Women firsts: Conquering Mt. Fuji and dispelling myths



It’s interesting to note that years ago, even if a woman wanted to climb Mt. Fuji, she was forbidden to do so. It wasn’t until the Meji Era ended in 1912 that the rule ended. This Era brought about a more accepting and modern culture, permitting women to participate in activities that were considered “for men only.” Despite the rule, however, one woman made it to the top in 1867, but details are sketchy. Lady Fanny Parkes is officially recorded as completing the trek.

As one legend goes, Mt. Fuji was thought to have a woman deep inside the mountain. Should she become jealous, she would erupt. This is why it is thought no Japanese woman climbed Mt. Fuji, even if she could. It took a brave Ms. Parkes to prove that no eruptions would take place if a woman set foot upon the mountain. After she did, other women soon followed suit.

Women firsts: Engineer for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge



The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a historical monumental engineering project unlike anything built before. This bridge, spanning across the East River from New York to Brooklyn, was designed by John Roebling in 1869. Roebling’s daughter-in-law, Emily Warren Roebling, became in involved when her husband, Washington, took over after his father passed away.

Emily Roebling didn’t want to be a passive assistant. While most women would have balked at engineering studies, Emily dove into unlikely topics such as mathematics, material strengths, stress analysis and cable construction. Little did she know how valuable those classes would be. Just a few years later her husband became seriously ill, leaving him nearly paralyzed. The bridge construction fell on Emily.

Mrs. Roebling stepped right in. So perfectly, that many thought she was the Chief Engineer. Seems to me she was, even though the title was never officially bestowed upon her.

While becoming an engineer had not been part of Emily Roebling’s life plan, she became one, overseeing the completion of one of the finest examples of engineering for its time.