My mother did the traditional thing when she married in 1963. She left work to raise children. She did housework and in her spare time enjoyed embroidering. She even exhibited her embroidery. But underneath this conventional exterior my mother did things differently.
Mum decided to complete year twelve when I was a baby. Her mother-in-law approved of her studying. “She was pleased to have a daughter in law that had a mind above housework”, recalled my mother. My grandmother had gone to university herself and worked in London and Paris in the 1920s. My mother appreciates the fact that her mother-in-law encouraged her and looked after me while my mother did her year twelve exams.
My father got a new job so we moved away from our family in Melbourne and settled in Hobart. I remember at dinner my father would invariably ask what my mother had done that day. As a seven or eight year old I disliked the question because I knew the dreary response that would come from my mother. “I washed the clothes and hung them out, then I vacuumed the stairs and upstairs….” Zzzzzz. As a child I recognised how deadly dull my mother’s life was and felt sorry for her.
Of course I didn’t say anything to her about that at the time but years later Mum told me how much she dreaded that habitual question from my father. However, my father was listening. “He saw I was bored”, she said. An advertisement in the newspaper attracted my father’s attention. It was about studying at university. He encouraged my mother to apply. This would have been 1972 or 1973. Continue reading →
The disparity between the genders in participation in Maths was already noticeable in 2001. Ten years later this disparity has worsened. By 2011 girls participation in year twelve Maths had dropped to 78.2%. The participation of boys had also decreased but not to such a degree. In 2011 90.2% of boys studied year twelve Maths.
Rachel Wilson, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at University of Sydney noted that this problem is partly due to the attitude about girls and women being bad at Maths.
Unfortunately some dismiss these women as being ‘unusual’ (which is often code for ‘weird’ or ‘abnormal’). Yet the story about Clio Cresswell, senior lecturer in mathematics and statistics at University of Sydney, caught my eye. It is not the tale of success in maths one would expect. Cresswell told Jane Gleeson-White that she struggled with maths at school. What led Clio Cresswell to ultimately succeed in maths at a high level? Read Jane Gleeson-White’s post to find out!
In this post I want to highlight a story of an ordinary woman and her quiet determination to participate in science and to study Maths. She was not brilliant at Maths but she enjoyed it and wanted to pursue it. Her story demonstrates some of the subtle and not so subtle barriers that dissuade many women from studying Maths and Science.
Galleries, libraries, archives and museums are known as the GLAM institutions. I spend a lot of time in these places doing research, but I also enjoy visiting exhibitions and taking behind the scenes tours. When I travel I try to squeeze in an exhibition or two. Unfortunately I find that I often don’t have much time to do this so I either miss out or I have to cram as much as I can into a short space of time.
The 'modern, easy and quick' self adhesive photo albums from the 1970s and 1980s are a bad place to store your memorabilia.
While the goals of a historian and those working on family history at times are quite different there is a considerable overlap. I have found family historians very helpful while I have been researching the history of teaching reading. Over the last few days I was reminded again about how complementary the two pursuits are.
I’m sorting through the archives of a local community organisation. The work has been similar to the kind of work done by anyone who is securing the material that documents their family history. An important task became evident while I was sorting through photos, letters and other memorabilia dating from the 1970s to just a couple of years ago. I had to arrest the deterioration of the items in the collections and rehouse some of the material. I am not an archivist but on the way I have picked up some basic do’s and don’ts of storing material for posterity. It was the world of genealogy which first alerted me to the need to take great care about storage conditions of historical archives. Continue reading →
Many people engage in historical research – family historians, local historians, authors, academic historians etc. For all of us, the opportunities for visiting an archive can be fleeting and the cost in terms of time, travel, accommodation etc can be high. Thorough preparation for a trip to the archives is the foundation for a fruitful day fossicking through historical records.
The photograph above shows the equipment I typically take with me into the archive. This equipment helps me to abide by my ‘archival principles’: