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Top Women's History Articles 2011

What Were You Reading in 2011?

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What were the top articles on this site this year, based on what the readers of the site were reading? I've listed the top 12 of those articles below, with the most-read on the bottom.

12. Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell
© 1999-2000 www.arttoday.com
The first woman to graduate from medical school, Elizabeth Blackwell was also a pioneer in helping other women gain entry into the field of medicine. She's often studied in history classes for her role in opening up a new profession to women, so it's not as surprising as some might think that she makes this "top articles" list.

11. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with her friend and co-worker Susan B. Anthony, was one of the most public figures in the 19th century's long struggle towards women's rights. Like Anthony, she did not live long enough to see the fight won.

10. Marie Curie

Marie Curie
Courtesy US Dept of Energy
When people are asked to name a woman scientist, often Marie Curie is the only name they can come up with. She is considered the "mother of modern physics" for her work with radioactivity, a word that she herself coined. She won two Nobel prizes, and was the first person to win Nobel prizes in two different scientific disciplines.

9. Abortion History

Pro-choice and pro-life signs at 2005 march in Washington, DC.
Getty Images / Alex Wong
Abortion has been a major issue in the news, including in the political campaign. This outlines the history of abortion as controversy in the United States, and gives some background to the disagreements that continue today. At what point in U.S. history had all states banned abortion? What changed this? What are the arguments used pro and con?

8. Famous Women Scientists

Mary Somerville
Getty Images / Archive Photos
British and American polls reported that most people can't name even one famous woman scientist, and those embarrassed about their ignorance had this list to help them learn. More than 60 women in science are listed. How many can you name before checking the list?

7. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt

Egyptian depiction of Cleopatra, last Pharaoh of Egypt
Getty Images / Hulton Archive
This biography of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt and one of the few women pharaohs, highlights the key facts about this powerful and much-fictionalized woman of the 1st century BCE. If you're interested in Cleopatra, you might also be interested in these images of Cleopatra through the ages: Cleopatra Pictures

6. Women in Black History

Mary McLeod Bethune
Courtesy Library of Congress
Which African American women contributed to history? This page, an index to the black women with biographies and/or quotes listed on this site, was popular all year, not just for Black History Month. How many famous black women in America's history can you name before looking at the list of who is here?

5. Quotes by Women

Maya Angelou at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Getty Images / Neilson Barnard
Quite a few of you availed yourselves of this index to quotes by more than 200 women. Many quotation collections don't include a lot of women's quotes, so this is a handy resource if you're looking for a quote and want to be inclusive. Also of interest: a list of feminist quotes and a way to contribute your own favorite feminist quote.

4. August 26, 1920

Alice Paul unfurls 36-star victory banner, August 18, 1920
Courtesy Library of Congress
The end of the 70+ year fight for women's suffrage (usually called woman suffrage at the time) in the United States came on August 26, 1920, with one vote. Pretty close call! This is just one of many articles on women's suffrage on this site. For much more see: What You Need to Know About Women's Suffrage

3. Marilyn Monroe Quotes

Marilyn Monroe 1954
Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Baron
Marilyn Monroe's lasting impact is based in no small part on her quips and the more thoughtful words she had to say about life.

2. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel
Getty Images / Hulton Archive
I had no idea when I first wrote about Coco Chanel how popular her biography would be among the readers of this site! Self-inventing not only a career and business, but her life story, Coco Chanel remains a fascinating figure of fashion history and cultural history.

1. Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision

Save Roe v. Wade - 2005 Demonstration for Women's Rights and Against Appointment of Justice Roberts
Getty Images / Alex Wong
The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision remains a political hot button, with some candidates in 2011 using it as an example of an overreach of judicial power, and many states considering legislation that would chip away at the rights declared in that decision. So it's not surprising that this was the number 1 popular article on the site in 2011.

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