What does it mean to be a ‘dangerous woman’?
This is the question posed by the Dangerous Women Project, a one-year initiative of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Jo Shaw. Between International Women’s Day 2016 and International Women’s Day 2017 contributions that respond to the question are being collected and curated on the project web site as a series of daily blog posts. These cover a range of themes:
- Arts and creativity
- Careers and livelihoods
- History and biography
- Home and family
- Human rights
- Identity and community
- Law and politics
- Peace and conflict
- Science and nature
- Sport and adventure
My own response to the question – published today – profiles Scottish aid worker Dr Linda Norgrove. Linda was kidnapped by the Taliban in September 2010. She died tragically in a rescue attempt thirteen days later, exactly six years ago today on 8th October that year. I co-authored my Dangerous Women Project contribution with Linda’s mother Lorna.
It is clear from our profile why Linda makes a great subject for the Dangerous Women Project. Less evident to its readers will be the more personal reasons for my first approach to Lorna and her husband John to see how they would feel about their daughter being profiled as a ‘dangerous woman’.
For the past twenty years I have spent most of my precious annual leave in the peace of the Outer Hebrides, much of it in the corner of the Isle of Lewis where Linda grew up. Although I have never met the Norgroves, I have been aware of the family and their croft in tiny village of Mangersta for some time. So when the news of Linda’s kidnap and death was relayed by the media in 2010 it touched me more personally than other reports coming out of Afghanistan.
The second reason for contacting Lorna and John Norgrove is the type of projects that the charity set up in Linda’s name supports. Many of these fund the education of women and girls, some of which relate to the provision of library services. These are causes that I support wholeheartedly. I hope that drawing attention to the life of Linda Norgrove in a Dangerous Women Project post will raise awareness of the issues that Linda cared about, and encourage others to support the work of the Linda Norgrove Foundation.