Saga - 1996, Blaðsíða 306
ÞORGERÐUR H. ÞORVALDSDÓTTIR
Scott, Joan Wallach, „Women's History", Gender and the Politics ofHistory. Gender
and Culture. Ritstjórar Carolyn G. Heilbrun og Nancy K. Miller (New York,
1988), bls. 15-27.
Shapiro, Ann-Louise, „Introduction: History and Feminist Theory or Talking Back
to the Beadle", History and Peminist Theory. History and Theory Studies in
the Philosophy of History 31. Ritstjóri Ann-Louise Shapiro (Wesleyan Uni-
versity, 1992), bls. 1-14.
Zinsser, Judith P., History & Feminism. A Glass HalfFull. The Impact of Feminism on
the Arts & Sciences (New York, 1993).
The focus of this article is gender as it appears in the textbooks on
Icelandic history in primary and secondary schools from the end of
the 19th century, when history first became a special subject, and
to the present. The absence of women in these books is a striking
fact and raises questions first whether and then how the invisi-
bility of women in history affects and influences young students,
especially female students.
It is worth noting that not a single woman is among the authors
of the 24 history textbooks surveyed. In other words, men have
monopolized the right to define what is important enough in the
past to pass on to the next generation. Icelandic history, as taught
in schools, focuses with few exceptions on the political struggle of
men, with the fight for Iceland's independence in the forefront.
This kind of history leaves very little space for women and their
activities. I read through the 24 history textbooks and counted
those men and women who were mentioned by name. The results
are revealing, women rating from 2%, to at most, 21% of all the
people mentioned and the proportion has changed very little
during the century. The women who do appear usually play sec-
ondary roles and they are brought in to explain the activities of the
men who are the main actors. We can divide the women who did
appear into three groups, according to the role they played in the
text. I call the first group the "doers". These are the women who
achieved something from the male point of view, and they are
treated as men's equals. Examples of women in this group are
Auður djúpúðga, who was one of the first settlers in Iceland, and