Although still not equal with men, Women have made great strides when it comes to equal rights.

The television series Mad Men depicts the 1950s society as utterly Misogynist, women were nothing short of chattel, powerless and completely dependent on me.

The First Humans: Neanderthals had zero regard for women, it is told not by examining fossils per say, but by the lack of regard for the female during the burial process. In ancient graves we find that a ritual of reverence was performed when members lay flowers and garlands on the body before covering it. The only relics discovered in this way were of males. no females were ever found in this way, in fact only limbs were found strewn about depicting mentality that women were of little status. But throughout history, women have excelled, have equalled, and some have bested men in many ways.


Women Warriors

Dona Catalina Erauso of San Sebastian left a nunnery in 1596 and travelled to Peru where she became a soldier of fortune. She used sword, knife, and pistol, and fought in battles and in duels. She died around 1650.

Madame de Saint-Baslemont de Neuville actively defended her manor in 1634 during the 30 Years War. A commemorative portrait of her was painted 1638-1640
(information supplied by Katrin)

Madame de Saint-Belmont disguised herself as a man and fought a duel against a cavalry officer after he ignored a letter she had sent complaining of his discourtesy.

Mary Frith (died in 1659 or 1663 ?) – also known as Moll Cutpurse – was a highwayman in England

Kathleen, Lady Ferrers, the ‘Wicked Lady of Markyate Cell’ was another highwayman.

During the English Civil War Queen Henrietta Maria was actively involved in King Charles’ campaigns and marched at the head of one of his armies.

Blanche, Lady Arundel (maiden name Somerset) held Wardour Castle against Parliamentary troops during a six day seige in the English Civil War in1643. During this seige maidservants carried bullets and powder up to the men at their defensive posts.

Lady Brilliana Harley (maiden name Conway) refused to hand over her home, Brampton Castle, to Royalist troops during the English Civil War and held it during a seven week seige in 1643.

Lady Mary Bankes defended Corfe Castle during a six week seige in the English Civil War in1643. Lady Mary and her daughters joined other women of the castle and soldiers in dropping stones and hot embers on the beseigers to prevent them scaling the castle walls.
(source “Women All on Fire” – Alison Plowden – Sutton Publishing – 0-7509-2552-3)

Two aristocratic French women, who were sisters, fought a duel near Bordeaux in 1650. The elder sister was killed. The chronicler who recorded the incident didn’t mention their names in order to spare the family further grief. (source: “The Duel” – Robert Baldick – Spring Books – 0 600 32837 6)

Mrs Purefoy of Caldecot Manor and her household held off Prince Rupert and his troops for several hours with only twelve muskets during the English Civil War. Women reloaded the guns during the fighting.

Mistress Elizabeth Leigh of Rushall Hall also defended her home against Prince Rupert in 1643 during the English Civil War “with the help of her men and maids”.
(source “Women All on Fire” – Alison Plowden – Sutton Publishing – 0-7509-2552-3)

In August 1643 a mob of women occupied the Palace Yard to protest at Parliament rejecting a peace treaty during the English Civil War. They threw stones and troopers retaliated against them with swords and pistols.

In April 1664 the women of Lyme carried powder and bullets as well as other provisions into the thick of the fighting when the town was beseiged by Royalists during the English Civil War.
(source “Women All on Fire” – Alison Plowden – Sutton Publishing – 0-7509-2552-3)

King Charles issued a proclamation banning women who were with the armies during the English Civil War from wearing men’s clothing.
(source “Women All on Fire” – Alison Plowden – Sutton Publishing – 0-7509-2552-3)

The Scots Army which marched on Newcastle in 1644 during the English Civil War is reported to have included “women who stood with blue caps among the men” as regular soldiers.

In 1644 Lady Charlotte Derby (maiden name de la Tremoille) held Lathom House against Parliamentarian forces during a twelve week seige.

In 1645 a Royalist corporal captured near Nottingham during the English Civil War was found to be a woman.

Alyona, a former nun, led a troop of Russian rebels 1670

Lady Ann Cummingham led a cavalry troop of men and women in the Battle of Berwick on June 5, 1639

Anne Marie Louise d’Orleans (1627-1693) was the daughter duc Gaston d’Orleans and his first wife Marie de Bourbon. Is known in a history as mademoiselle de Montpensier or Great Mademoiselle. She was the grand daughter of the king Henri IV the Great, niece of the king Louis XIII and first cousine of the king Louis XIY. She participated on the party dissatisfied in times the Fronde and even has ordered to shoot from guns on Paris (for this participation she has deserved her nickname). One time the plans of her marriage with the king were under construction. Eventually she has entered in the morganatic marriage 1670 with Antoine-Nompar de Caumont (1632-1723), later duc de Lauzun. “

Christian ‘Kit’ Cavanagh (or Davies), better known as “Mother Ross” was one of several women who served as dragoons in the British Army. She fought during the 1690’s at first disguised as a man and later openly as a woman.

Anne Chamberlyne dressed in men’s clothing and fought in a six hour battle against the French on board her brother’s ship in June 1690. She died in childbirth in1691.

A ballad written in 1690 by seaman John Curtin describes a woman who was discovered disguised as a man in the crew of the 72 gun vessel “Edgar”.

A gentlewoman petitioned the Queen for payment for serving on the ship St Andrew dressed in men’s clothing and taking part in a battle against the French in the summer of 1691.

Mlle La Maupin, an actress who died in 1707, issued more than one challenge to duel, and was pardonned by King Louis XIV after killing several men in one evening at a ball.


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