Research opportunities abound in women’s history. Here’s a brief list of likely topics in need of further exploration:
Women in the Cold War: How did women in northern Montana feel about living in a missile field? How did anti-communism and the domesticity of the 1950s affect Montana women?
Women in the 1960s and 1970s counterculture: Did the Sixties happen in Montana? How did the sexual revolution, hippies, drug culture, rock music, etc. play out for Montana women?
Women in military: What have been the traditions of women warriors in Montana? Who were the women who came to frontier forts, and to Malmstrom? What was Montana women’s experience of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam?
Orphans: Twin Bridges, Paul Clark home, fostering rural children all await significant studies
Women in agriculture: There’s been lots of material generated on homesteading women, but what about ranching and farming women after the homestead era?
Women and politics after suffrage: The history of the League of Women Voters, the AAUW, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, many sororities, 4-H, FFA, etc. all remain to be written. What work and pleasure did these organizations take on after suffrage? How did women participate in the Farmer’s Union and the Nonpartisan League? The 1970s was an important decade for women in politics, apart from the Constitutional Convention. How did second wave feminism manifest itself in Montana?
First ladies of Montana: What role did governors’ wives, and also people like Maureen Mansfield, play in Montana history?
Entrepreneurs: Every community in Montana had women who were small business owners. What kinds of businesses did they have, how did they participate in the business community, how did they meld business with family?
Women and the environment: What role did women play in the conservation/environmental movements? What were their relationships to animals (ranching, hunting, preserving)? What is the history of women field scientists in Montana (botany, paleontology, etc.)?
Role of women in Home Extension: What was impact of home demonstration agents; when and how did women move out of home demonstration into other agricultural education roles?
Women at work: Lots of work remains to be done on women’s experiences in various occupations/and industrial communities, including women as telephone and telegraph operators; women and the railroad (as workers, wives, and passengers); women in logging communities (the northwestern corner of the state is grossly understudied); women in the Park Service and Forest Service; women in the performing and visual arts (as teachers, performers, and patrons); women in health care (nuns, nurses, physicians); women in journalism (print, radio, and television); employment discrimination (because of gender, marital status, or motherhood); schoolteachers as a workforce and the role of UM Dillon in preparing teachers for one-room schools.
Women in sports: While there’s been plenty written on basketball, we need more work on rodeo after Fanny Sperry Steele and the Brander sisters, on skiing and ski resorts, and especially on the effect of Title IX on college sports.