Delia Derbyshire was a pioneer in electronic music who created one of the most well known TV theme tunes of all time.
Delia was born in Coventry in 1937, only two years before the outbreak of the Second World War. When the war began the government encouraged parents of young children like Delia to send them away to the relative safety of the countryside, however many chose not to. Initially, Delia’s parents were amongst them. She stayed in Coventry and lived through the famous Coventry Blitz, which razed the city to the ground. The sound of the air raid siren sounded night after night made a lasting impact on Delia, in her later life she reflected: Continue reading Delia Derbyshire
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’
Sappho was the original female singer-songwriter, an Ancient Greek Carol King or Joni Mitchell, whose songs were so memorable that people were still writing about them and passing them on centuries later.
Today her name is synonymous with lesbianism – indeed the very word ‘Lesbian’ comes from the name of the island where Sappho lived, Lesbos – due to the many lines of her poetry where she expresses strong, and sometimes sexual, feelings for other women. But there was more to Sappho than just her interest in women. Continue reading Sappho
Happy new year! I hope you’ve all had a peaceful holiday season, however you have chosen to celebrate.
As one year ends and another begins I wanted to take the opportunity to look back over the past year and share with you some 2016 Sheroes of History stats & achievements!
- The blog featured over 50 new inspiring sheroes (meaning there are now over 160 in total – what a great resource!)
- We had contributions from 32 wonderful, brilliant writers! (Thank you, I love you!)
- The blog was viewed nearly 40,000 times by 22, 891 visitors who came from 150 different countries around the world!
- The Sheroes of History Facebook page reached 1, 298 likes and we now have over 2, 600 Twitter followers!
- The most popular post on the blog was John Hudson’s contribution about Ameila Bassano Lanier, with 1, 678 views!
- There were a host of Sheroes events, including Sheroes storytelling sessions for Black History Month and a special Birmingham Sheroes event as part of Birmingham Heritage Week.
- In October I was nominated for a West Midlands Woman of the Year Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education!
- Finally – not at all Sheroes of History related, but perhaps my biggest achievement was growing and giving birth to a tiny shero!
Thank you all so much for your continued support, whether you have liked a post on Facebook, retweeted, read a post or written one – I am so hugely grateful to everyone who helps this endeavor continue.
You can be sure that 2017 will bring you many more stories of incredible sheroes of history. I continue to be inspired by the courage and passion of these women and consider it a privilege to be able to shine a spotlight on their amazing lives.
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
Annie Dodge Wauneka was a member of the Navajo tribe, who dedicated her life to improving the health & well-being of her people.
Born on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, Annie was the daughter of Navajo leader, Henry Chee Dodge. Her father was wealthy and could speak English; he had acted as a translator between the US government and the Navajo people, and become a successful businessman with a ranch, where Annie and her siblings grew up.
As a girl Annie tended to the sheep on her father’s ranch, which she enjoyed. Like many other young Navajo children, when she was 8 she was sent to the government-run boarding school. Her experience of leaving home and being sent to school led to her campaign later in life for schools to be built much closer to people’s homes across the reservation, so that children did not have to leave their families. Continue reading Annie Dodge Wauneka
Zenobia was a 3rd century warrior queen who claimed she was descended from none other than Cleopatra. She is known for conquering Egypt and thwarting the Roman Empire.
Born in Palmyra in Syria, Zenobia’s given Roman name was Julia Aurelia Zenobia. It’s reported that as a child she learnt the riding skills which would serve her well in her warrior future. Continue reading Zenobia – Warrior Queen
Dorothy Howell was an exceptional British musician, who composed over 130 pieces during her lifetime.
Dorothy was born in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1898. Her five siblings were all musical, and their father, an ironmaster by trade, was a self-taught pianist, who became the Musical Director at their local church. Dorothy’s mother was also musical, an accomplished violinist & soprano. The family used to spend time singing and playing together.
By the age of 13 Dorothy was already composing pieces. She wrote a set of six pieces for piano that were inspired by the popular Tales of Beatrix Potter. Dorothy studied at a number of convent schools in Birmingham, Belgium & London, but at the age of just 15, with promising musical abilities, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM). There she was taught by great composers and pianists including Tobias Matthay and Sir J B McEwen. Continue reading Dorothy Howell
Annie Londonderry was an unknown wife and mother until she became a global sensation as the first woman to bicycle around the world!
Annie Cohen Kopchovsky was born in Riga, Latvia in 1870. Her family set sail for America and a new life when Annie was just a child. There isn’t much record of her childhood, but by 1892 she was married with 3 children and living in Boston. Fame was just around the corner. Continue reading Annie Londonderry
Huda Sha’arawi was an Egyptian feminist and activist who founded the Egyptian Feminist Union.
Huda was born in Cairo in 1879 and came from a very wealthy Egyptian family. Life for boys and girls in Egypt at that time was quite different. As Huda grew she came to notice there were many things permitted for her brother which were forbidden to her. For example, when she saw her brother riding a horse she wanted one too, however she was told that riding wasn’t for girls. Huda was educated, but again, there were differences in the subjects she was allowed to study and those which her male relatives were. She said;
“I became depressed and began to neglect my studies, hating being a girl because it kept me from the education I sought. Later, being a female became a barrier between me and the freedom for which I yearned.” Continue reading Huda Sha’arawi