Katharine Dexter was the first woman to get a science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in biology in 1904. The curriculum was research heavy and besides the demanding work, she had to petition the college twice—once for permission to work in chemistry laboratories without a hat and again to be allowed to wear a shorter skirt. The reason for the later—she didn’t want her dress to drag across the unclean floors. Her plan was to go into medicine. Continue reading Katherine Dexter McCormick; Godmother to the birth control pill
During a time when those in power were clinging to rigidity in all aspects of public and private domains, Isadora Duncan scoffed at tradition and made the world take notice. She used her passion for freedom to unshackle the female body and develop an entire new form of celebrating life – dance. Continue reading Isadora Duncan
It should not be surprising to learn that these inventions were made by women because they were the ones who recognized what could make a day of housework easier and more efficient. They knew the cost of making a household run effectively and were always trying to make ends meet. The reasons behind the inventions may not always have been the most admirable, as in the case of Josephine Cochrane, but all of them made herstory. Continue reading The “Aha” Moments of 6 Industrious Women Inventors
Qiu Jin is sometimes called the Chinese Joan of Arc; she was a feminist revolutionary who became a national heroine in China after she was martyred.
Qiu was born in 1875 in Xiamen, Fujian into a time where women in China were believed to be lesser than men, and were treated as such. When she was five, as was the norm for girls at the time, her family began binding her feet. She came from a wealthy family and as such was lucky to have access to a good education. She loved reading and began writing her own poetry from a young age. She also enjoyed more physical activities, which were less conventional for girls at the time, such as horse riding and sword fighting! Despite this, the expectations put upon her were the same as for any young woman of the time: that she marry and become an obedient wife and mother. Continue reading Qiu Jin – “Don’t tell me women are not the stuff of heroes”
Born in Nebraska in 1854, Susette, also called Inshata Theumba (Bright Eyes), had French and Native American ancestry. That year the United States government promised the Omaha tribe would keep 300,000 acres of their traditional lands for their reservation. Susette’s father believed the Omaha must accept reservation life to survive. Young Susette learned to read and write English at the reservation missionary school.
But corrupt government agents pocketed tribal funds while doling out shoddy goods and poor food. The Omaha faced hunger and suffering. And they knew, like other tribes, that treaties did not protect them from the threat of removal to Indian Territory, an arid, harsh land in present-day Oklahoma. Continue reading Susette La Flesche; Native American Activist
Maria Theresa is perhaps best known as Marie Antoinette‘s formidable mother, but Maria Theresa always kept her focus on her kingdom and was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last ruler of the House of Habsburg.
As ruler, Empress Maria Theresa was a strategic, energetic woman who many people said was tactful like a woman but thoughtful like a man. Under her rule, two great wars were fought—War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War—both of which proved to be highly beneficial to Austria in strengthening its laws and introducing needed reforms. In addition, the Empress made Austria a modern state characterized by commercial enterprises and extraordinary intellectual activity.
Continue reading Empress Maria Theresa: A Formidable Ruler
Althea Gibson was born in August 1927 in South Carolina where her parents worked on a cotton farm. When the Great Depression struck, Althea’s family, like many others across the country, were hit hard. In 1930 they packed up and moved north to Harlem. Once there her family weren’t wealthy and relied on benefits to get by.