March is Women’s History Month, and seeing as how I am a woman, I have managed to put together a pretty good collection of episodes on women (go figure). I remember when I was a kid, fascinated by history, it always seemed like we only ever talked about the men. My first job in high school was as a student docent at the home of General Edward Hand, Washington’s Adjutant General, in Lancaster, PA. The whole damn tour we only ever really talked about him. I wanted to know more about his wife, what life was like for her while her husband was fighting. I wanted to know about how she planned the banquets and dinners they had. I wanted to know about how she managed the household. What were her thoughts about rebelling against England? Nada. We got nada on her. As a 16 year old budding feminist I found this very frustrating.
Of course if you’re going to talk about the major events in history as a series of battles and political maneuverings it makes sense to talk about the men, as until recently they were the only ones in that sphere. But there was so much more to everyday life, and it was in that world that women excelled. Managing the estates while the men were away at Parliament. Making sure the home ran smoothly. Knowing and understanding healing balms and herbs. Birthing babies. Taking care of children. Basically, everything you needed to make life run outside of the government and court. Which is a pretty big sphere of influence. It’s just not the dramatic bombastic world that we teach kids in school. It’s a quieter, more nuanced world of simply getting on with things.
I contend, of course, that it’s every bit as valuable as the world of Parliamentary bills, foreign policy, building a navy, making wars, etc. This was the world where life actually happened for most people. And it’s a world where women played a much bigger part.
So here’s a quick list of all the women-centric episodes I’ve done so far in the podcast. Enjoy!
Chat episode with James Boulton on Catherine of Aragon
Cosmetics and Make Up (aka: Getting Girly as a Tudor)
Tudor Times on Bess of Hardwick
Interview with Linda Porter
Anne of Cleves
Interview with Sarah Gristwood
Tudor Times on Anne of Denmark
James Boulton (Queens of England Podcast) on Bessie Blount
Tudor Times on Margaret Tudor
Tudor Times on Honor Grenville
Tudor Times on Catherine of Aragon
Alison Weir interview
Tudor Times on Margaret Beaufort
Witches and Witchcraft
Bess of Hardwick
Suzi Digby, OBE on Elizabethan choral music
Mary Queen of Scots
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Lady Jane Grey