For Women’s History Month in 2022, 20 new stories have been published on the Europeana website, in addition to previously published editorials that we have been promoting. In blogs, exhibitions and galleries, we told stories of women from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, featuring artists and performers, fashion, folk and crafts as well as politicians and militants.
Working with partners based across Europe has provided great opportunities to uncover new stories about women across the continent and beyond. Curated and created by six students from KU Leuven in Belgium, the Pill exhibition, telling the story of the birth control pill as a societal game changer in the 20th century, was a highlight of the 2022 season.
Another example was a blog linking fashion and feminism by Laura Fiesoli of the Museo dil Tesutto di Prato and Marta Franceschini of the European Fashion Heritage Association, who worked together to create and publish “Women Crafting Freedom”. They highlighted a remarkable collection of fabrics and textiles called the Antonia Suardi Collection, revealing how embroidery was used as a way for women to demonstrate independence, creativity and participate in social discourse. The piece is part of the current Crafted project, which promotes craftsmanship and the intangible stories behind different types of craftsmanship, and offers an example of an editorial that explores the stories that lie at the intersections between intangible heritage, women’s history and fashion.
We were also delighted to be able to publish other guest editorials from institutions such as the IDRC Ajuntament de Girona, ERT Archives, Forum Hungaricum, Canisius College New York (by Johanna Fisher, Professor of English and of women’s studies, co-director Women and Gender Studies), Khalili Collections, Kulturpool, Museo de Historia de Madrid and Museo del Tessuto di Prato. You can explore editorials on our Women’s History page.
Learn from institutions
Alongside the stories on the Europeana website, on Europeana Pro we spoke to different cultural heritage projects and institutions to find out more about how they showcase women’s history. In these plays, we heard a lot about how cultural heritage institutions can work to highlight women’s stories in their own collections.
Thea Aarbakke, Academic Director and Curator of the Norwegian Women’s Museum, reflected on the importance of looking at known objects in a new light in order to highlight the contributions of women. She writes: “Women’s history is everywhere! But sometimes you have to ask new questions of the museum’s collection and objects to find it. For example, there may be more women’s stories related to the use of objects, instead of their production, which is more often related to men. If the museum presents stories of objects about use and production, the collections become richer and more interesting. Read more.
Sinéad McCoole, curator of the Mná100 project which documents women in Irish history 100 years ago, reflected on the importance of making connections between global women’s history. “It is important to tell the story of women and their founding role in this Centenarian Decade by continuing to make links with archives, museums and libraries around the world which may have Irish material.” Read more.
And more recently, the organizers of the “Being Women in the Time of the Pandemic” project at the National Library of Serbia discussed the importance of working to integrate women’s history into the narratives around the collections, Tamara Butigan advocating: “ Open your women’s institutions, listen to them, record their practices and preserve them as priceless collections for generations to come.Create a digital space for women’s history collections, create editorials, share on social media to inspire others Read More.
To be involved
If you want to continue sharing inspiring stories from women’s history, now is the perfect time to get involved in Europeana’s Digital Storytelling Festival. Learn how to enter and submit your story to the contest.
If you need ideas, explore the inspiring stories already available on Europeana’s Women’s History page and use the storytelling resources of the Digital Storytelling Festival.