Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the social, political, artistic and economic achievements of women around the world. Bridgeman Footage pays tribute to the women in our archive. 

 

Suffragettes, USA / Bridgeman Art Library
Suffragettes, USA / Bridgeman Art Library

 

Heroines of Women's Suffrage

This month saw the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Suffrage parade in Washington D.C. As the official program stated, it was a "march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded". Women were able to vote on a national level in the United Kingdom in 1918, with the United States following suit in 1920.

Mary Cassatt

An active member of the cause of women’s suffrage was the American artist,  Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926), an Impressionist painter celebrated amongst such male contemporaries as Edgar Degas and Gustav Caillebotte. Although described by Gustave Geffroy as one of the “trois grandes dames” of Impressionism, Cassatt worked against much of the general criticism received by female artists at the time. In 1915, despite her waning health and near blindness, she had eighteen works shown in an exhibition supporting the suffrage movement. Click on the image to view an in-depth profile of the artist and her key works.

Mary Cassatt / Academic Rights Press/Arthaus / The Bridgeman Art Library

 

Other Heroines of the Art World

Other female artists featured in our archive include the pioneering Norwegian realist painter, Harriet Backer (1845-1932), who gained respect and admiration from her intellectual peers throughout her career. Barbara Hepworth, (1903-1975), the influential and much adored sculptor, spearheaded Britain’s Modernist movement alongside Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens and Ben Nicholson. Click on the image to view a short documentary on Hepworth, which includes scenes of her at work.

 

Figures In A Landscape; Barbara Hepworth / Bridgeman Art Library
Figures In A Landscape; Barbara Hepworth / Bridgeman Art Library

 

 

Women take on the tasks of men in an aircraft factory, Second World War / The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Women take on the tasks of men in an aircraft factory, Second World War / The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

 

Heroines of the World Wars

Women made great advances in narrowing the gender gap during the wars.  Demonstrating capabilities to rival any man's, they worked tirelessly on the land, in the factories  and in the cities, keeping industry ticking over while their sons and husbands fought on the frontlines, during both World War One and World War Two. Here’s a lovely clip of a group of cheery postwomen at work in 1943.

The Many Roles of Women

In a few months we'll celebrate Mother's Day. Take note from the helpful little boy in this clip, from 1940s Indonesia, as he gives his hardworking mother a hand earning their living. Browse our International Women's Day lightbox to see more stirring clips of women as contemporary artists, dancers, bakers, hockey players ...and jockeys!

 

Mother and son bring home-grown fruits to the city to sell them / The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Mother and son bring home-grown fruits to the city to sell them / The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

 


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