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.
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.
10. Marie Curie
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.
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?
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?
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
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.