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Test Your Women's History IQ

In honor of national Women's History Month (March) and International Women's Day (March 8), the Berkeleyan invites you to test your knowledge of historical contributions by women around the globe.

Posted March 1, 2000


1. A Chinese poet and revolutionary, she encouraged women to resist oppression and helped unite secret revolutionary societies working to overthrow China's Manchu government. After the discovery of a planned uprising, she was arrested and beheaded.

2. This mother led a 125-mile march of child workers from the mills of Pennsylvania to President Theodore Roosevelt's vacation home on Long Island.

3. A Mexican nun and scholar who wrote poetry and drama, her eloquent and often startlingly passionate verse, some of them clearly addressed to women, established her as the outstanding 17th-century poet of colonial Latin America.

4.Three American women inventors of the early industrial era devised (a) the first machine to make the square-bottomed paper bags still used in grocery stores today; (b) the clothes wringer for washing machines; and (c) a sound-dampening apparatus used by New York's Metropolitan Railroad system.

5. The last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Islands, she was deposed when American business and military interests wanted to annex Hawaii.

6. This turn-of-the-century muckraker dug up dirt on one of the biggest U.S. companies. Her report on her findings is now considered among the 20th century's top works of journalism.

7. On the Greek island of Lesbos, she led a group of women dedicated to the perfection of young womanhood and wrote verses expressing her intense emotional involvement with them. She is widely considered the finest lyric poet of Western civilization.

8. One of the greatest female athletes of all time, this black sprinter -- who suffered polio, double pneumonia and scarlet fever as a child -- took three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

9. Following World War I, this Egyptian woman organized the largest women's demonstration against colonial rule of her country. In 1923, she stepped off a train and removed her veil; others joined her in the first public defiance of the tradition.

10. One of the most outspoken white critics of South Africa's former apartheid government, she was killed by a letter bomb while teaching in Mozambique. The 1988 movie "A World Apart," starring Barbara Hershey, was based on her life.

11. She is regarded by many as the greatest ballerina born in America. Her father was chief of the Osage tribe.

12. A daughter of slaves in the American South, this crusading journalist and women's suffrage activist led the national campaign against lynching.

13. One of the most famous physicians of her day, this medieval Italian doctor and medical writer claimed that both men and women could have physiological defects that affect conception -- a daring notion at the time. She also described, against the teachings of the church, the use of opitates to dull the pain of childbirth. Some scholars dispute her existence.


1. Qiu Jin (1875-1907). After her death, she was immediately hailed as a heroine and martyr, and she became a symbol of women's independence.

2. Mary Harris Jones (1830-1930), the feisty Irish-born labor organizer known as "Mother Jones." Her goal for the 1903 march was to bring the evils of child labor to the attention of the president and the national press. She later helped found Industrial Workers of the World.

3. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). In 1691, in response to a reprimand from a superior, she wrote a letter -- now considered a defining work in feminist literature -- defending her secular interests and pleading for equal educational opportunities for women.

4. (a) Mary Knight (1838-1914) of Boston is credited with about 90 inventions and 22 patents, including a paper bag to replace the narrow paper envelope that preceded it. (b) Ellen Eglui sold her patent rights for the clothes wringer for $18 in 1888. "If it was known that a Negro woman patented the invention," she explained, "white ladies would not buy the wringer." (c) In 1891, inventor Mary Walton, a resident of Manhattan, patented an apparatus to dampen the intolerable rattling produced by the new elevated trains being installed in large U.S. cities.

5. Queen Lili'uokalani (1838-1917). A revolution, encouraged and assisted by American interests and backed by a U.S. Navy gunboat, ended her reign in 1893. Her legacy includes more than 200 songs that she composed, including "Aloha Oe," the Hawaiian "national anthem."

6. Ida Tarbell (1857-1906) wrote "History of the Standard Oil Company." Although she personified success in what was considered a "man's" profession, she asserted that women's suffrage was not only unnecessary but wrong.

7. Sappho (c. 610-c. 580 B.C.). Her work was collected into nine books around the third century B.C. The church, deeming it obscene, had it burned. In 1900, fragments of her works were rediscovered. Plato called her the "tenth muse."

8. Wilma Rudolph (b. 1940). At the 1960 Olympics, she won 100-meter and 200-meter races, and then anchored the U.S. 400-meter relay team to victory.

9. Huda Shaarawi (1879-1947). The lectures for women that she organized brought Egyptian women out of their homes and into public places for the first time. She helped start the Egyptian Feminist Union, which she headed for 24 years, and later founded the All-Arab Federation of Women.

10. Ruth First (1925-1982). She detailed her experiences of South African jails in a book titled "117 Days." Her daughter, writer Gillian Slovo, described the personal impact of her parents' activism in "Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country."

11. Maria Tallchief (b. 1925) gained international stardom as prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet in a career that spanned 23 years. In 1980, she and her sister founded the Chicago City Ballet.

12. Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) exposed lynching to the world through her writing and organizing. The mother of four children, she founded a women's suffrage club in Chicago and was an ally of W.E.B. DuBois.

13. Trotula (11th century). She chaired the medical school at the School of Salerno, in southern Italy. Her most notable work, "The Diseases of Women," gives information about menses, conception, pregnancy, childbirth as well as general diseases and their treatments.


March 1

Kick-off Rally
noon-1 p.m.
Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza

The women's a cappella group, the Overtones, will perform, as the Gender and Equity Resource Center offers information, a women's history quiz and prizes to please those with a sweet tooth.

March 2

Film Screening: The Torch is Passed
1:30 p.m.Gender and Equity Resource Center, 250 Cesar Chavez and
6 p.m. 160 Kroeber Hall

The first documentary on the origins of the student movement of the 1960's, "The Torch is Passed" provides insight into the McCarthy era and political activism on college campuses. Among its revelations is the degree to which women activists were subordinate to men. The 30-minute film screening is free.

March 3 and 4

Boundaries in Question 2000: Women Imprisoned
9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Barrows Hall, Lipman Room, 8th floor

The ninth annual "Boundaries in Question" symposium is devoted to the topic of women and prisons, with presentations by scholars from Berkeley and beyond.

Boundaries in Question is a yearly forum, organized by women graduate students, for research on feminist theory and practice. It is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible; no registration is required.

For an updated conference schedule, see ( For other information, e-mail or call 643-3040.

March 8

Women at the Millennium:
A Mail Art Exhibition
noon-4 p.m., 3335 Dwinelle

This 'femail' art show, sponsored by the Women's Studies Department, features pieces submitted through the mail by professional and non-professional women artists from more than 13 countries.

After its March 8 opening at Dwinelle Hall, the exhibit will travel to other campus venues throughout the month. See the exhibit Web site at socrates. for information and an online sampling of works.

March 9

Overcoming Obstacles:
Women Building the Future with an Eye on the Past
Gender and Equity Resource Center, 250 Cesar Chavez

The roster of faculty and staff speakers will include Robin Lakoff, professor of linguistics; Jasmina Vujic, professor of nuclear engineering; and Karen Kenney, director of Student Activities and Services. Questions and answers will follow.

March 9

Condoms, Prenatal Care and Beyond: Innovative Strategies in Improving Women's Health
4-6 p.m., 22 Warren

In honor of international women's health day, this panel discussion will include speakers from the Pacific Institute for Women's Health, St. James Sex Worker Clinic, Feminist Media and other local and international women's health efforts.

Sponsored by the International Student Health Organization and the School of Public Health, the free panel discussion will be followed by refreshments.

March 14

Axis Dance Company
Lecture Demonstration
12:30-2 p.m.
Tilden Room, MLK Jr. Student Union

Members of Axis Dance Company, which combines disabled and able-bodied dancers, will present a lecture demonstration.

The event is free, accessible and open to all members of the campus community. Beverages will be provided; feel free to bring a lunch. For information, call the Graduate Women's Project at 642-2876.

March 15

Glamour Girl Shorts
noon-1:30 p.m.
Gender and Equity Resource Center, 250 Cesar Chavez

A program of short films on the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women, in honor of Berkeley's Queer Awareness Week.

March 19

Women in Science and Mathematics
11 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-4 p.m.
Lawrence Hall of Science

Guest panels and hands-on demonstrations to inspire and inform middle school through college students and their families. Women scientists from LBL and the Berkeley faculty and student body will be panelists for a "My Scientific Life and How It Got That Way," a discussion followed by questions and answers. For admission fees and other information, call 642-5132 or see (

March 21

Open Mic Event
6:30-8 p.m.
Gender and Equity Resource Center, 250 Cesar Chavez

Members of the campus community are invited to share poetry, prose and personal stories from a female perspective or dealing with gender issues.

March 22

Mixer for Campus Women
5-7 p.m.
Gender and Equity Resource Center, 250 Cesar Chavez

Campus women -- faculty, staff and students -- are invited to this celebratory program, cosponsored by the Graduate Women's Project and the Gender and Equity Resource Center. Tea and cake will be provided.


March 1-7, 2000 (Volume 28, Number 23)
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the
Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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