A cartoon from Fleming’s new book


In our history classes in schools, just how many women do we learn about? I do remember learning about Florence Nightingale when I was at school, but when I was a history teacher myself I remember thinking how few women were in the curriculum, which seemed ironic because all of the history teachers in my school were in fact women, and yet we still weren’t teaching about women in history! It’s not that there aren’t fabulous women in history, it’s just that because of their circumstances it can be harder to find out about them. Thomas Carlyle (19th century Scottish writer and philosopher) once wrote “The history of the world is but the biography of great men” and seeing as women were generally disapproved of in writing (and well, generally many things in life) the history of women is written less. But it is there!

Jacky Fleming is one women who is endeavouring to make women evident in the history books. She has been a cartoonist and illustrator for over 30 years and her work often has a feminist leaning. Her new book, The Trouble with Women (published by Square Peg), is a book of cartoons which shows how hard men tried to keep women out of the history books. It also showcases some great women who are otherwise left out of most history books, including the first female doctor, an activist against racism, and an architect. Fleming believes it is important to put women into history books and that it enables young girls to be empowered. The result is an immensely funny and thought-provoking book and definitely worth a look.

Tackling the issue of the lack of women in history is not always an easy subject, but through using humour Fleming can possibly reach more people than otherwise and doing anything with a smile is always a good way to do something!
-Kate Havard
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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