Women & History


If you haven't already realized it, I'm a bit of a history buff. Now, before you make too many assumptions about me, I want to say that I had little choice in the matter. I was raised by a woman who knew the difference between each major conflict of the Seven Years' War and regularly corrected TV newscasters when they got historical facts wrong. For me, a love of history was a case of both nature and nurture--there was simply no escaping it.

Because of this, one of my odder habits is the overwhelming need to place current trends and issues in proper historical context. Bring up the situation in Crimea and my mind immediately runs to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade. ("Half a league, half a league/ Half a league onward/ All in the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred.")  Mention immigration reform and I'll start talking about our complicated history of bringing in certain ethnicities to do our grunt work. And in the growing restlessness of Christian women wanting to work for the Kingdom, I can't help but remember the stories of women who did this generations before us--women like Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Mary Slessor, and Amy Carmichael.

Recently, I wrote a piece for Her.meneutics that explains why hearing these women's stories is essential to our own growth.

If history can be understood as "The Story," learning about the women who have come before us will help us understand where we belong in it. We'll learn which act and scene we've walked into; and with these prompts and cues, we'll be better able to play our own parts well.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Her.meneutics will run a brief series for Women's History Month that highlights "women of character, courage, and commitment." Each post will focus on a specific woman and draw connection to our own time. These may not be women you've ever heard of, but they are women who, in their own way and in their own time and place, changed history. And if we let them, their stories might change us today. You can read it in its entirety here.