Happy Women’s History Month!
It’s that time of the year where we come together to celebrate some of the epic women who have ever existed in history of mankind! We have had a lot of women in history who have achieved many things, so while this article is not going to be able to cover all of these phenomenal ladies, I’m going to talk about them at the best of my ability in hopes that their achievements in times where women weren’t allowed to do much will be able to shed a whole new perspectives to our fellow millennials, and inspires them to achieve a whole lot more with the help of technology.
1. Madge Syers
This pioneering British figure skater changed the sport forever when in 1902, she competed in the world championship, which was at the time an all-male event. She managed to get 2nd place and after that, the International Skating Union (ISU) voted in favour of barring all women from the sport. Despite the ruling, Syers continued to participate in other competitions. She competed in the British championship in the following year and came in 1st place, beating all other competitors (including her husband). Finally in 1905, the ISU finally relented and allowed women to officially compete in figure skating.
2. Lucy Stone
Stone, a feminist activist and abolitionist, was the first woman in Massachusetts to obtain a college degree. Upon graduation, she helped propelled both feminists and abolitionist movements. She also became a published author and journalist, as well as a successful orator. She was known for wearing trousers in the 1800s too!
3. Margaret Hamilton
Margaret is a computer scientist who successfully led the team that developed the in-flight software for the Apollo missions. We literally wouldn’t have been able to reach the moon without her accomplishments.
4. Mary McLeod Bethune
This American educator and civil rights activist had founded private schools for African-American children when they were denied education elsewhere. On top of that, Mary also co-founded the National Association of Coloured Women and the National Council of Negro Women, serving as an advisor to FDR. She worked a tonne to formally educate both the blacks and whites in America about the accomplishments of black people at an era when a large percentage of Americans believed that African-American people were biologically sub-human. What’s even cooler is that she also hung out with W. E. B. Du Bois, and was the only black woman present when the United Nations was founded.
5. Josephine Baker
This American-born French entertainer and activist was a cabaret star who kept a pet cheetah and aided both the French Resistance in WW2 and the American civil rights movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In the ‘30s, fancy European society was creepily fascinated by her and yet hostile towards women of colour but Baker was unapologetic. A major style icon up till today, her shows has had cabaret and topless dance numbers alongside slapstick comedy and silly faces, challenging the notion that female sexuality could be defined and control. Most importantly that above all else, performance can and should be FUN for women.
A great anecdote of her: Her maid came into her boudoir and said “Miss Baker, there are 12 men here to see you” and Baker responded with “Oh, I’m so tired today. Send one away”.
6. Noor Inayat
Noor is an Indian-American secret agent for Britain during World War II. She also worked as a radio operator in Nazi-controlled Paris. The job had an average lifespan of 6 weeks but Inayat lasted nearly 5 months. She was eventually betrayed by a French pilot and interrogated for over a month at the Dachau concentration camp. She fought so hard during the interrogation that the Nazis became scared of her and labelled her as a dangerous prisoner, all while never giving a single bit of information. Her last word before her execution was “Liberté” (reportedly).
7. Laskarina Bouboulina
This Greek naval commander was also a rich and twice-widowed mother of 9 who lived from 1771 to 1825. After both her husbands were killed by Algerian pirates, she inherited all their fortune and expanded upon them. Later on, she became the only woman to join an underground organisation which prepares Greeks to revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
She also joined the Greek War of Independence and commanded a fleet of 8 ships (of which 5 were her own) and even participated in naval blockades in 3 different cities. During the Chios massacre, she restrained Turkish soldiers who were destroying the island and saved the lives of women and children in the harem of the city’s ruler. She was then considered dangerous to the Greek state and was arrested and exiled to her island. After her passing, the Russian government awarded her with the title of admiral,which also makes her the only woman to be awarded with that title, whereas Greece placed her face on their national coin, as well as naming streets after her name.
This 3rd-century Queen of Palmyrene Empire in Syria was the warrior queen of what is now Syria. Zenobia was also a feminist and a diplomat. She spoke at least 4 languages, wrote a book covering a thousand years of Asian history, and spear-hunted bears and lions on horseback like a total badass. She and her majestic husband would lead armies across Persia in full battle armor and they have even defeated an invasion of the Goths. Heck, even the Pope have praised her for her bravery. When her husband was murdered, she arrested the murders and even offered them up as human sacrifices at the Temple of Baal… just to prove a point. When Zenobia was just getting started, she declared herself as the Queen of the East and invaded Egypt, ruling over a gigantic empire. She had also restored the economy, built alliances with Arabia, and sent the Roman army packing when they tried to mess with her.
9. Queen Hatshepsut
This well-known pharoah of Egypt was legitimately one of the greatest pharaohs to ever rule Egypt and was the first great woman in history, according to Egyptologist Hames Breasted. She has arranged foreign expeditions, expanded trade, led an architectural renaissance in Egypt, built a tonne of wealth and also ushered in a long period of peace for Egypt.
10. Artemisia I of Caria
This queen and naval commander in the Greco-Persian wars was a highly successful, unmarried queen in the 400s BC. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, she had also become one of the top military generals of the Persian Empire where she was praised for being extremely brilliant. Even the emperor sent his kids to be raised by her, hoping they would model themselves after her.