Inspiring women through history
LOOK at a a selection of inspiring women through the ages who have made a uniquely feminine impact on the world…
American critic, satirical poet and short-story writer, Dorothy Parker was famous for her flashingly malicious wit and acidic one-liners, as well as her membership in the Algonquin Hotel's celebrated Round Table (a kind of American Bloomsbury Group in the Twenties and Thirties). Some classic Parkerisms: "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." "The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue." "It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard."
Author, essayist and feminist, Virginia Woolf was at the centre of literary and artistic circle, The Bloomsbury Group, in the 1920s. She also explored women's experience in order to find an alternative to a male-dominated society. A Room Of One's Own (1929) deals with the obstacles that hinder women writers, while Three Guineas (1938) spoke of the need for women to make a claim for their own history and literature. Troubled with mental illness, Woolf finally committed suicide in 1941, but left behind a rich legacy of work.
BoudiccaForget Xena, this was the original kick-ass Warrior Princess! Celtic tribal leader Boudicca fought the Romans in Britain in 61AD, after they attacked her people, seized her lands, and raped her daughters. During Queen Victoria's reign, Boudicca was seen as the embodiment of 'Britannia', and her bronze statue, near the Houses of Parliament, is a fitting monument to a truly amazing figure in British history.
Rosa ParksDubbed the 'Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement,' Rosa Parks is famous for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1950s' America. Her arrest for breaking segregation laws started a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. This eventually led to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation illegal on public buses. She died in October 2005, aged 92.
America's most influential First Lady blazed paths for women and led the battle for social justice everywhere. Eleanor shattered the mould of the First Lady and reshaped it around her own skills and commitment to social reform. She gave a voice to people who did not have access to power. She was the first American woman to speak in front of a national convention, to write a newspaper column, to earn money as a lecturer, to be a radio commentator and to hold regular press conferences.
Florence NightingaleBright, tough, driven and brilliant, Florence Nightingale is best known as a pioneer of nursing and a reformer of hospital sanitation, but did you know she also invented the Pie chart?! For most of her life, Nightingale pushed for reform of the British military health-care system and helped the profession of nursing to gain the respect it deserved. But during the Crimean War, where she nursed soldiers in Turkey, her statistical illustrations of the needless amounts of deaths due to poor sanitation were groundbreaking. Talk about multi-tasking!
Anne FrankOne of the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution during the second world war, Anne and her family went into hiding in 1942 in a house in Amsterdam. After more than two years the group was betrayed and deported. Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, only a few weeks before it was liberated. Anne's diary, kept while she was in hiding, graphically describes her isolation and fear of discovery. It has been produced now in 55 languages and remains a fascinating and brave portrayal of a unique young woman's experience.
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