This year, 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary since some women got the vote and with International Woman’s Day last week, I felt it only natural to show some appreciation for some (of the countless) cool as fuck women that we can all be thankful for
In no particular order…
Millicent Fawcett (11 June 1987 – 5 August 1929)
Millicent was a leading suffragist who led the NUWSS for nearly 30 years and helped with the founding of Cambridge’s Newnham College in 1870. Fawcett worked tirelessly to improve the educational opportunities for women and also campaigned to abolish the slave trade among many other things.
You can buy her book about the fight for the vote here.
“Courage calls to courage everywhere and its voice cannot be denied”
Eleanor Roosevelt (11 October 1884 – 7 November 1962)
Eleanor was the longest serving First Lady and was a human rights campaigner and writer. She changed what it was to be First Lady and didn’t settle for being quiet in the background. Her hard work paid off as she was appointed a delegate in the UN General Assembly by President Truman and and later appointed again by Kennedy.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”
Marie Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934)
Marie Curie was a chemist and physicist and the owner of two Nobel prizes (her daughter won one too!). Despite this, she wasn’t paid anywhere near enough for her research and discoveries in radioactivity and men were in no way supportive enough. Shock. After her husband Pierre Curie passed away, she continued her work and said work was absolutely crucial in developing x-rays in surgery. Curie actually drove ambulances to the front lines in WW1 – which she herself helped to equip!
” I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy”
Princess Diana, (1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997)
Diana is remembered as the “People’s Princess” for a reason. A non-stop supporter of helping the homeless, children in need and treating those living with HIV and Aids as the actual human beings that they are. The selflessness and the treating everyone as an equal quality she held is forever a lesson and an inspiration.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you”
Emmeline Pankhurst, (15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928)
Emmeline Pankhurst, along with her daughters (and many more), was a badass leading suffragette. Her husband, Richard was a supporter of women’s rights and was responsible for allowing women to keep property or earnings received before and after marriage – Married Women’s Property Acts (1870 and 1882). She chose well. Pankhurst knew the women’s right to vote was a “desperate necessity” and formed the Women’s Franchise League in 1898 and the WSPU in 1903. Emmeline broke windows and went on hunger strike – she knew she had to do this to get attention and eventually it worked.
“I would rather be a rebel than a slave”
Boudicca, (30 AD – 61 AD)
Boudicca, the Queen of Iceni people in East Anglia led the tribe who fought against the Roman Empire who were occupying the Iceni. When she was chosen as leader, she apparently said “This is a woman’s resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves” as the Roman’s are said to have raped her daughters.
The Bronte’s, Charlotte (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1865) , Emily (30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) , Anne ( 17 January 1828 – 28 May 1849) ,
Charlotte, Emily & Anne grew up with their family in Yorkshire and were talented writers of literature whom, like many female writers at the time, published their work under pseudonyms. Best known for Wuthering Heights (by Emily), Jane Eyre (by Charlotte) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (by Anne) are still and I think always will be, inspirations to so many female writers.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will”
Mary Wollstonecraft, (27 April 1759 – 10 September 1797)
Mary Wollstonecraft was an advocate for women’s rights, a philosopher and a writer. Her 1792 book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy and argued that women aren’t inferior to men but seem to be because their lack of education. Her daughter is the creator of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
“Virtue can only flourish among equals”
Oprah, (29 January 1954 -)
Oprah from The Oprah Winfrey show is a talk show host, actress, producer and much more. Known for being one of the most influential people in the world, Oprah was born into poverty and was molested as a teen. Aged 19, she began co-anchoring on the radio and then created her own production company. Oprah has given so many people voices and the courage to speak up.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness”
Jane Austen, (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)
Jane Austen was a writer of novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. She was once proposed to, said yes and then said no because he was ill-mannered and boring. By the age of 23, Austen already had written 3 original versions of her books and she still inspires women today.
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do”
Maya Angelou, (4 April 1928 – 28 May 2014)
Maya Angelou was a poet, activist, singer amongst many other things. She was a spokesperson for many and much of her work centers around racism and identity. Angelou was the first black female producer and director for 20th Centuary Fox and although she didn’t ever attend college, Maya was awarded over 50 honorary degrees.
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible”
Mother Teresa, (26th August 1910 – 5 September 1997)
Mother Teresa was a nun and missionary worker. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work after caring for poor and sick people for decades, to which she said she wasn’t “worthy” of the prize. Her life was fully committed to those that really needed help.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”
Rosa Parks, (4 Feb 1913 – 24 October 2005)
Rosa Parks was an iconic woman who refused to give up her bus seat for a white man (remember when people were jailed for this?!?!). Although her day job was a seamstress, Parks was a Civil Rights activist. Her arrest ignited a boycott that continued until buses were desegregated and people were finally starting to be treated a little more equally.
“I would like to be rememebered as a person who wanted to be free… so others would be also free”
Sappho, (630 BC – 580 BC)
Not much is known about poet Sappho, believed to be born around 640 B.C on the island of Lesbos. She created sensual, musical poetry about her love for men and women and her work was put together after her death. Sappho created the ‘Sapphic’ stanza in poetry (first 3 lines are long, the last is shorter) and one of my fave philosophers, Plato was apparently a fan.
“You who judge me, for me you are nothing”
Virginia Woolf, (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941)
Virginia Woolf was the writer of modernist classics like A Room of Ones Own, Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. Woolf wrote about homosexuality, mental illness and feminism and was ahead of her time. She fearlessly wrote about and is one of the most influential writers of the 21st Century.
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman”
J.K Rowling, (31 July 1965 -)
J. K. Rowling , momma to Harry Potter (And who happens to have been awarded an OBE, CH, FRSL as well as an FRCPE) is also a writer of other novels, screenwriter and producer. Going from living off benefits to being the first ever billionaire author, she’s a true inspiration.
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already”
Florence Nightingale, (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910)
Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing. She established her own nursing school and for women, made nursing roles professional. International Nurses Day is celebrated on her Birthday throughout the world. Nightingale wrote a lot and made sure her work was in simple English so poorly educated people could understand it. Florence also helped to get rid of prostitution laws that were far too harsh for women, helped improve healthcare in Britain, helped in more acceptable jobs being made for women and much, much more.
“How very little can be done under the spirit of fear”
Marie Stopes, (15 October 1880 – 2 October 1958)
“If the world is not safe for babies you are never going to get a democracy worth having”
Coco Chanel, (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971)
Coco Chanel was a fashion designer who created her namesake brand, Chanel. Her sheer determination and ambition to create her brand and business is so inspiring.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Rupi Kaur, (5 October 1992 – )
Rupi Kaur, 25 is a poet, illustrator and performer whose words resonate with so many. Her work is becoming more and more popular among women of all ages and she’s giving strength and hope to so many. Keep at it, gal.
” I want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful before i’ve called them intelligent or brave”
Sojourner Truth, ( – 26 November 1883)
Sojouner Truth was a women’s rights activist and was behind the incredible improvised speech “Aint I a Woman?”. She was born into slavery but managed to escape with her daughter and was the first black woman to win a case against a white man in getting her son back (Yasssss!!).
“That little man in the back there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Jesus Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with him”
Here I name only a few and I could go on forever but I just wanted to share the lurrrveee.
*****Don’t h8 if some of the content isn’t completely accurate. Let’s just share the luurrrvveee.