March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Today we share with you four articles from our archives featuring the lives of women from the U.S., Asia and the Pacific.
“Issei Women and Work: Washerwoman, Prostitutes, Midwives and Barbers” by Kelli Y. Nakamura, Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol. 49, 2015.
“[A]s women were paid less than men, many had to take on additional ‘women’s jobs’ like laundering, cooking, and sewing to ensure their families’ economic survival. . . . For Issei women, Hawai‘i offered unprecedented personal and economic opportunities, transforming traditional ideas of ‘proper’ gender roles in both America and Japan. By the necessity of engaging in different types of work, Issei women broke down the traditional divide that separated the domestic and public spheres.”
“It’s Women’s Work” by Jenny Zorn, Yearbook of the Association for Pacific Coast Geographers, Vol. 69, 2007.
“Many of the women sitting out here today are the only woman in their department. That’s not easy. I was the first and only woman hired in my department in its 40-year history. Only last year was the second woman hired in that department.
“I found mentors in a variety of places: geographers at other campuses, people in other disciplines, and the principal at my kids’ elementary school. Wherever I saw a leader I could learn from, I watched, I read their biographies; I sought mentoring wherever I could find it.
“So I appreciate the differences I see. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had that many before me did not.”
“Traveling Stories, Colonial Intimacies, and Women’s Histories in Vanautu,” by Margaret Rodman, The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 16, No. 2, Fall 2004.
“The story of the 1937 death of an eighteen-month-old girl named Wilhemina (Mina) Whitford in the care of her ni-Vanuatu nursemaid, Evelyn, frames this article. The Whitford’s version of this story was heard in the course of fieldwork with descendants of settler families. They tie Mina’s accidental death to an affair Evelyn was having with a male settler. What about Evelyn? How could she be located and her version of events recorded? More generally, how can the unwritten histories of women’s experiences be recovered in a Pacific island context? How can indigenous women write their own histories of gender in the contexts of colonial experience?”
“Gender Politics in the Korean Transition to Democracy” by Jeong-Lim Nam in Korean Studies, Vol. 24, 2000.
“Women’s activism in South Korea was shaped by their role in the opposition to military dictatorship. For example, their struggles against sexual torture and state violence mobilized opposition groups around the issues of human rights, social justice, and democratic politics. . . . Their contributions to the grassroots struggles were crucial in determining the outcome of their activism, illustrating the importance of women’s roles in the Korean transition to democracy. Although these groups had different interests and goals, their mobilization and protests converged on the strategy of the opposition to the inhumane ruling of the military government.”
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