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September 15, 2020
Amazing women you've never heard of

Women have long shaped the world and not been recognised for it. Here are some women that changed...


minute read

Throughout history there have been so many amazing and influential women who have played a huge part in making our world what it is today. From Marie Curie to Rosa Parks women have lead the way in so many different fields. I wanted to take the time to recognise some of the unsung heroines who have shaped our future. So in no particular order, drum role please…

1. Henrietta Swan Leavitt

Henrietta Leavitt was one of the first women ‘computers’ to work at Harvard University. During Henrietta’s time at Harvard she researched the Cepheid variable stars, analysing the brightness of stars, which must have been difficult considering women weren’t allowed to operate telescopes. Henrietta discovered that the sky wasn’t 2D and was in fact 3D and noted that that all someone needed to do was work out the distance between the stars. Her observation sat for over 10 years until after her death when Edwin Hubble used her work to show the extent of the universe.

2. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably aware of the Black Lives Matter movement. What you may not know is who are the three women who founded the movement. In 2013, Alicia, Patrisse and Opal created the movement in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder. It all started with a simple Facebook post that lead to the hashtag - #BlackLivesMatter. It’s amazing to see how social media can be used for the good of the world.

3. Andree da Jongh

Andree helped allied airmen get through Nazi occupied Belgium and France to safety in Spain and Gibraltar, forming the Comet Line. She saved 118 airmen throughout her 24 missions. Although she was eventually captured the Nazi’s didn’t believe she could have done it because of her young age and she was sent to a concentration camp instead. After the Second World War she escaped the camp and at aged 90 died in 2007.

4. Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda’s husband F. Scott Fitzgerald is famously known as the writer of works such as ‘The Great Gatsby’. What people don’t know is he took writing, word for word from Zelda’s diary. Zelda published her own work but it was never quite as popular as her husbands.

5. Beulah Henry

Ever wonder who came up with ideas of the everyday items we use such as can openers and hair curlers? Well it was Beulah Henry. Beulah was behind 49 different patents and over 100 inventions. She also made huge improvements to typewriters and the sewing machine.

6. Rosalind Franklin

Most of the credit for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA goes to Francis Crick and James Watson. What you don’t hear is that the discovery wouldn’t have happened without Rosalind Franklin. Rosalind captured a clear and concise image of DNA using her x-ray crystallography skills. Her picture was later stolen and shown to Watson.

7. Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Gibb

It’s hard to imagine that women would be told they’re ‘not physically able’ to run a marathon but that was the situation for Bobbi Gibb in 1966. After being denied a bib by the Boston Athletic Association, Gibb snuck into the race and competed alongside the male competitors. She finished in a time of 3 hours and 21 minutes beating a lot of her male counterparts.

8. Lois Jenson

Working in a mining company proved difficult in 1975 with sexual harassment being a continual issue for Lois and the women she worked with. Women were called ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’ as well as being groped, threated, and told they didn’t belong there. Lois filed a complaint with the state and after a 14 year legal battle she became the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in America. Lois has paved the way for many other women to step forward and take action.

9. Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace wasn’t just the child of the famous poet Lord Byron, she was also the world’s first computer programmer. Ada’s love of numbers lead to her publishing the first ever computer algorithm in the mid-1800s.

10. Alice Coachman

After being told that she couldn’t train on the same athletic fields as her white competitors, Alice decided to make her own courses on dirt roads and obstacles using ropes and sticks to make hurdles. Alice’s perseverance and determination enabled her to become the first black women to win an Olympic Gold Medal in 1948, for the high jump.

Emma McQuiggan

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