Women Heritage around the world


The museums of Glasgow introduced themselves telling us their main duties: organise exhibitions and link people; also, they explained us there are two different kind of heritage:

  • TANGIBLE

  • INTANGIBLE

The first group of heritage very often could include the second one (for example, a simple textile could bring in your mind a memory of a melody...).

We started to share with others how we called women and mothers in our places. We have learned the following words:

URAT, from Pakistan; IA, from Nigeria; NNE from Igboland; FEMME from France; MUJER from Spain; FEMINA from Sardinia; DONNA from Italy.

The objects we shared with the other people were the following : tea cups, a nursery bag nowadays a bag for numbers of Tombola, a blanket, a key-ring, an engagement ring, a puppet, a photo camera, a piece of cloth to bring a kid in your back.

An object captured my attention because I never saw it before: it was a TANGA’s scale model, from Pakistan.

is a light carriage or curricle drawn by one horse (compare ekka) used for transportation in the Indian subcontinent. They have a canopy over the carriage with a single pair of large wheels. The passengers reach the seats from the rear while the driver sits in front of the carriage. Some space is available for baggage below the carriage, between the wheels. This space is often used to carry hay for the horses.

Tangas were popular before the advent of automobiles and are still in use in some parts of the Indian subcontinent. They are a popular mode of transportation because they are fun to ride in, and are usually cheaper to hire than a taxi or rickshaw. However, in many cities, tangas are not allowed to use highways because of their slow pace. In Pakistan, tangas are mainly found in the older parts of cities and towns, and are becoming less popular for utilitarian travel and more popular for pleasure. Tangas have become a traditional feature of weddings and other social functions in parts of the Indian subcontinent.

The women who gave us these objects were mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sister-in-law, or friends. It was interesting the connections between these objects and the memories we were able to tell each others: a melody, a story, the description of a feeling. It was also interesting noticed that some of these objects are related with a manual skill. Many grandmothers were able to knit or make embroidery, and some of them transmitted this skill at their daughters and so on. The women heritage was also related with culture: some Muslim women learned the reasons and how to do religious fasting from their mothers and female ancestors.

To highlight the female position in a foreign place, it would be interesting keep an eye on literature from the countries we belong to.

A Pakistan writer, Rafia Zakaria, wrote “The upstairs wife: an intimate History.

A Nigerian Igbo writer is Chimamanda Ngoi Adichie, who recently wrote Americanah.

For the Italy, we can remember a Sardinian writer, Grazia Deledda, whilst for the France, everybody should read Simone De Beauvoir, Tous les hommes sont mortels.

Simone de Beauvoir was a model for the Feminist movements and I think we must know her in order to be ready for the next workshop about women’s protest history.

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