In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to showcase the incredibly strong women of The Magi Menagerie. Quite a lot has changed since 1906 in regards to women’s rights and while the three POVs throughout The Magi Menagerie are in the eyes of men, I wanted to make sure to hone in on the fact that they wouldn’t have made it through without these powerful women in their lives!
To shed some light on just how different the world was in the early 1900s, let’s dive into some of the most interesting research I came across while writing book one. Get this: women school teachers had to abide by a very strict set of rules. As a female teacher in 1906, Kierra would not have been allowed to marry during her teaching term, would not have been permitted to smoke cigarettes or EVER dye her hair, nor would she have been allowed in the presence of any man unless it was her father or brother, just to name a few. Bizarre, right? But also, all her time spent with Jonas, Diego, and Zaire pretty much breaks her contract. 😅
In Chapter 18 of The Magi Menagerie, Kierra walks into a pub donning her suffragette attire including a green sash that says “Votes for Women.” During this time period, not only were women fighting for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women also sought to change the voting laws. In 1906, the term suffragette was coined from the word suffragist (ANY person advocating for voting rights), in order to belittle the women advocating women’s suffrage. I really wanted to showcase this to remind readers that as a society, we have come a tremendous way in the last century. It was a nod to the strong women who came before us and the strong women who continue to lead us into the future.
Another fascinating thing I discovered during my research was the average age expectancy of women in 1906. Today, people don’t bat an eye when you live into your 90s. But at the turn of the century, the average age a woman lived to was her early 50s. Originally, I wrote the character of Annabelle as a woman in her upper 60s (and honestly, I still think of her as such) but in all reality, she might not have lived to that age at all. Nevertheless, she is one of my strongest female characters, and she’ll continue to be a driving force in The Magi Manifesto.
As Women’s History Month draws to an end, let’s not forget the brave women who came before us—the Kierras and Annabelles of the world—and empower the younger generations of women for ages to come.