Women's history of struggle in the spotlight

By Anna Schwoub
August 11, 2013

An afternoon of rebellion for women's rights and dignity was enjoyed by participants at Just Festival yesterday afternoon (Saturday 10th August), gathering at the Quaker Meeting House in Edinburgh.

The 'Damned Rebel Bitches' provocatively used for the title of the discussion (a term of abuse directed at them) were four remarkable, unsung Quaker women whose actions reverberated around the 19th century.

In spite of the serious topic, "history-based enjoyment" was on the agenda, with guest speakers including the eminent historian, James Walvin.

The event, sponsored by the DRBs Scottish Women’s History group, included art and debate. "Heroic women are sparsely commemorated - let's create our response," was the message.

Just how sparsely? Well, it was revealed that there are over 200 statues in Edinburgh alone. Of these, shockingly, just two are of women and two are of dogs.

That's not limited to Edinburgh either, participants observed. And there was naturally talk of the abuse that women have faced on social media after the campaign around lack of women's images on postage stamps, too.

Making women visible is a major issue in addressing gender inequality, gender injustice and gender-based violence in these islands and beyond.

Linking history and present struggles, as well as acknowledging the heroes of the past, is a vital step forward.

Women’s History Scotland exists to promote study and research in women’s and gender history, particularly for those working in Scotland or working on Scottish themes. It has a commitment to history at all levels and aims to provide a network of information and support to all. Browse our website for news of activities and projects concerning women’s and gender history in Scotland.

Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road) and some 27 other venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

* DRBs Scottish Women’s History - https://www.facebook.com/DRBscottishwomenshistory

* Women’s History Scotland - http://womenshistoryscotland.org/

* For more information on Just Festival, visit http://www.justjust.org and http://justfestivalnews.blogspot.com

* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival


© Anna Schwoub is a writer and academic from Northumbria specialising in the link between culture, religion and social change.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.