Europe’s first female engineer.

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Galway girl Alice Perry was the first woman in Europe to graduate with a degree in Engineering.

Born on this day in 1885 she graduated from Galway Queens College in 1906.  She replaced her father in his role as Galway County Surveyor, and remains the ONLY woman to work as a County Surveyor in Ireland.

Alice moved to Scotland where she met and married John (Bob) Shaw in 1916, coverting from Presbyterianism to Christian Science.

As a factory inspector in this time Perry enforced laws that protected the many women working in armaments and war industries who were handling some very dangerous substances and chemicals.

Bob Shaw died in WW1 on the Western Front only a year later.  Alice became interested in poetry in the early 1920’s.  She left her job in Glasgow and moved to Boston, the HQ of the Christian Science Foundation where she wrote and edited poetry.

Sadly there seems to be none of her poetry easily available online.  Some volumes of her poetry were donated to NUIG library.  Perhaps some poetry nut will transcribe a few of them onto the internet thingy and give me a link.

Galway University is suitably proud of their first in engineering and named their Engineering Centre the Alice Perry Building in 2017.  Now we need to see to the task of appointing the second woman in Ireland to the post of County Engineer.

The F word

Wo-Manifesto; by Donal Clancy

I am not a woman, I am a feminist.
I am not gay, I am a feminist.
I am not transgender, I am a feminist.
I am not a paedophile, I am a feminist.
I am not sexually ambiguous, I am a feminist.

I am not a Nazi or a Fascist, I am a feminist.
I am not a bleeding heart liberal pinko commie snowflake, I am a feminist.
I am not a member of a deprived underclass, I am a feminist.
I am not a victim of racism, I am a feminist.
I am not a rapist, I am a feminist.

I do not believe all men are born equal, I am a feminist.
I do not believe all women are born equal, I am a feminist.
I do not believe men and women are equal, they are different, I am still a feminist.
I do believe opportunity should be equal, I am a feminist.

I am an educated middle aged straight white male. I am the enemy.

Ursula le Guin : Galactic Queen

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Ursula le Guin was a great writer.  Not just a great sci-fi writer.  As she said herself, the focus of literature on realism as the epitome of literary excellence throws out many excellent babies with the bathwater.  Le Guin ascended to the heights of recognition in Sci-Fi circles at a time when the genre was entirely dominated by men.  She was a true pioneer of feminism both by achieving greatness for herself, and by representing heros in her work who were outside the white male paradigm.

We shall not see her like again.  RIP.

Maenads: by Ursula le Guin

Somewhere I read
that when they finally staggered off the mountain
into some strange town, past drunk,
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed,
blood dried under broken nails
and across young thighs,
but still jeering and joking, still trying
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling
dead asleep by the market stalls,
sprawled helpless, flat out, then
middle-aged women,
respectable housewives,
would come and stand nightlong in the agora
silent
together
as ewes and cows in the night fields,
guarding, watching them
as their mothers
watched over them.
And no man
dared
that fierce decorum.