Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Room of One's Own

This month marks the 80th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s celebrated feminist essay A Room of One's Own. Radio 4's Woman's Hour on 22 October was dedicated to it. If, like me, other Bluestockings relish the concept of a place to write and think in peace, you will enjoy the musings of the four women writers in the programme on their own 'rooms' (or lack of).

From the BBC website:
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". 80 years ago this month Virginia Woolf published these words in an essay that was to become one of the seminal feminist texts of our age. A Room of One’s Own has shaped the way in which creative achievement by men and women is viewed, and provided a point of reference for generations of female writers. Woolf uses the ‘room’ as a symbol for privacy, leisure time, and financial independence, all of which have been historically lacking for women. To mark the anniversary, a special programme looks at this remarkable essay and its continuing relevance to women today who are struggling to find the mental and physical space for their creativity. Jenni talks to Hermione Lee, author of an acclaimed biography of Virginia Woolf; the academic and author Susan Sellers; and the novelists Val McDermid and Jill Dawson. We also visit a room that Virginia Woolf called her own - a specially constructed writing lodge at the bottom of her garden at Monk’s House in Sussex.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Jennie Loitman Barron (1891-1969)

  • Judge, lawyer, and suffragist
  • president of the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers
  • campaigned for uniform marriage and divorce laws, as well as for women’s right to serve on juries
  • had a thirty-five year career as a judge
  • became associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1957 — the first woman to hold this position
  • remained active in the Jewish community throughout her career
  • first president of the Women’s Auxiliary of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital
  • first president of the New England Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress
More at Jewish Women's Archive

Elinor Ostrom

Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom, who has jointly (with Oliver E. Williamson) won the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. According to Wikipedia:
Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common pool resources. In particular, Ostrom's work emphasizes how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. Common pool resources include many forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands, and irrigation systems. Ostrom's work has considered how societies have developed diverse institutional arrangements for managing natural resources and avoided ecosystem collapse in many cases, even though some arrangements have failed to prevent resource exhaustion. Her current work emphasizes the multifaceted nature of human–ecosystem interaction and argues against any singular "panacea" for individual social-ecological system problems. .... In 2009, Ostrom became the first woman to receive the prestigious Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance," saying her work had demonstrated how common property could be successfully managed by groups using it.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Barbara Bodichon

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon was a Unitarian and a Pre-Raphaelite painter. I discovered this by chance because I was reading The Unitarian Life by Stephen Lingwood and Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists by Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn at the same time, and her name appeared in both. She was also a pioneer of the women's rights movement, a founder of Girton College, Cambridge and The Englishwoman's Journal. She knew George Eliot, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, and was related to Florence Nightingale (another famous Unitarian). Definitely a top-flight bluestocking.