Category Archives: Activists & Revolutionaries

Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero

Jane Addams was born in 1860–the daughter of a wealthy Illinois businessman. At the age of two, her mother died after falling on ice while pregnant. This left Jane empathetic to how fate could work against a person. Continue reading Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero

Eleanor Marx: ‘Mother of socialist feminism’

Eleanor Marx has been called the ‘mother of socialist feminism’. She was a political agitator, literary translator, actress and campaigner for workers’ rights – deserving of accolades in her own right as more than just the daughter of her more well known father. Continue reading Eleanor Marx: ‘Mother of socialist feminism’

Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda

Margaret, Lady Rhondda, lived a life of wealth and privilege but she was not afraid to stand up for her beliefs as well as support them financially.  An only child, she was strongly influenced by her parents Sybil Haig – an active suffragette and David Thomas a Welsh businessman and long standing liberal MP.  She was Secretary of the Newport branch of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) and she joined in with a number of militant and even violent actions, including protest marches and attempting to blow up a postbox.  She spent a brief spell in prison before being released after going on hunger strike. Continue reading Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda

Lucinda Hinsdale Stone

Lucinda Hinsdale was born September 30, 1814 in Hinesburg, VT to Aaron & Lucinda (Mitchell) Hinsdale. Lucinda spent her early years attending the public school, briefly attending a female seminary before finding the academic rigor less than what she desired and at age 13 went to Hinesburg Academy, a boys’ high school. Though she surpassed her male counterparts in the curriculum of Greek, Latin, French, and literature, the gender biases of the time kept her from continuing on to college studies, so at age 15 she became a schoolteacher, which was a common occurrence during that time. Continue reading Lucinda Hinsdale Stone

Julia Varley: champion of the woman worker

In September 2016, as part of Birmingham Heritage Week, Sheroes of History organised an event about Birmingham Sheroes at The Library of Birmingham. It was a pleasure to hear Dr Cathy Hunt speak about Julia Varley. Below is a transcript of her talk. [Not to be cited without the author’s permission.]

The woman I am going to talk about this evening was not a native Brummie. She was born in Bradford in 1871, but I think that the fact that there is a blue plaque on the house in which she lived in Bournville for a large part of her adult life, highlighting the work that she did for women’s suffrage and for trade unionism gives her at least honorary Brummie status – and well deserved it is too. Continue reading Julia Varley: champion of the woman worker

Rachel Carson and the Paradigm Shift

In 2007, a member of the United States Senate drafted a resolution to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of a famous biologist; a woman who had been most at home with her nose in a book or on the shores of the sea. Things didn’t go as planned. Havoc ensued as a senator from Oklahoma mounted an outraged resistance against the woman’s memory. The controversial woman was Rachel Carson.

Carson grew up in Pennsylvania and was born with a gift for words—she talked early and had a story published in a St. Nicholas magazine when she was eleven . Continue reading Rachel Carson and the Paradigm Shift

Sheila Kitzinger

Sheila Kitzinger was a British natural childbirth advocate who campaigned for women to have more say in their birth choices. She was an anthropologist and author who was referred to as ‘the Birth Mother of the nation’ and the ‘high priestess of natural childbirth.’

Sheila was born in Taunton on 29th March 1929. Her father, Alec, was a tailor, while her mother, Clare, was Sheila’s inspiration – working for a family planning clinic, campaigning for access to birth control and counselling women from the family living room. It was observing her mother fulfil these roles that sowed the seeds of Sheila’s own passion to support expectant and new mothers. She said about her mother,  Continue reading Sheila Kitzinger