History And The City: Where are all the men?

‘History And The City’ is our brand new weekly feature, where Jenna and I will blog about all the historical things we get up to in our big city; London.

We realised that even though we write so much about historical people, periods and places, we rarely give our own opinions on the topical stuff; what’s happening in the cultural world today, and more specifically how it affects and influences us as two twenty-something women.

Writing this on International Women’s Day, I am inspired by something thing we all love; ladies.

There is no denying this site has an obvious female skew, but in all honesty this was never the intention at conception. If anything, up until recently, this perception irritated me.

Even though I consider myself a feminist, I never wanted to create a ‘girls-only’ site. I thought it implied that a special kind of history needed to be written to reach the female audience, because we obviously can’t handle the ‘difficult’ history written by men, with all its long words

However, last week at the CALive conference, while I was speaking with Brendon and Lisa, Directors of DigVentures, they were adamant that the female skew should be embraced wholeheartedly. Ironically, it turns out that the one thing I wanted to shy away from, is probably one of the greatest things about this site.

Sitting in a conference hall where only four of the twenty speakers were female, this continued to play on my mind. I’m not begrudging CALive for this, we can call it a generational thing; the key point is the gender gap is closing, but to do this, women have to make an assertive effort to be active players within the industry.

Living in London, it’s hard to imagine women not having an equal place in society. But of course, this was not always the case. One of the brilliant things about blogging and community sites is that it gives everybody the opportunity to be heard. And as a woman, I am proud of other women who fight for their opportunities, and am thrilled that the number of female students taking historical studies is increasing (54% female to 46% men in 2011). However, many of my friends still express how much they would love to write but are nervous about presenting themselves, especially within heritage, because you are naturally up against some rather large industry ‘brains’.

This means there is still work to be done to open up heritage to not only females, but the wider community. Speaking about life after Time Team, CALive Keynote speaker, Francis Pryor, summed up my thoughts perfectly when he said “I don’t want archaeology to retreat into its ivory tower”. Time Team did a lot for public interest in archaeology, and it should remain this way; flourishing as an accessible industry, with the help of companies such as DigVentures.

And so, for all the men who contribute to this site – god bless you – and I encourage you to continue to do so. No doubt being surrounded by almost a hundred female contributors, you have picked up on the female vibes present here. But, you have embraced it. Blue isn’t just for boys, in the same way that pink isn’t just for girls; and, with history, it is the same. The fact that it just wasn’t an issue for you I find really inspiring. Historical Honey is never going to be a female-only site, but what it will do is continue to encourage and support women in heritage. Nature has made it so men and women complement each other perfectly and we should work in complete unison, so lets keep it that way.

So my last question is this, men won’t you join us? 

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