Women’s History Month: Overlooked Women in History

Anya Gruener, Multimedia Editor

In honor of Women’s History Month, multimedia editor Anya Gruener discusses overlooked women in history and their contributions.


Throughout history, women have been leaders, pioneers, and contributors, but their sex has often led to them being overlooked. Statistics show that women only represent about 0.5% of recorded history. With women being 50% of the population, it is clear that their work and contributions have often been overlooked. With women’s month taking place throughout March, it is important to fill the gaps of history, especially those of the women who have been too easily forgotten.

The first woman is Margaret Keane, a painter who was never given credit for her work. She is best known for her paintings of big-eyed figures. Her husband, Walter Keane, took credit for her work for many years until she later divorced him. After the divorce, Margaret fought to take back her work and later won a court case against her husband for defamation. During this trial, Walter and Maragret were both asked to paint one of their works. Walter refused to do so, but Margaret was able to produce her figure in under an hour. Margaret won this case and has received full recognition for her work ever since. In 2014 the Tim Burton movie Big Eyes was released where Margaret Keane’s story was covered as well as her courage and determination. Margaret has continued to paint and her paintings are widely known and loved.

Margaret Keane was not the only woman who was overlooked but journalist Nellie Bly has also been forgotten over time. Nellie Bly was a journalist during the 1890s who is best known for her exposé, “Ten Days In A Madhouse” in the New York World. After many accusations of mistreatment in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, Bly did everything in her power to report on such accusations. She went to the extent of getting herself committed to the asylum in order to report such facility. During her report she wrote about all of the awful treatment which the patients underwent. Her article is considered a milestone in investigative journalism. As a revolutionist, inventor, and primary journalist of the suffragette movement it is vital that she be remembered in history.

Charlotte Brontë, an English novelist and author, used a gender-neutral name when publishing. As a pet during the 19th-century, Brontë decided to use the name Currer Bell when publishing in order to limit the amount of prejudice which came with being a woman. Brontë used a positively masculine name in order to get fair treatment by not only critics, but readers as well. Charlotte Brontë never got the credit she deserved due to her false masculine name, buy it is important to recognize her work and her impact in literature.

Overall, women throughout history have often been overlooked but with Women’s History Month it is important to recognize them and their accomplishments.