Tiffany Shlain's Dendrofemonology

Feminist History Tree Ring

Tiffany Shlain's Dendrofemonology, presented by the National Women's History Museum and Women Connect4Good, remakes the historical tree ring into a timeline of the story of women and power in society. The tree ring—a slice of deodar cedar—will be on display at the San Francisco Ferry Building for Shlain's solo exhibition, Human Nature, at SHACK15 opening November 2, 2022.

Read our interview with Tiffany here, and register here to see the art exhibit either in person or at virtual events.

Artist Tiffany Shlain poses with her piece, Dendrofemonology: Feminist History Tree Ring.

What the tree ring says from top line downward:

  • 50,000 BCE Goddesses are worshiped. 

  • 10,000-3000 BCE Women are healers, shamans, and warriors. A number of societies acknowledge multiple genders.

  • 3100 BCE Literacy develops, and seeds of patriarchy spread.

  • 2400 BCE Mesopotamian law declares: “If a woman speaks to a man out of turn, her teeth will be smashed in by a burnt brick.” 

  • 200 BCE Goddess worship is forbidden in Judaism, and later, in Islam and Christianity.

  • 690  Wu Zetian becomes the first—and only—female ruler of China.  

  • 1100 Matrilineal and matriarchal Hopi tribe establishes the community of Oraibi in present-day Arizona.

  • 1450 to 1918 50,000 women tortured and executed as witches across Europe and America.

  • 1576-1610 Queen Amina rules over Zazzau (present-day Nigeria).

  • 1690s Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz becomes the first published feminist in the Americas.

  • 1776-1860s Abortion up to four months of pregnancy is legal in the tthe United States.

  • 1880s Inspired by indigenous and abolitionist leaders and British suffragists, first-wave feminism gains momentum in the United States.

  • 1920 19th Amendment grants US women the right to vote, although most women of color are disenfranchised until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

  • 1920 The Soviet Union legalizes abortion.

  • 1960 FDA approves birth control pill in the United States.

  • 1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) becomes the first woman to be elected to lead a democratic country.

  • 1962 Dolores Huerta co-founds US National Farm Workers' Association.

  • 1960s Second-wave feminism begins with leaders including Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinman, Flo Kennedy, and Shirley Chisholm.

  • 1963 First woman in space Valentina Tereshkova flies a solo mission and orbits Earth 48 times.

  • 1972 Title IX in prohibits gender-based discrimination in US federally-funded educational programs and activities.

  • 1972 The US Senate approves addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. (The states have not yet ratified it.)

  • 1973 Roe vs. Wade legalizes abortion in all US states and territories.

  • 1974-1980 The Combahee River Women’s Collective calls out the interconnectedness of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and demands change in mainstream feminism and civil rights movement.

  • 1975 Icelandic Women’s Strike held to protest inequality in the workplace and the home. 90% of women participate, and 15 years later Iceland elects a woman president.

  • 1989 Kimberlé Crenshaw defines the concept of intersectionality and ushers in third-wave feminism.

  • 1993 Women allowed to wear pants on the floor of the US Senate.

  • 2006 Tarana Burke begins #MeToo movement.

  • 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton receives the majority of votes in the US presidential election.

  • 2017 An estimated 5 million people attend Women’s Marches globally. #MeToo goes viral.

  • 2017 Oregon becomes first state to include non-binary gender category on IDs.

  • 2020-2022 US elects first female Vice President Kamala Harris and first trans State Senator, Sarah McBride; Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman confirmed to  Supreme Court.

  • 2022 

    • Roe v. Wade is overturned, eviscerating federal protection of reproductive rights in the United States.

    • Globally, 65 countries have legalized abortions, four in the last year.

    • Globally, 86 women have been elected president or prime minister to date…

“I have always been fascinated by the tree ring timelines at the entrance of the National Parks, but felt like they usually tell colonial/patriarchal stories. I wanted to reimagine what it would like if they recounted women’s history and the struggle for equality. We always say history is written by the victors. Perhaps when that same story is written from a different perspective, a better present and future will emerge.”
Tiffany Shlain

About Tiffany Shlain

Honored by Newsweek as one of their "Women Shaping the 21st Century," Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, and author of the national bestselling book 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection, winner of the Marshall McLuhan Outstanding Book Award. Shlain’s extensive body of work in many different mediums looks at the relationship between humanity, nature, and technology; digital wellbeing and happiness; gender and women's rights; and neuroscience and creativity. As a multidisciplinary artist, she works across film, animation, video, and performance. Her new visual work, Human Nature, introduces sculpture, photography, and video art to convey the change in perspective that immersion in nature induces. Shlain is the SHACK15 artist-in-residence in San Francisco.