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  • Writer's pictureJessica Jacobs

International Women's Day - Sheila Rowbotham

Sheila Rowbotham is a revered political figure, historian and activist, whose writing of women’s history in the 1970s kick-started vibrant discourse surrounding histories of gender, identity and sexuality. Her contribution to women’s history resulted in the growth of gender history as a newly emerging discipline with many branches. During the 1970’s, Rowbotham’s work primarily focused on revising traditional historical narratives, bringing to light the female voice that had previously been ‘hidden from history.’ Her work is firmly rooted in acknowledging the experiences of British women from all class backgrounds, who had been dispelled from ‘top-down’ history. Topics like empire and monarchy were largely unexplored from a gendered perspective until after 1970. Since then, the sheer volume of film and literature which explore womanhood in the lives of famous British queens like Victoria and Elizabeth I, gives insight into how interest in these topics grew. Ultimately, women’s and gender history has evolved into a much more comprehensive and dynamic discipline which Rowbotham’s work played a significant role in facilitating. Identifying key players in the origins of gender history post second-wave feminism is especially relevant in today’s social and political climate, with awareness on issues of gender and sexuality at an all-time high in Britain. Rowbotham’s most famous publications include Women, Resistance and Revolution and Promise a Dream.


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