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Gwen Tuinman

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Women’s Farming Activist: Georgina Binnie-Clark (1871-1947)

In the early 1900s, Georgina Binnie-Clark lobbied for women farmers’ equal right to claim government land grants and she educated new generations of women agriculturalists. Her story is particularly interesting in light of the present-day women’s farming movement and also because she campaigned for justice during an era that disapproved of outspoken women.

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Adulting: Then and Now

On her marriage certificate dated 1907, officials categorized my great-grandmother Essie as a spinster. She was only 22 years old. I thought of it when I read this quote:

“Since young people must meet ever-higher criteria (including more schooling) in order to become successful adults in the information age, the ladders they must climb to reach adulthood are lengthening. (…) In post-industrial societies like the United States, the age has shifted from twenty-two to twenty-six.” Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women, Edited by Paula Goldman 
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A Call for Temperance: Canada 1800s-1900s

In the early 1900s era during which my novel in-progress is set, patriarchal power frustrated women’s need for social change, specifically prohibition and ending domestic violence. We’d yet to attain the right to vote and in Canada, women were disallowed from holding public office because we didn’t qualify as “persons” under the definition set forth in the Constitution. Research deepens my understanding of the characters whose stories I tell. I’m feeling their aggravation.

When women unite, mountains move. How true this was when women spearheaded the temperance movement, an international campaign during the 1800-1900s to end social issues stemming from widespread alcohol abuse. Too often, Canadian women and children were impacted by a host of ills associated with alcoholism: domestic violence, poverty, disease, family breakdown, immorality, unemployment and workplace accidents.  

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