It would be tough to be a feminist if I truly believed that women had been as weak and passive in history as I’ve been told. How could half the species gain the capacity for leadership, computational thinking, and war in 50 years?
If we had not always been leaders, geeks, and warriors, and were just starting now, it would be a good reason why we should be restricted from those roles. Just in terms of experience, comparing barely a women’s lifetime with the life of humanity leaves little doubt who the safest bets would be.
Thus I believe, no–I know that women have always been leaders, geeks, and warriors.
The Uppity Women series provided me with hundreds of stories of strong, innovative, independent women in every time period imaginable. The need to find strong women who had been where I was (physically in the Gulf; psychically attached to the place) is what drove me to write this term paper on “European Women in the Islamic World in the Early Twentieth Century”.
In our own time I often have trouble finding the women who are major leaders in our world (did you know there have been 12 top national leaders in Africa who are women in the last 15 years?), because they are hidden by default maleness as Elize puts it. This proving of women’s constant and historical importance is a project much bigger than this blog or this writer. But it is a small passion, a research habit, a thinking object I need not share or be employed for or be graded on for it to provide me continuous and boiling energy.
“The rarest thing in the world is a woman who is pleased with photographs of herself.”–Elizabeth Metcalf