It’s no secret that the contributions of women throughout history have been majorly downplayed or ignored in Western society, and it’s was past time for that to change.
Who are some ladies of history you should know about?
Let’s educate ourselves.
1. Virginia Hall
Has a building named after her at the CIA. She was an American woman from Baltimore who went to Europe in the 1930s, lost her leg in a shooting accident, then proceeded to become a leader in the French Resistance and master of disguise, all with a wooden leg.
The book A Woman of No Importance is about her and came out last year.
2. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
She is the Dean of Medicine at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, MI. She saw that children were having elevated lead levels (ELLs) outside the normal range. She contacted the Genesee Department of Health, who at first, dismissed her claim, then sent her obfuscated data to make it look like the ELLs were completely within normal trends.
She grew frustrated at this, so she called a team of epidemiologists from UVA (her alma mater) to find the source of the lead. Lo and behold, she found that the water in multiple zip codes was contaminated with lead. She informed the Genesee Department of Health Again, who brushed her off. She then said “f*ck it” and held a major press conference where she announced on air that the water in Flint wasn’t safe and to come to the hospital to get your child tested and to pick up supplies of water and liquid infant formula.
If she saved thousands of children from the permanent effects of lead poisoning.
3. Inge Lehmann
A Danish seismologist. She discovered P’ waves (waves that reflect off of the inner-core), confirming that the earth has a solid inner-core and a liquid outer-core.
4. Dr. Virginia Apgar
In 1952 she developed a quick, easy five-point test that summarizes health of newborns, and determine those needing emergency assistance.
The Apgar Score is now given to practically every newborn, and helped save countless young lives, and reduce infant mortality.
5. Frances Oldham Kelley
She stopped thalidomide from getting widespread use in North America, and saved countless children from life-altering birth defects.
6. Claudette Colvin
The person who refused to get up from her bus seat during the Jim Crows in America.
But she was a young woman who was pregnant out of wedlock at the time, and the black leaders decided she was not a good image of an activist. So they handpicked Rosa Parks to do the same.
7. Elsie MacGill
Aka “queen of the hurricanes”, she was the worlds first female to earn aeronautical engineering degree.
The two major things she did was, she designed the Maple Leaf Trainer ll and she was to look over manufacturing operations at a Canadian factories that built the Hawker Hurricane.
8. King Tamara of Georgia
She now represents the Georgian nation in Civilization VI, but before that, not a lot of people knew about her.
And whenever she is mentioned, she is mentioned as queen, but she was given the title of KING because she was recognized as an equal monarch (her husbands didn’t have any royal titles). This is an undisputed fact in Georgian historiography, IDK about western scholars, but whenever she is mentioned on the internet or mainstream, would it be Wikipedia or a video game, like CIV VI, she is denied her lawful title and that just p*sses me off!
9. Irena Sendler
Worked with others to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto during WWII.
10. Nellie Bly
She was a 1890s journalist who was given an assignment to investigate the Woman’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island due to accusations of the mistreatment of patients.
She got in there by faking insanity and getting herself committed to the asylum, and when she was finally released, she ran an exposé in the New York World called “Ten Days In A Madhouse” that exposed the awful treatment of patients inside the asylum.
This was considered a revolution in investigative journalism. Also, she read “Around The World In 80 Days”, basically decided she could do better, and went around the world in 72 days.
She was also an inventor, and was one of the primary journalists to cover the suffragette movement. She’s one of my favorite historical figures who doesn’t get enough attention!
11. Mary Anderson
Invented the windshield wiper in 1903. As soon as the patent expired, it became standard in all cars.
She attempted to sell it while she had the rights to it, but most manufacturers refused to believe it was a feature of value, and it is likely her being female colored their lack of enthusiasm.
12. Cecily Saunders
She deserves the reputation Mother Tereasa has.
She basically invented hospice care. Before her, doctors used to just abandon incurables to die with no palliative care.
Cecily Saunders arguably eliminated more useless suffering than anyone ever.
13. Camille Claudel
A sculptor and artist who worked with Rodin. He claimed a lot of her work. Artemisa Gentlischi was a woman painter in the Renaissance with style akin to Caravaggio.
She is nowhere near as well known as he, and she also painted a Judith Slaying Holofernes painting.
(These are very brief overviews of what I remember from art school. Lots of talented women tucked away beneath the male gaze of art and history).
14. Madam C. J. Walker
Developed black hair care products and marketed them through her business she founded which ended up making her the first female self made millionaire.
15. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
She was super influential to early rock musicians like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and so many more. Johnny Cash even said that she was his favorite singer and she was also one of the first to play around with heavy distortion on her electric guitar. She’s called by some “The Godmother of Rock and Roll” but I guarantee you that the average person has never heard of her.
If you’re looking for some interesting folks to read up on, I’d say that’s quite a list to get your started!
Who else would you add to this list?
Tell us in the comments.