Archive for March, 2013

Foodie Friday: Joyce Chen

March 29th, 2013

By: Sydnee Winston, Project Coordinator

Egg Rolls, egg drop soup, lo  mein…sometimes your taste  buds get an inescapable  hankering for some of these  classic delicious Chinese  foods— and with the bevy of  Chinese restaurants that are  present in local  communities and nationally  (Panda Express, PF Chang’s, etc.) there are lots of options. But back in 1958, those options were nearly nonexistent. Chinese restaurants may be a common sight across America today, but such eateries were hard to come by 60 years ago.

Enter Joyce Chen.

Joyce, an immigrant who had left Communist China in 1949, opened her very popular restaurant in 1958 near Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a tiny takeout dive that was so popular that she ended up opening two other restaurants that were “sit down” style and fancier. Joyce loved to cook and her egg rolls were a hit at school bake sales.  She often taught cooking classes in her home. She was encouraged to start the restaurant by Asian students from Shanghai who were at MIT who were so homesick for the kind of food she prepared that they lent her the start-up money.

In 1968 Joyce starred in her own TV cook show, which aired on PBS, called Joyce Chen Cooks. It was filmed on the same set as Julia Child’s The French Chef (see last week’s Foodie Friday post for more info about Julia Child)!

Joyce is credited for introducing Americans to mandarin style food and is one of many entrepreneurial women featured in our newest exhibit “From Ideas to Independence:  A Century of Entrepreneurial Women.” Click here to learn more:

Don’t forget to stay tuned for next week’s Foodie Friday post.

Tweet #FoodieFriday

Women’s History Month: Looking into the Future

March 28th, 2013

Joan Wages, NWHM President and CEO, spoke at the Hilton Worldwide event “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

Here are some photos from the event:

#ThrowbackThursday: Marian Anderson performing at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939

March 28th, 2013

By: Elissa Blattman, NWHM Intern

Since Easter is coming up, our Throwback Thursday clip for this week takes us back to Easter Sunday, 1939.  Watch the video below to see Marian Anderson performing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on April 9, 1939.

Marian Anderson was a world renowned vocalist and one of the most accomplished singers in the United States during the 1930s.  She was the first black entertainer to perform at the White House, which she did twice at the behest of the Roosevelts in 1936 and 1939.  Despite her success, she was still subjected to the racial discrimination faced by all black Americans during the first half of the 20th century.  En route to gigs across the country, Anderson was often forced to take “colored” transportation and stay in “colored” accommodation, or arrange to stay at friends’ homes in the cities in which she was scheduled to perform.  Her shows were also often performed to segregated audiences.

In 1939, Anderson had hoped to perform an Easter Sunday concert at the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.)’s Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, a major concert venue in the city.  She was told, however, that Constitution Hall had a strict “whites only” policy and she would not be permitted to perform there.  The D.A.R.’s refusal to host the concert at Constitution Hall garnered a good deal of publicity, especially after Eleanor Roosevelt, a D.A.R. member herself, publicly criticized and left the organization due to its reinforced segregation policy.  Having previously performed at the White House, Anderson also had other supporters within the Roosevelt administration, including Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, who, taking the NAACP’s suggestion, arranged for Marian Anderson to perform in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

On April 9, 1939, 75,000 people, including many high ranking government officials, gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to watch Anderson’s concert on the National Mall.  At the time, it was one of the largest crowds to assemble there.  Radio coverage of the performance allowed millions more to listen to it from their homes.  The event marked a change in the way many Americans viewed racial issues, and by 1943, Constitution Hall opened its doors to Marian Anderson by inviting her to perform there before a desegregated audience for a WWII benefit concert.

Join in on the conversation!  Post comments below, on Facebook, or tweet us @womenshistory using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday.

Sources: PBS, Scholastic

The Daily Beast Mentions NWHM’s Newest online exhibit on Entrepreneurial Women

March 26th, 2013

(Click above to read the article)!

“What really happens when women ‘lean in’”

March 26th, 2013

Drawing on the recent Sheryl Sandberg book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, a recent Washington Post article asks, “What really happens when women ‘lean in’”?  The article tackles the question of whether Sandberg’s argument that more women at the top will make things easier for women at all rungs of the career ladder is true.  Some have criticized Sandberg’s book, saying that having women at the top will only help other already privileged women reach the top, in turn leaving behind the lower ranking women who work for them.  The article, however, argues the opposite is true.

Recent research has found lower ranking women benefit from female bosses because they help minimize the wage gap between female and male employees, for example.  However, while women at the top should, in theory, make it easier for other women to reach higher positions, female bosses are not typically beneficial to senior ranking women.  This could help account for the low number of women in management and higher ranking jobs.  Research suggests women at the top may discourage other women from following in their footsteps for various reasons.  It also suggests that some women who occupy elite positions are perhaps token women promoted to prevent any potential gender bias claims against the companies they work for.

Foodie Fridays: Julie Child

March 22nd, 2013

By: Sydnee Winston, Project Coordinator

The social media team at the National Women’s History Museum is always hungry—hungry for new and eye-opening, little-known facts about the women of this country whose ingenuity, resourcefulness and intelligence helped to build our nation.

We’re also hungry for yummy food and can frequently be seen munching on everything from mac n’ cheese to chocolaty brownies! So we came up with the brilliant idea to merge our love of all things women’s history and all things food into “Foodie Fridays”—your weekly serving of all things food history and women’s history. Hop aboard NWHM’s time machine as we uncover everything from strange mid-19th century fad diets to the most famous female chefs of the 20th century.

For our inaugural Foodie Friday post we’ve decided to highlight a classic and beloved American chef: Read the rest of this entry »

New Online Exhibit: “From Ideas to Independence: A Century of Entrepreneurial Women”

March 21st, 2013

#ThrowbackThursday: “Windows by Rhoda”

March 21st, 2013

By: Elissa Blattman, NWHM Intern

We are starting a couple of new themed days on our NWHM blog!  Today’s theme: Throwback Thursday.  Each Thursday, we will be posting a multimedia clip from the past that was relevant to and reflective of women’s lives in the time period it was made.  Check back every Thursday for exciting videos, audio clips, photos, and more!

For the past two weeks, the news that TV legend, Valerie Harper, has incurable (“so far”) brain cancer has been all over the media.  I am a huge fan of Harper’s and Rhoda Morgenstern, the character she played for nine years on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, is my favorite television character of all time.  While Harper has been making the rounds encouraging people to live for the now, I would like to celebrate one of my favorite moments from her past.  So, to kick off Throwback Thursday, here is a scene from a 1975 episode of Rhoda, “Windows by Rhoda.”

I love it when pop culture and social history come together, and I think this clip is definitely indicative of a meshing between the two, as it highlights many of the issues women were protesting during the Women’s Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.  Rhoda had been a department store window dresser for at least five years by this time, since The Mary Tyler Moore Show started in 1970, but in this episode, she decides to start her own window dressing business, Windows by Rhoda.  In this clip, Rhoda and her husband, Joe, are in the process of setting up Rhoda’s new office.  The building manager comes in and asks Joe to sign Rhoda’s lease because “they prefer that the man of the house sign it.”  Rhoda stands up for herself, telling the building manager it is her office and that she paid for it with her own money, and then signs the lease anyway.  She then goes on to tell Joe she faces discrimination like that “all the time” as a working woman, gives him one such example right before someone else comes into the office and proves her example right, and explains to him why she needs a separate identity other than that of his wife.

One of the main goals of the Women’s Movement was to get women out of the home and into the workforce (this applied mostly to white women, as women of color often did not have the luxury to choose between staying at home and working).  Women were coming together to push for equal job opportunities, equal pay, and equal treatment at work.  They were also asserting their right to go into business for themselves.  In order to do this, women often needed the ability to obtain their own bank accounts, loans, credit, and leases without discrimination or necessary approval from their husbands or other male relatives.  Within the short span of this clip, Rhoda touches on all these issues and more.

Check out this video of Bella Abzug talking about how she helped pass the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants, including on the basis of sex.

Join in on the conversation!  Post comments below or Tweet us @womenshistory using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday.

New study finds an increasing number of working mothers prefer to work full-time

March 19th, 2013

This article in the Washington Post points to a new study by the Pew Research Center that found 37 percent of working mothers said they would rather work full time, a 16 percent increase from 2007.  The article mentions the newly released Sheryl Sandberg book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, in which she discusses the lack of recent progress for women in the workforce and offers suggestions for women to gain power, especially in top executive positions.  The article also cites the recession, however, and not women’s career goals, as perhaps the key factor behind the study’s findings.

Do you agree with the article?  Do you think working full-time has more to do with economic necessity or professional aspirations, or is it an equal balance of both?

Alfred Hitchcock and Feminism?

March 15th, 2013