It’s International Women’s Day and I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the women, including historical figures and authors, that inspire me to be the best woman that I can be…
Cleopatra – Cleopatra VII Philopator was Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt from 51 to 30 BC. She ruled alone after making it clear that she had no intention to share power with her younger brother. She had children with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and she was one of the most powerful women in history. I admire her for her strength and ingenuity.
Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer. She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was also a supporter of equal rights for women. She disappeared during one of her flights over the Pacific Ocean and mystery still surrounds her death.
Mary Wollstonecraft – Writer, author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) which outlined how young girls should be educated and was one of the first pieces of feminist literature ever written. Horace Walpole called her a ‘hyena in petticoats’.
Frida Kahlo – Mexican painter known for her self-portraits. Her work has been celebrated for its representation of Mexican national and indigenous traditions and for its uncompromising depiction of the female form. Her art inspires women to be themselves and love themselves unconditionally.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Feminist fiction writer, author of Herland and The Yellow Wallpaper. She was interested in the mental health of women and how they were treated by the medical profession. She also wrote feminist utopia fiction in which she depicts peaceful countries that are run by women.
Marie Curie – Physicist and Chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize twice for her work in radioactivity. She is definitely one of my heroes and she inspired my love of nuclear physics and science in general.
Billie Jean King – American tennis player. She won 6 Wimbledon singles titles and beat Bobby Riggs in a Battle of the Sexes game, showing that women can play just as well as men. Women now enjoy equal prize money at Wimbledon.
Elizabeth I – Elizabeth I is one of my favourite monarchs. She was often called a King, even describing herself both King and Queen of England in her famous speech: “I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too”. She sowed the seeds for the first British Empire and she led England to victory over the Spanish Armada.
Benazir Bhutto – 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was the first woman to head a Muslim majority nation and she wrote two books: Daughter of the East and Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. She was assassinated in 2007.
Ada Lovelace – Mathematician. She’s known as the first computer programmer after creating an algorithm which would allow the Analytical Engine to be used practically. The engine was never completed and so her theory was never tested but she is still recognised as a mathematical genius. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron.