Women's History Month

History of Birth ControlWell Women’s History Month is almost over but I thought I’d post some interesting articles because women’s history doesn’t exist in a vaccum and should really be talked about all year round.

But one thing that is special about this October is that it’s the 80th anniversary of the Persons Case, when on October 18, 1929 Canadian women became officially “persons.” It’s a big milestone but something we can’t take for granted. I reminded myself today that my 92-year-old grandmother, who’s alive today, spent over a decade of her life not being considered a person!

Eighty years wasn’t so long ago. And status isn’t something we can take for granted today. Sexism and other forms of discrimination still exist and gender rights can’t be separated from other social stratifications such as class, race, and sexual orientation. There are still issues to talk about and work to do on a number of fronts.

For example, the Shriver report on women in America has been widely talked about in news and the American blogosphere. Maria Shriver points out the female-to-male ratio in the workforce as evidence of workplace equality. But many feminists like the lovely writers at Feminists for Choice point out how much inequality still exists. My “What Gender is Your Recession” article in the Vancouver Observer also touches on the misleading coverage of the “he-cession”-caused false equality.

But learning women’s history and the history of equality struggles and sexual rebels can help us contextualize what we see around us on a day to day basis. And a lot of it is fun and interesting too.

  • To start, Newsweek has a great little slideshow about the evolution of birth control, where you’ll learn things about birth control from the time of Aristotle to today. Of course there’s much left out but it’s still a pretty neat resource with some interesting graphics like the one above.
  • For more on the herstory of the Person’s Case, Victoria Telecommunity Network has a neat site laying out the who, what, where, and how.
  • If you have more time for research, the Women’s History Network of British Columbia has tons of great resources on their site.
  • Stay tuned for an article I’m doing for the Observer talking about fabulous UBC Sociology and Women’s Studies prof Becki Ross’ new book on the history of burlesque and striptease in post-war Vancouver.
  • And I’ll leave you with one of my favourite women’s history sites: the online Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health. Unfortunately it’s difficult to navigate and not well designed. But it’s worth pushing through some of that to get their entertaining and informative take on menstruation through history. For example they have a very thorough collection of words and expressions for menstruation. And they have a great collection of booklets, videos, art, and ads from the history of menstrual products, like this 1948 ad for Lysol douching:


So take some time to check out some women’s history resources. And remember, you don’t have to stop when November comes along.

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Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism 2 Comments

About the author

Jarrah Hodge

Jarrah Hodge is the founder and editor of gender-focus.com. She has also written for the Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine Blogs, the Vancouver Observer and About-Face. Jarrah has B.A. in Women’s Studies and Sociology from UBC. She’s a fan of politics, Star Trek, musical theatre, and brunch.

2 Responses to Women's History Month

  1. Kaitlin

    I absolutely love that birth control picture! That is the best picture ever. Excellent piece, too.

  2. Pingback: A Feminine Hygiene Predica-Mint « West Coast Feminist

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