Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the UK, US and Canada and aims to highlight the contribution of women to events in history and contemporary society. International Women’s Day is celebrated during the month on March 8th.
One of the ideas behind ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ is to help museums increase the visibility of women in their collections and to tell some of the hidden stories of the strong Essex women who lived and worked in the county. Some initial work has uncovered Essex women who have campaigned for a range of different causes, represented us in parliament worked in science, industry and medicine making some amazing discoveries, directed archaeological digs, written and illustrated some of our favourite books for children and adults, created art, acted, made music and have generally made a huge contribution in a range of fields.
To celebrate Women’s History Month we will be tweeting about a different Essex woman every day (@snapthestiletto). The first group of women we are celebrating are all campaigners who felt strongly about a cause and decided to do something about it. Some were wealthier than other and could use money and family influence to help them, others were well educated and used this advantage to create better conditions for others. Some were ‘ordinary’ women who saw injustice and decided to campaign for a cause.
Some of these women are well documented but for others we know very little and the project will aim to find out more about them, their lives and campaigns and their legacy. We will also be working to find women who are, as yet, unknown or unnamed and to get material from archives and museum collections to tell their stories and celebrate their achievements. One story that intrigues me at the moment is that of a group of women in Harlow who banded together to protest against a National Front gathering in the town and apparently managed to turn the group away- I’d love to find out more!
Following on from the campaigners will be the women whose achievements were in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and maths). Please keep an eye on our twitter feed and help us celebrate strong Essex women.
Oh, and if anyone asks- International Men’s day is November 19th– the comedian Richard Herring does sterling work every March 8th letting people know about this (@Herring1967) and is raising money for Refuge at the same time.