What is the reason behind the significant difference in the number of women and men in history books?

I see what you're saying here, but it's important to recognize that the texts you're referring to are already operating on the assumption that certain historical events and figures are more significant than others. After the big decisions have been made, it's difficult to work within those decisions to radically reorient the story to feature different kinds of histories. And, if what we're looking for is female heroes to install alongside male heroes from within overwhelmingly male-dominated fields, there's a difficult road ahead.

I think you identify the problem yourself -- if women have influenced history a lot as a group, why have they still not been given their due in certain kinds of historical writing? Some might argue the reason is that mainstream history continues to prioritize male-dominated spaces as the primary (or even "real" history) and relegates the activities that took place within female-dominated spheres as something secondary to be taken up later on.

That's all well and good, but the fact is that it's not as easy to reorient large-scale historical narratives as I may be implying. Here's one example from my own work. I occasionally write about American missionaries who worked in Oceania during the 19th century. These missionaries almost always came to area as married couples, and both husband and wife made roughly equal contributions to the mission work. The men often preached in the churches and did medical work, while the women taught in mission schools and led women's groups. In many islands, women converted to Christianity and then influenced men to join the church, meaning that these female missionaries were arguably more effective in their work.

But at times it's difficult even to find out the names of these female missionaries. Unless one has access to their original letters (as I now do), female missionaries tend to be referenced only as "Mrs. Edward Doane" or "Mrs. Luther Gulick." I still haven't seen the portion of the mission archive relating to women's work, because whoever microfilmed the copy I looked through at University of Hawai'i didn't think that section was important enough to include -- so I'll need to travel to Boston to look at it.

The names of these women were intentionally silenced, even as their husbands were advertised in mission publications that circled the globe. That doesn't mean that it's impossible to recover those names. But it is more difficult. So yes, there are many specific women who have been overlooked. But unless textbook authors fundamentally reorient their understanding of what kind of historical figure is worthy of inclusion in a large-scale mainstream historical narrative, it won't be necessary to look for them.

/r/AskHistorians Thread