Women in History’

It is not the first time I have spotlighted her.


Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of remarkable women.

A century before the dawn of the computer age, Ada Lovelace imagined the modern-day, general-purpose computer. It could be programmed to follow instructions, she wrote in 1843. It could not just calculate but also create, as it “weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

The computer she was writing about, the British inventor Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, was never built. But her writings about computing have earned Lovelace — who died of uterine cancer in 1852 at age 36 — recognition as the first computer programmer.


Obituary writing is more about life than death: the last word, a testament to a human contribution.

Yet who gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers.

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.

Charlotte Brontë wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roebling oversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband fell ill; Madhubala transfixed Bollywood; Ida B. Wells campaigned against lynching. Yet all of their deaths went unremarked in our pages, until now.

Below you’ll find obituaries for these and others who left indelible marks but were nonetheless overlooked. We’ll be adding to this collection each week, as Overlooked becomes a regular feature in the obituaries section, and expanding our lens beyond women.

You can use this form to nominate candidates for future “Overlooked” obits. Read an essay from our obituaries editor about how he approaches subjects and learn more about how the project came to be.

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Hillary Clinton made a major policy speech yesterday.  She’s running for president of the United States.  Every time she opens her mouth – and she has a pretty mouth that says smart things that some people sometimes dislike – somebody has something to say about how she sounds.  Seems it is never “just right.”

This popped up in my newsfeed which pretty concisely packages the issue.

03/23/2016 06:09 pm ET

I don’t know.  What does Hillary Clinton have to do to get it “just right?”  To  get anything just right? Personally, I was worried about how her poor voice would hold up, it had suffered such abuse these past weeks on the campaign trail.  It held up fine, and for my money her tenor was fine.  When Hillary gives policy speeches, she generally is calm and deliberate.  I have watched many over the past eight years since I began keeping track of her secretary of state tenure. That is her policy speech style.  I don’t even want to go into that.  Paige Lavender did the topic justice.  But what does Hillary have to do to get things “just right?”  More to the point, why does she have to?

Everybody has something to say about what she wears, how she sounds, how she looks.  Wear that yellow for the speech.  No!  Oh!  Not that awful yellow!  Be forceful!  Oh no!  Don’t yell.  Smile more!

Why can’t Hillary just be Hillary?  Why can’t the most qualified person ever to run in my life (Harry Truman began as a haberdasher – youngsters, just go google it –  I’m too tired – he was the first to run in my life) have a fair chance to spell out her plans without everybody talking about her tone, facial expression, and whatever other third element hits the windshield of the armchair quarterbacks.

When Hillary and I were in college, Marshall McLuhan (go look him up – I am tired of spoonfeeding voting age people) said the “medium is the message.”  He meant medium as print v. video.  So video is the message today, even though I still like to get my hands on transcripts and lift the passages I think are important. Video – and audio – are the whole show.

I know I am biased.  But WTF??????? What is so offensive about Hillary that Bernie’s foghorn and gesticulating, Ted’s cartoon voice, John’s bedtime story voice, and Trump’s bellowing (“Get ‘im out!”) fail to surpass in offensiveness, condescension, plain old annoyance?

Why is her wardrobe an issue?  They all look like a suit rack at the cleaners.  Why, when she puts forward the only sane. thought-out, and comprehensive plan to combat terrorism is anything other than her words and her plan an issue?

It really never entered my mind that we would have a woman president. I loved Shirley Chisholm.  She sat them all down like she was the detention teacher in the halls of Congress. Pat Schroeder gave it her best, and Gerri Ferraro made me proud coming within a margin of being a heartbeat away.  But this was never a goal.

It’s just that right now we have the best candidate I have ever seen.  She happens to be a woman with a message, a set of plans, and a way of explaining things. She’s not hard to look at, not hard to listen to, and, when you bother to listen, not hard to understand –  she explains well.

Why can’t Hillary get it just right?  Or is it that the chairs keep getting moved around while the music blares?

02-13-14-Y-02Why don’t the guys have to be pitch perfect?  Why don’t they even have to pitch it over home base, actually, as long as they throw?

Thank you Hillary Clinton for running for president when you didn’t have to.  Thank you for your plans, your brilliance, and for always being right on target while looking pretty and being your spunky and empathetic self. Your Homegirls love you!

 

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Below is the obituary of Lady Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter and a pioneer of computational theory and mechanical computation.  Here is her fascinating story, thoroughly researched and beautifully presented by Stephen Wolfram  as part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace

Renowned scientist Stephen Wolfram dives into the relationship that gave birth to the age of computers

Portrait of Ada Lovelace at age 20 (from The New York Public Library)

Ada Lovelace was born 200 years ago this month. To some she is a great hero in the history of computing; to others an overestimated minor figure. I’ve been curious for a long time what the real story is. And in preparation for her bicentennial, I decided to try to solve what for me has always been the “mystery of Ada.”

It was much harder than I expected. Historians disagree. The personalities in the story are hard to read. The technology is difficult to understand. The whole story is entwined with the customs of 19th-century British high society. And there’s a surprising amount of misinformation and misinterpretation out there.

But after quite a bit of research — including going to see many original documents — I feel like I’ve finally gotten to know Ada Lovelace, and gotten a grasp on her story. In some ways it’s an ennobling and inspiring story; in some ways it’s frustrating and tragic.

It’s a complex story, and to understand it, we’ll have to start by going over quite a lot of facts and narrative.

Read the article >>>>>

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While everyone is paying attention to Greece and Spain, Italy is teetering  on the brink.  Some pundits say that the real  fate of the Eurozone lies in Italy’s ability to weather the current economic winds. It occurred to me that I did not know whether the Vatican was part of the EU.  It is not, but, oddly, its currency is the Vatican Euro which is made in Rome.

With brand names like Prada, Ferrari, and Armani continuing to do well, Italy may come through just fine.  That is not why I raised the subject.  It is pretty clear to anyone who knows anything about the Vatican why that sovereign state would eschew EU membership.  Legendary accumulated wealth and perennially resurfacing Vatican Bank scandals hint at roiling financial and economic storms beneath the serene surface.  A two thousand year history of borderline incestuous relations with European royalty may have established much of the Vatican’s wealth, but a side effect might be the belief that the tiny city-state gets to dictate what happens politically in other countries.  When Vatican officials tried to bitch-slap American nuns recently, the nuns not only stood their ground, but, in an all-American huff, decided to take their message on the road.

Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues

By
Published: June 5, 2012

In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Sister Simone Campbell is organizing a bus tour to draw attention to nuns’ work with the poor and to protest planned aid cuts.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The bus’s decal.

The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

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I am reminded of this incident.

5 Nuns in New Jersey Break Away Over Break With Tradition

By ROBERT HANLEY, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 08, 1988

Five cloistered nuns are protesting at their monastery here over the relaxation of rigid monastic lifestyles rooted in the 16th century.

Since Tuesday, the five have secluded themselves in the monastery’s second-floor infirmary, fearful they face eviction from the monastery because of their opposition to the recent introduction of a television, classical music and brighter lighting in the prayer chapel.

To the five sisters, these 20th-century society elements are distractions to their dedication to solitude, silence and daily contemplative prayer, and the abandonment of the reclusive principles of their order, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, founded in 1562.

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A brilliant friend, mentor, and colleague of mine, a naturalized American able to see our culture through eyes more objective than our own and trained in anthropology,  and I were driving past that cloister a few years later.  “I wish I could have spoken to the Pope during that stand-off,” she said.  “He didn’t realize he was dealing with protestant nuns.”  Her larger thesis was that all Americans, regardless of the religious tradition in which we are raised, are essentially protestants.  It’s what we do.  We protest.  Our nation was born in protest and the founders enshrined that right in the very first amendment to our constitution.  That is the importance they lent to the role of protest in our infant culture.

Sister Simone Campbell and her bus mates along with Sister Margaret Farley (whom the Vatican officials appear to regard as a ring leader in all of this disruption to their traditional message of vilification for the practices of birth control and gay marital union) stand with the grand majority of Roman Catholic American nuns who have not missed the connections between these practices and the economic health of the greater society.  Gay marriage more than affords equal rights to gay couples.  It permits medical coverage,  pension and social security benefits to dependents of those marriages – benefits that parties to straight marriage accept without the blink of an eye – to which, in fact, they feel entitled.  Birth control permits reproductive responsibility in families that calculate their fiscal ability to support a family at $235,000 per child per year 0 – 17 years (not including post secondary education).

The nuns are very much part of the fabric of American life.  Their long tradition of working on the ground with children and families allows them insights that men isolated in Vatican enclaves cannot possibly appreciate.  The Nuns on the Bus are out to educate Americans – voting citizens (which Vatican officials are not) – as to the dangers inherent in the proposed Ryan budget.  Les eminences grises could learn a thing or two from them as well.  American nuns have been educating Americans for more than two hundred years.  We applaud this effort by our all-American protestant Catholic nuns.  Go Sisters!!!!!!

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OH!  This is one of those moments when I so wish I could have been in that crowd. This is a great read!   Everyone knows who Chelsea and Sandra are. New Yorkers know Christine well.  She’s the one with the auburn hair who stands just behind Michael Bloomberg’s shoulder in every shot she can get into and is probably going to be the next mayor.  Nicolle Wallace?  What can I say?  Anyone who worked as hard as she did to try to get Sarah Palin to understand campaign tactics and foreign policy (or even history and geography) gets an A+ in my book!  Wish I had been there.  Fun read.  HRC  looms large,  Rosenblum notes.

10:27 am Mar. 29, 2012

It’s been more than 30 years since women began to vote in greater numbers than men in presidential elections, and four since Hillary Clinton almost became the Democratic nominee for president. 

But of course Hillary didn’t make it, and it’s going to be at least another four years before a woman is nominated by either of the major parties.

“We’re either not having the right conversation,” moderator Chelsea Clinton told the seven-woman panel and a full audience last night at the 92nd Street Y, “or we’re not being heard loudly enough, whether we’re running in heels, or flats or boots.”

READ MORE>>>> (YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!!!!)

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Cross-posted  from Uppity Woman  per her request.

 March 27, 2012 by Anita Finlay (“Ani”)

In her WaPo article, Twenty Years On, ‘Year of the Woman’ Fades, Karen Tumulty offers many reasons why women have not attained anything approaching parity in political representation, after female membership in the House and Senate doubled in 1992:

“…They made their presence felt beyond Capitol Hill, with the passage of legislation that made the workplace more family-friendly, that directed more medical research to women’s health issues and that made the criminal justice system more responsive to domestic violence.”

Women now represent 16.8% of Congress.  We have now hit a plateau, Tumulty says.  Another way of putting it is stagnation.  The treatment received by Hillary Clinton, who won more votes than any candidate in Primary history, and Sarah Palin, only the second woman to get on a presidential ticket, served as horrifying cautionary tales rather than encouragement.  Why would more qualified women run for higher office when a misogynist gauntlet awaits them?  What I witnessed in 2008 made the bile rise in my throat from such a deep place that I had to get off the sidelines and take action.  The sum total of that action follows:

Ms. Tumulty notes Democrats have declared that Republicans are waging a “war on women.” But the current “war” is being confined once again to a cynical and controlled narrative designed to benefit the President’s re-election bid rather than addressing the underbelly of woman-hate that still seems to permeate all levels of society.

Dirty Words On Clean Skin is a shocking exposé about the real war on women….who’s buying, who’s selling – and why they get away with it.

That war is waged daily by mainstream media, party backstabbers, opposing politicians, advertisers and lowbrow comedians of high powered television shows – all of whom miss no opportunity to degrade and marginalize; reducing women to body parts, wardrobe choices and vocal tics.

The quality and preparedness of Hillary Clinton was continually obscured by the bread and circuses of distraction and character assassination.  To a greater or lesser degree, these are tactics with which all females running for office have become acquainted.  We say the sky’s the limit for women in this country, but the reality was quite different when we were presented with a test case.

I am so proud to share my work with all of you and will be doing a pre-launch of Dirty Words on Clean Skin for all my kind blogger buddies and readers.  The book will be available on Amazon as of April 3rd…The book’s main launch will be April 24th and it will also be available on Kindle at that time.

Your encouragement has both fed me, and taught me to think critically, to make an argument, to stand my ground.

I am grateful to you all.

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If there were a reality show called “Who’s the REAL Feminist?” Andrew Sullivan evidently considers himself a candidate for judge.  He, predictably,  had the unmitigated gall to assume the role of “feminist maven”on an “Overtime” segment of HBO’s Bill Maher Show.  How appropriate!

He debated the issue with Wendy Schiller, associate professor at Brown University on the segment.  Talk about picking your opponent!  Sullivan, once again, has shown himself to be the good old misogynist we have all come to know and despise.  There is a video in the article. WordPress would not accept the code, so I could not post it here.  You can watch it when you click into The Daily Caller article.

Andrew Sullivan slams Hillary Clinton: ‘Not a feminist’

Published: 6:26 PM 03/24/2012

On Friday’s “Overtime” segment of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Newsweek columnist and The Daily Beast’s “The Dish” blogger Andrew Sullivan made a comparison between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

According to Sullivan, Thatcher’s legacy was “amazing” because she never played the sex card.

“Thatcher was amazing to me because … she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet, by the way, ever, in 11 years,” Sullivan said. “She’s also a woman in the 50s, got educated in chemistry and had a family and ran as a single woman, and never once in her entire life played the sex card. Never, never played it.”

“… she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet.”  What a testament!  These women would probably disagree with Judge Sullivan.

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There are many, many more like them.  Hillary Clinton has worked for 40 years for women, children, and families.  As Secretary of State,  her signature issue has been the empowerment of women and girls.   Meryl Streep stated,  introducing this amazing woman,  a hero to so many of us,  at the Women in the World Summit this month, that there are women in the world who are still alive today only because they had their pictures taken with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Comparing her unfavorably with the woman who showed not an ounce of empathy with the mothers of the Long Kesh hunger strikers, defies reason and serves to disqualify Sullivan as any kind of judge of feminism.

How dare you, Andrew Sullivan!  You crossed the line, and we are watching you!

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For those who are fans of this  awesome researcher, analyst, and commentator, I have a treat for you.

Karen Finney

Fans have been clamoring on Twitter for awhile for Karen to have her own show at MSNBC, but  of course, first things must come first.  As a popular guest commentator,  she has demonstrated the talents and gifts that are indispensable to success on current events talk TV.  She is animated, quick-thinking, well-informed, and circumspect.  Not to be shallow, but she is also very easy on the eyes.  She is the whole package, but that is not a direct route to a show.  What CAN be is filling in for hosts of current shows.

Karen is a regular panelist on Bashir Live at MSNBC  3 p.m. ET.  Tomorrow and Friday, Karen will be filling in for Martin Bashir in his absence.  Her fans could not be happier to see have this opportunity to showcase her her appreciable skills as a host and moderator.

So tune in to MSNBC at 3  EDT (or check your local listings)  tomorrow and Friday and catch Karen!  We wish her the best.  She’s our homegirl, and we hope this is a step to a Karen Finney show to  be aired regularly.

Here’s lookin’ at YOU Karen!

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There is a person, and I will refrain from disclosing her screen name, but she knows who she is, who leads a posse of women who think that this woman does not do/say enough to defend Barack Obama.

Karen Finney

They attack her  mercilessly on  Twitter for not supporting “PBO” sufficiently while never specifying which of her remarks they find objectionable or anemic.

This past Super Tuesday, the above,  Karen Finney, was a guest on the panel at The Ed Show.  She asked this question.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

edshow, posted with vodpod

Her remarks precipitated a hailstorm of criticism on her Twitter wall from southern conservative women who accused her of calling them racists – a statement she never made.

Yesterday, as a regular member of the panel on the Dylan Ratigan show, she incited the legendary wrath of Ratigan with this perfectly innocent comment delivered, I would add, with her signature dimpled smile and a sweet voice.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ratigan, posted with vodpod

This evening, she appeared with Reverend Al on Politics Nation and had this to say.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rev Al posted withvodpod

Looking at her Twitter wall , the more active of her social nets,  right now, I am wondering where the “PBO” posse is hiding?  Why did they not come out and defend her when the Southern Conservative Women’s posse went after her on Tuesday night and said they were called racist – which they were  not?  Why are they not up there praising her for absorbing the wrath of Ratigan for saying something nice about President Obama?   Why are they not encouraging her remarks to Rev. Al tonight?  Why do they post on her wall ONLY when they feel she is not defensive enough toward “PBO?”  Why did they not defend her against the unfair attacks by the SCW posse?  I wonder exactly what it is Ms. Finney is expected to do in order to please people.

I am not here to defend “PBO” with whom you all know I have issues.  If you read the pages about why we are here and the mission statement,  however, you will see why I very appropriately defend Ms. Finney on this page.   She is a homegirl.  She defends women’s rights with logic and passion.

She has drawn fire from both sides.  In many ways I consider that a good thing.  She is objective, logical, and analytical.  She is not pushing hard for any particular candidate – very unusual on MSBNC.  She is doing her job as she understands it to be:  analyzing the events under discussion in a circumspect way.  I think she does a fine job,  and this week I thought she deserved the support of  some who relentlessly criticize her.

Well this is one venue where I can defend her as well as promote her since I think her brand of objective analysis could be better represented on the channel where she regularly occupies one or another panel.  She should have her own show there.  I probably still would need to consult her Twitter wall to find out who else’s  show she would be appearing on, but I would know that there would be an hour in the day or week that I could DVR regularly and find Karen there speaking out on women’s issues and maybe sometimes saying the president did a pretty good job at something because nobody totally sucks all the time at everything … except maybe Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  I won’t even bother with Newt.  Just thought I would mention her to those of you who don’t have any team-owning friends.  Now y’all in Puerto Rico go out there and learn English the way those guys mastered Southern American English!

So,  Karen, you have a posse of  homegirls and homeboys right here.  We have your back!

(Full disclosure:  The author has PR cousins, some of whom are very politically active in the Republican Party.  They have native speaker level proficiency in English.  Just sayin’.)

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HuffPo today featured articles by our Homegirl, Lady Lynn and Cherie Blair marking International Women’s Day 2012.

CEO of EL Rothschild

Women at the Very Top

Posted: 8/03/2012 00:00

As I join my colleagues to celebrate International Women’s Day at this year’s WIE Symposium in London, I laud the advancement of women over the past few decades, but know that we have much to do in order to achieve gender equality in our societies in the UK and the US.

Over the past four decades, society has broadly accepted and integrated women in the workplace. But, this has not yet reached the highest political offices, the boardrooms and the CEO offices of the corporate world. Women are still largely absent from leadership positions and are too often perceived to be incompatible with positions of power and leadership. This absence of women in positions of power is a painful reminder that gender equality is still an aspiration, not a reality.

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Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Behind Every Successful Man is a Woman? Let’s Reverse That Saying

Posted: 8/03/2012 00:00

It used to be said that behind every successful man was a woman. They meant, of course, a wife. It was a clumsy way of recognising women’s contribution within marriage and the part this sacrifice played in helping husbands advance in their careers.

But as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I wonder if it’s not time to reverse the saying. Let’s, in fact, celebrate the role men are now playing in helping women’s rise to the top.

This is not to suggest that the fight for equality has been won. Any glance at the continuing gender pay gap or lack of women in the boardroom or parliament shows how hollow that claim would be.

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Happy International Women’s Day to all the awesome Homegirls here!

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