Hind Al-Husseini

Hind Al-Husseini was born in occupied Jerusalem on April 25, 1916 to two Jerusalemite Palestinian parents. Her father died when she was only two years old, and left her mum to bring up her and her brothers on her own.

Despite the difficult conditions Hind’s mother faced, she was determined that Hind should pursue her education. Hind finished Elementary school in 1922 and she then joined the English Secondary School to become a teacher and graduated in 1937. She quit teaching in 1945 and decided to take on social work, and became the coordinator of the Women Social Cooperative Society in Jerusalem.

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Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was a poet and the first African American woman to have her work published.

Phillis Wheatley, as her name became, was born in West Africa (probably Senegal). Her African birth name is unknown to us now, because when she was only 7 years old she was kidnapped and shipped to America to be sold as a slave. The ship she sailed on was called The Phillis, from which she got her new name. The family she was sold to were the Wheatleys.

The Wheatley’s daughter taught Phillis to read and write, which was quite unusual for a slave. She was a quick learner; by the time she was 9 years old she had mastered English, by the time she was 12 she could handle Greek and Latin too! The Wheatley family encouraged her learning and she began to read all the books she could lay her hands on.

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Penelope Queen of Ithaca

Penelope was the daughter of Icarius of Sparta and his wife Periboea. Although she is the cousin of Helen of Sparta/Troy her lineage is not what she is famous for, Penelope is famous for being the wife of the Greek hero Odysseus, together they were king and queen of Ithaca, they also had one son together – Telemachus.

In the ancient world, particularly Greece, women were ‘seen and not heard’. Men would marry women specifically for the purpose of having children, preferably a boy. Women could not attend assemblies or be a council member, they could not have an education, they did not have jobs or even the right to marry who they wanted, arranged marriage was what would be expected in the ancient Greek world. The women’s main jobs were to provide male heirs and to look after the household (the household being the slaves, cooks and farm hands).

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