In a city that serves as a progressive paragon, it's easy to forget that American women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. And that's just one facet of the tumultuous history and continuing struggle for women's rights -- here and abroad.
The International Museum of Women (IMOW) -- an innovative online museum based in San Francisco -- has been championing female-focused issues since 2006, but its history of fierce feminism has roots stretching back to 1985.
First founded as the Women's Heritage Museum, this nascent organization operated as a museum "without walls" for 10 years, producing exhibits, sponsoring an annual book fair, providing fodder for teachers during Women's History Month, and of course, celebrating the lengthy lineage of women throughout the past, long overlooked for their accomplishments.
In 1997, a Bay Area woman named Elizabeth Colton was hoping to take her daughter to a museum dedicated to women's contributions to society...but she couldn't find anything. She called up Gloria Steinem, a noted feminist activist, who she didn't know, and asked her if such a place existed.
|Elizabeth Colton, original founder of IMOW|
"Gloria told her 'no, but I think you should [start] one!'" says Catherine King, Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs at IMOW. "Elizabeth took that has a call to arms." Elizabeth soon corralled a group of Bay Area teachers equally disappointed by the current feminist offerings and established the International Museum of Museum.
"She thought, 'lets expand the mission, let's get global.'"More »