Bhikaiji Cama – ‘Mother of the Indian Revolution’

Bhikaiji Cama was an important figure in the movement for an independent India. Known to some as ‘Madam Cama’ and others as ‘The Mother of the Indian Revolution’.

Bhikaiji Sorab Patel was born on the 24th September 1861 into British-ruled India. Her young life was fairly uneventful; raised in a privileged family,  she did well at school and had a flair for languages.

In 1885 she was married, and her name became Bhikaiji Rustom Cama. Unfortunately this marriage wasn’t very successful. By this time in her life Bhikaiji had begun to have strong feelings about the British rule of India, and had become very interested in the Indian Nationalist Movement which campaigned for a free and independent country. Sadly her husband didn’t share her views, he was pro-British and enjoyed the benefits this gave him. Eventually, and controversially for the time, she left him.

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Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was born on 12th May 1910. She was a  scientist & peace campaigner, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Born in Egypt to British parents, Dorothy developed an interest in chemistry at the young age of 10. At school she and one other girl were allowed to join the boys for their chemistry lessons; when no further science education was offered to her she took private tuition to enable her to gain entry to Oxford University.

The work for which she is known, and which earned her the Nobel Prize, was her development and use of X-ray crystallography, which enabled her to discover the molecular structures of natural substances. She helped confirm the structure of penicillin, worked with insulin for over 34 years studying insulin and revealed the structure of vitamin B12.

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Georgia Douglas Johnson – “Your world is as big as you make it.”

Georgia Douglas Johnson contributed more than 200 poems, 40 plays, and 30 songs to the literary world during the Harlem Renaissance as a poet, playwright and journalist.

Her world began on September 10, 1880 when she was born as Georgia Blanche Camp to George Camp and Laura Douglass in Atlanta, Georgia.  She continued her parents’ lineage with her combined African American, Native American, and English heritages.

She graduated from Atlanta University Normal College and taught public school education in Atlanta, later becoming an assistant school principal.  She also studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland College of Music.

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Murasaki Shikibu – a novel Shero

Murasaki Shikibu is famous for writing what is considered to be the first ever novel and the greatest example of Japanese prose. Her epic story, The Tale of Genji has been read and studied around the world ever since she wrote it over a thousand years ago.

Born in the year 973 to the Fujiwara family, Murasaki had writing in her blood. Both her grandfather and great-grandfather had been well known poets in Japan, while her father was a respected scholar of Chinese classics and poetry.

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Odette Hallowes

Odette Marie Celine Brailly was born on 28th April 1912. She is one of the most famous Allied spies of the Second World War.

The story for which she is remembered began two years into the Second World War, when the government in England appealed for photos of France which they could use to help them with their operations there. Odette contacted the War Office with photos of her homeland. This act led to her being recruited & trained by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and in 1942 she was sent to Nazi occupied France to work undercover.

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Lillian Harman

Lillian Harman, born in 1869, was the daughter of radical newspaper editor and social reformer Moses Harman. She campaigned for changes to the way society treated women from an early age and, alongside her brother George, helped her father publish a number of provocative newspapers.

Lillian went on to become an important voice in late nineteenth-century campaigns for social and sexual equality in her own right. She published widely on the importance of giving women the power to choose if and when they became mothers, as well as their right to access birth control.

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Emily Davies

Sarah Emily Davies was born on 22nd April 1830 in Southampton, England. She helped start the first college in England for women.

Emily Davies was involved in women’s rights throughout her life. She edited a magazine which focused on women’s rights called The English Woman’s Journal, and was one of a number of like-minded women who formed The Kensington Society, a group where where they met to discuss equality issues such as the right to vote and the right to education.

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