Women's History In Art, Science And Trade Union Movement Remains Ignored

You would think that this headline is untrue, given that this year the TUC celebrates, along with many other organisations, the activities of Women in the Trade Union Movement.

The TUC this year celebrates its 150th anniversary and with it, a century and a half of female and male Trade Unionists working together to change the world of work for good.

But don't think this was all only relevent in the 'dark ages' before the TUC. In fact it continues to this day. The mere fact that you need reminding of the aprt played by women in a whole range of areas in what is considrfed to be 'male dominated' fields ; proves the validity of the above headline.

Pic: Sogat's Brenda DeanHave you, since the 1980's, heard about Brenda Dean? Who?

You may well ask because most people have forgotten the print worker's strike after Murdoch sacked 5,500 workers on a Friday night without notice in 1985.

This then led to further police brutality. second only to that metered out to the Miners, against Trade Union pickets and supporters of those sacked, including the media who were reporting the scenes from Whapping where Murdoch's barbed wire enclosed print works has been moved to from Fleet Street.

Even BBC reporter Kate Ady was beaten over the ehad with a police truntion, so bad was the Home Office inspired police violence.

One of the major Trade Union's at the time was SOGAT which was headed by the '1st Female Trade Union General Secretary', one Brenda Dean. So unique was her election to the position that even the TV News media of the day, made her rise to the position of head of a male dominated trade union; a worthwhile news item.

More recently of course is the fact that the TUC General Secretary is a woman - Frances O'Grady along with TUC in the North West whose Regional Secretary is Lyn Collins. Indeed the Trade Union movement continues making 'firsts' in its leadership choices of women with Unite's Claire Lees becoming one of the first female Branch Secretaries in a male dominated TU. She spoke at the recent TUC event celebrating women in the trade union movement held in Liverpool.

But the world of women in Arts and Sciences is even further forgotten and indeed deliberately so in most cases.

This is firmly highlighted in Manchester with the opening of a new exhbition of one of the country's most brilliant painters of her time, by the name of Annie Swynnerton, who was also a member of the Society Of Women Artists.

In 1922 she became the first woman to be elected member of the Royal Academy of Arts since its founding in 1768. She was a passionate campaigner for women’s suffrage and painted portraits of several of the movement's leading figures.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett, leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, was instrumental in gaining British women over 30 the vote in 1918. She was present in Parliament in 1928 to see the passing of the act that granted women the same voting rights as men.

The image to the left painted by Annie Swynnerton was first exhibited in 1930 and reproduced hear from the Tate Galory website under their Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) licence.

Her paintings are the subject of an exhibition being held in Manchester between now and January 2019, and contains some of her most beautiful painted portraits, of photographic quality in many cases; which are truly inspiring to both men and women.

But since her death, her works have been ignored and forgotten except by the most stalwart enthusiats of the genre of protrait paingings.

When it comes to writing novels, women have most definately been set back by discrimination, prejudice and outright male jealousy as can be seen by the classic Mary Shelley who until fairly recently was never acknowledged for her book entitel 'Frankenstien' Indeed, the genberal public had no knowledge of who th true author was until the Hollywood film, Mary Shelley's Frankenstien!

But one of the areas of most gievious injustice to women ahs to be int he field of science.

 

 


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