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March 08, 2005

A Brief Herstory in Time

Happy International Women’s Day! Today is celebrated by the United Nations and various global women’s groups. It is the story of women as makers of history; and is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberté, equalité, fraternité" marched on Versailles to demand suffrage; during the beginnings of industrialism, more than 15,000 female NYC garment workers marched in protest of the death of 140 others in the Triangle Shirt Company fire; during WW1, groups of Russian women held regular strikes until the Czar abdicated and the provisional government granted women the vote.

My Herstory: In 11th Century Japan, as the Taira (or Heike clan) struggled to maintain control over the capital, shogun Minamoto Yoritomo (with the Genji clan) collected daimyo allegiance and an incredible army as he crept east across the countryside. The biwahoshi commisioned to chronicle the civil war was Lady Murasaki. Murasaki’s “Tales of the Genji” continues to be recognized as one of the foremost pieces on feudal Japan. The battle at Mikusa became a definitive piece in Japanese history as the Genji stormed the Heike's seaside fort by sliding down a seventy-foot cliff on horseback thus ending the battle for Japan…and for once, it was written from a female historian’s perspective, then I think she put the rice on.

Links for services for women:
Vancouver Status of Women
Status of Women Canada
Women Net Directory


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