Women who changed the world
Forgotten, ignored or placed in a second position on men’s life
History has taught us the development of the true story.
They had in their hands: education, science, fashion, literature or political activism in diferrent contexts and shapes.
With their own identity, their names and their achievements they have perdured on history and they have become a reference for the future generations.
Commemorating the International Women’s Day (8th of march), we will go back in time through some tales of many women that changed the world.
Gloria Marie Steinem, also known as Gloria Steinem (Toledo, Ohio; 25th of march, 1934), is an american journalist and writer considered as a feminist icon in her own country. She fight for the feminist activism at the end of 1960, first of 1970.
She work for the New York Magazine and she is one of the founders of the liberal femenist magazine Ms. In 1969 Steinem published the article “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” together with Betty Friedan one of the reference of the “second feminist wave”.
In 1971 she was the author of one of the most famous speeches of the feminism movement of the US during the XX century. Call for the american women.
In 2005 Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan cofound Women’s Media Center, an organisation whose objective is making women visible in media.
Marie Curie, 1867-1934
This pioneer in the area of radioactivity – she also named the discipline- was the first woman teacher in the University of Paris and the first person who was awarded with two Nobel Prizes, one in Physics and the other one in Chemistry. Her discoveries open a gate on the cancer treatment studies.
After she passed away, her husband collected an amount of money in many different countries to follow the treatments of cancer and to found laboratories. As soon as the First World War started: he helped install X-rays booths in the ambulances and he also drove them personally during the fight.
Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
She was a teacher and a carpenter’s daughter she got borned in the apartheid politics from south of USA, during the segregory laws and costumes of Alabama in the XX century.
In 1950, during her militancy for civil rights, she began to work in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of Montgomery.
Apaertheid between white and black people was a rule in the public transport, the Supreme Court established in the Plessy vs. Fergusson case of 1896 that segregation in the public places was something capable and constitutional correct if they were equal, Some people protested against this norm in the same way as she did, but the Act Parks during the 1st of december of 1955 made explode the movement for the civil rights:
—Why is this being denied? – she asked a policeman when she got arrested for staying and not giving her place in a bus to a white passenger.
– Why are all of you pushing us around? – she asked
During the 60’ many different orders changed the situation and they ended with segregation against the afro american citizens.
Emmeline Pankhurst, 1858–1928
Before her figure was interpreted by Meryl Streep in the movie “The Suffragettes’, this activist for the femenine suffrage was so famous Disney dedicated a song “Sister Suffragette ” in the movie Mary Poppins. In 1903 Emmeline Pankhust founded Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) to open the parliamentarian vote for women.
Thousands of people followed her demand, which resulted in fires against business and attacks on politician’s houses like not before seen in the history of the United Kingdom. She was arrested 13 times, some of them she was arrested together with her daughters. She defined herself as “a human being in a transformation process to a wild beast” she made numerous hunger strikes.
Her slogan “actions, not words” is perdurable. The WSPU united with the Independent Labour Party was an important fact to obtain women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom.
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759–1797
She wrote fiction, essays, a travel book and children tales. Her work A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1972 was the emblem for femenist generations: she explained women weren’t less than men because of their own nature, they were less because they didn’t have the same education. She was influenced by the French Revolution and she built up a new equal order based on treating any person as a rational being.
Today she is considered as an unquestionable pillar of feminism.
Simone de Beauvoir
She found shelter in words and lyrics: “You don’t born as a woman, you become a woman” stated the writer of “The Second Sex” (1949) her most polemic work and that who set her place in history.
Her book scandalised society in general.
She stated, for the very first time, that men and women roles borned as a social construction, something that society has created and imposed.
She also explained that a woman is not obligated to be a mother if she didn’t want so. It wasn’t a duty to take care of her children but her possibility of being free to think and to choose the same opportunities as men.