Awesome women in history


Women from outside STEM are still capable of greatness :wink: and I thought it would be nice to have a place to highlight their awesomeness.

Gertrude of Arabia: the great adventurer may finally get her museum
The article focuses on her family home, as funding efforts are being made to restore it and turn it into a museum about Gertrude, but there’s tantalising biographical information provided that makes me want to learn more about her,

Aged just 20, she was the first woman to achieve a first in history at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. By her early 30s, she had mastered Farsi well enough to produce a translation of the Divan of Hafiz that is still admired in present-day Iran. She then became so successful a mountaineer that a peak in the Swiss Alps is named after her. And she was one of the first archaeologists – and certainly the first woman - to examine the Byzantine remains of Anatolian Turkey.

Yet those are her mere add-on accomplishments. For today, Gertrude is mainly remembered as the woman who explored much of the Middle East, taking some of the earliest photographs of the monuments now being destroyed by Isis. The knowledge she acquired became invaluable to the British government during the first world war.

And a couple of women that I’ve already highlighted in “Useful and Interesting Links”,

Eleanor Rathbone, the woman who campaigned for child benefit, and for it to be paid directly to mothers.

The amazing life of Margaret Sanger, “Our Lady of Birth Control”: “I was intrigued that such a great do-gooder was also quite a bad girl in private”
A really interesting interview with a graphic novelist on the life of Margaret Sanger, that manages to dispel a few myths about her, particularly regarding the whole eugenics issue.



Erasing Mileva Marić-Einstein, The Woman Behind Einstein’s Math

Einstein’s first wife sounds awesome and she was screwed so badly by him and history in general.



Awesome women who will go down in history,

Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson and 10 Other Dope Women Just Got a 2016 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant



Another awesome woman,
British woman, 26, becomes one of world’s youngest airline captains



The first women doctors,
No scrubs: how women had to fight to become doctors



Awesome female astronomers,
Chasing the Sun: The woman forgotten by science



Awesome female anti-fascists,
Pepper to throw at fascists: the forgotten women of Cable Street



The Forgotten Victorian Craze for Collecting Seaweed
A great article highlighting just some of the great women who studied seaweed, one of the few ‘respectable’ areas of science for a young lady in Victorian times.



Medieval women can teach us how to smash gender rules and the glass ceiling
An interesting historical perspective on women’s attempt to gain power in a male world.



[The 1920s ‘Circus Girl’ Who Fought Sexism—With Tigers][1]
Mabel Stark was a nurse who started training tigers after a nervous breakdown. It’s a complex story but the most interesting ones generally are. Well worth a read.



More awesome women (Atlas Obscura are doing a good job finding great women in history who’s stories need telling):

Meet Bessie Coleman, the First Black Woman to Get a Pilot’s License

Lady Jane Franklin, the Woman Who Fueled 19th-Century Polar Exploration

The Improbable Life of the Inventor of the Modern Bra

From another source,

Why Clare Hollingworth, the Reporter Who Broke News of World War II, Is a Hero for Our Times



More awesome women (yet again Atlas Obscura does a great job of finding and highlighting a lot of them):

The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society

The 1920s Women Who Fought For the Right to Travel Under Their Own Names
Women have been fighting to use their maiden names for a very long time.

Sarah Bagley, the Voice of America’s Early Women’s Labor Movement

From Jezabel:

World’s Oldest Woman Astronaut Keeps Spacewalking Past Records
Dr Peggy Whitson

Esteemed Vietnam War Journalist, Anne Morrissy Merick, Dies At Age 83

Cathy Leroy, One of the Few Women Who Shot Vietnam
These last two articles really highlight the sexism women faced in the 1960s and how hard they fought to combat it.



The blockade-running British women at the forefront of Basque evacuations
A fascinating story of British women who risked their lives to help civilians on the continent during WW2.



A couple of awesome women,

Æthelflæd: the Anglo-Saxon iron lady
Daughter of Alfred the Great, she ruled Mercia for almost a decade following the death of her husband and seems to have garnered the respect of many during her time in power.

The Story Behind the Woman Who Made WWI Masks Just Like Doctor Poison Wears
A short but fascinating piece on the artist, Anna Coleman Ladd, who created almost 100 masks for WWI soldiers with facial injuries. I would love to learn more about her.



[note to self - logged]



Suffragist Campaigner Millicent Fawcett Is the First Woman to Get a Parliament Square Statue
First statue there to be designed by a woman too.



How the Real Madame Tussaud Built a Business Out of Beheadings

In 1802, 40-year-old Marie was saddled with a lazy, spendthrift husband, two children and the faltering business Curtius had left her on his death, and she decided to seek her fortune abroad. She left her youngest child with her mother and aunt, packed up her four-year-old son and a duffel bag of disembodied aristocratic wax heads, and left for England to achieve a “well-filled purse,” according to Kate Berridge in Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax.



Book inscriptions reveal the forgotten stories of female war heroes
This is lovely.



[The female war medic who refused to ‘go home and sit still’][1]

Dr Elsie Inglis sounds like an incredible woman. She was a doctor back when women weren’t supposed to be doctors and a suffragette campaigner and when, aged 50, WW1 began she went to battlefields across the continent, despite being told by the War Office to ‘go home and sit still’.



Ada Blackjack, the Forgotten Sole Survivor of an Odd Arctic Expedition
Ada joined a badly organised expedition to an Arctic island in order to earn money to treat her son’s tuberculosis. After the planned rescue vessel failed to turn up and one of the men fell ill with scurvy, the other three men went off to search for help and were never seen again. Ada was left to look after the sick man and did so for six months until he eventually succumbed to his illness.

For three months, Blackjack was alone. She learned how to set traps to lure white foxes, taught herself to shoot birds, built a platform above her shelter so that she could spot polar bears in the distance, and crafted a skin boat from driftwood and stretched canvas after the one initially brought to the island was lost in a storm. She even experimented with the expedition’s photography equipment, taking pictures of herself standing outside of camp.