Continues to show promise..
Sitting down to pen (really?) my last blog of 2018, I looked back at what damesnet has been up to this year, and frankly I have to feel rather pleased with ourselves. We’ve written, we’ve praised, we’ve castigated and exhorted. We’ve reviewed, we’ve complained, we’ve celebrated, we’ve created.
And as ever, we’ve done our very best, in our own small way, to highlight women from all sectors of society who have notched up yet another point in the struggle to ensure they have just as much right as men to do anything they want. To this end we have featured women from Bologna, California, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Spain.. . and south London.
When we launched damesnet a few years ago, we wanted to have fun and celebrate amazing women and their achievements. As yet another extraordinary year draws to a close, it is a fact that women’s rights continue to be under threat, as much from cultures who might have thought the battle was fought and won as from those where all would agree that much progress is needed.
So what have been our highlights? Well, we are delighted to report that we have written two new entries in Wikipedia, as part of the ongoing aim to address the gender imbalance – fewer than 18% of its biographies are about women.
So I invite you to look at the dames’ entry on Dame Gillian Wagner, writer, philanthropist and social administrator, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_Wagner.
Please also read our piece on Vanda Scaravelli, yoga practitioner and writer, whose approach to yoga has been an inspiration to so many people in the West, including myself, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanda_Scaravelli.
And let’s not forget our first foray into writing for Wikipedia, which resulted in an entry on Polish-British poet Maria Jastrzębska, which, if you have not read it, is available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Jastrz%C4%99bska
Becoming a contributor to Wikipedia is not for the faint hearted: even if you get past the technical challenges there is an army of editors out there who are ready to seize on any new draft entry, but having now attended two Wiki ‘editathons’, we are becoming more confident. The most recent one was held at the Foundling Museum in London, and the format is always the same. You join a group of people who are learning how to create and edit entries in Wikipedia. The atmosphere is collaborative and supportive; there is always someone at hand to help you sort out a particular problem you are having. And I would particularly like to thank Andrew Davidson: https://twitter.com/an_dav for rescuing my piece on Vanda Scaravelli from a particularly aggressive Wiki editor, together with ongoing support with all our entries.
Another highlight was our involvement with the International Day of the Girl, when we were invited to join a group of women as mentors for some highly inspiring teenage schoolgirls. It was a privilege to talk to these awesome young women; there were some moments when I wondered who exactly was mentoring whom.
And we were delighted to receive a copy of Sharon Wright’s Balloonomania Belles to review. Here was a book that couldn’t be more aligned with our project of highlighting the often forgotten achievements of remarkable women, and what a thrilling read it proved to be.
We have enjoyed sounding off on topics that press our buttons – whether it is over words or terminology that have lost all their original meaning, entrepreneurs, food fads, cleavages or the behaviour of the young (and with latter, it was to lament their lack of bad behaviour rather than disdain their youthful excesses).
Finally, despite choosing the one day of pouring rain in one of the hottest summers on record, we celebrated our birthday with a tour of some notable women’s blue plaques in central London, followed by prosecco and cake in an elegant café where we all dried off.
We continue to invite suggestions for women Wikipedia entries, nominations for blue plaques and notable female scientists for the new £50 note.
Happy Christmas and all the best for 2019!