Article in the Women's History Magazine, Issue 72, Summer 2013:
Getting to Know Each Other
Name: Ruth Elizabeth Richardson
Position: Independent Scholar / Researcher / Author
How long have you been a WHN member?
About 3 years though I have been following WHN for far longer.
What inspired your enthusiasm for women's history?
As an archaeologist and historian I hope to make the past interesting. Men were easier to record due to land ownership, social positions, taxation and war. Most women had other focuses but their history permeates everything. Look at a prehistoric saddle quern – once a flat stone but (and this was usually women's work) worn down by hours and hours of grinding corn. Educate a woman and you educate the family ... but women need rôle models to show them they can make a difference even in a male dominated world.
What are your special interests?
People can be fascinating. One of my books is 'Mistress Blanche Queen Elizabeth I's Confidante' about Lady Troy who brought up the Tudor children and Blanche Parry who was close to Elizabeth for 56 years. My website: blancheparry.co.uk also includes my research on Field Names, the Iron Age and Romans, Medieval plays and local history.
Who is your heroine from history and why?
My heroines are those women who, despite the odds against them, worked positively to improve the lives of their children and of those around them. From the seventy-seven year old Eleanor of Aquitaine who, in 1200, crossed the Pyrenees in winter to fetch her Castilian grand–daughter to marry the French king's heir, to Elizabeth Hopkins, my grandmother, left to care for four small children when her husband joined the army in the 1914 First World War. Such women were indomitable and did what had to be done at the time. Some, like Eleanor, Queen of France then of England, we can research but most women can only be known by examining the context of their lives, the forces ranged against them, and the results of their efforts through the lives of their children and those they helped. Women like Elizabeth Fry, Marie Curie, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Rosalind Franklin made a difference that helped others. Their pebbles of achievement produced ripples of hope that radiate further then they knew.
©Ruth E. Richardson 2013