Karolina Widerström – Sweden’s First Female Physician

Karolina Widerström, born in 1856, enjoyed a long and productive career not only as a physician but also as a politician and a champion of women’s rights. Her father, a physiotherapist, encouraged his daughter to follow in his footsteps, which she did. However, Widerström soon realised that she wanted to go into medicine.

Women were given the right to obtain an academic degree in Sweden in 1873, and Widerström began her medical studies in Uppsala in 1879. She received a licentiate degree in medicine from the Karolinska Institute in 1888.

Continue reading Karolina Widerström – Sweden’s First Female Physician

Advertisements

Margaret Bondfield

Margaret Bondfield was a leading trade unionist, a camaigner for women’s rights and the first female member of the British Cabinet.

Margaret was born in Somerset in 1873. She came from a big family and was the eleventh child! Her parents were textile workers, and her father was known for his radical political views.

When she was just 14 Margaret left home to go and work in a fabric shop in Hove. While working there she became friends with Louisa Martindale, who was part of the women’s rights movement. Louisa invited Margaret to her house and let her borrow books about working people’s rights and socialism which began to really inspire young Margaret’s mind.

Continue reading Margaret Bondfield

Rosa Parks

This post is written by Eve Freeman, who is 8 years old, making her our youngest Shero contributor yet! She was inspired when she found out about Rosa Parks and has written a short piece about what she discovered.

If you know a Young Shero (or hero) that would like to write for the Sheroes of History blog, please get in touch!

Rosa Parks was a black woman who fought for the rights of African-Americans. Her full-name was Rosa Louise McCauley and she was born in Alabama in the United States of America on February 4, 1913.

Continue reading Rosa Parks

Kate Sheppard

‘All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex is inhuman and must be overcome.’
Kate Sheppard

Born Catherine Wilson Malcolm on 10 March 1847 in Liverpool, England, Kate – as she preferred to be called – spent her early childhood in London, Dublin and Nairn. Kate’s uncle, who was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland in Nairn, was influential in her religious and moral education and her later adherence to Christian Socialism.

In 1869 after almost a three month journey, Kate, along with her mother and three of her siblings, arrived in New Zealand to join her sister, who had already been living in Christchurch. In 1871 Kate married Christchurch grocer Walter Allen Sheppard. During the early years of her marriage she became an active member of the Trinity Congregational Church and with other members of her family was involved in the temperance movement.

Continue reading Kate Sheppard

Princess Pingyang – ‘No Ordinary Woman’

Princess Pingyang was decidedly more fearsome than her name might suggest. She led an army that helped to establish one of China’s greatest dynasties, and as her father said, ‘she was no ordinary woman’.

Born in 600 AD, Pingyang was the daughter of Li Yuan. Li was born a peasant and had risen through the ranks of the army to become a military commander. The Emperor at the time was the second leader of the Sui Dynasty and was known as Yangdi. Yangdi was not a popular ruler. The people of China saw him as a villain and grew increasingly unhappy with his rule, the things he spend money on and the rising taxes. The whispers of rebellion began to stir as more and more people grew opposed to him.

Continue reading Princess Pingyang – ‘No Ordinary Woman’

Empress Matilda

Empress Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England and his first wife Matilda of Scotland. At aged 8, Matilda was sent to Germany in betrothal to Henry V of Germany, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope.

As Henry’s Empress, Matilda wielded authority when her husband was absent. She gained practical experience of exercising political power and widespread popularity as ‘Good Matilda’.  When her husband died in 1125, Matilda was just 23 and childless, so she returned to England.

During her absence, her only legitimate brother William had died in 1120 in the ‘White Ship disaster’, when his boat sank during a drunken crossing of the English Channel. This left King Henry and England without a direct male heir at a time when every Norman succession had been fought over. To ensure the succession, Henry’s barons swore on oath to recognise Matilda, and any of her future children, as heirs to the throne.

Continue reading Empress Matilda

Benazir Bhutto – Iron Lady of Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto became the first female leader of an Islamic state when she was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988.

This week’s post is inspired by a young woman I heard speak last weekend. I was privileged to hear Malala Yousafzai (a modern day Shero if ever there was one) speak at the launch of her new book in Birmingham on Sunday. When asked the question ‘Is there anyone who inspires you?’ she spoke about Benazir Bhutto. So I thought I would find out a bit more about the woman who inspires the girl who inspires so many others!

Continue reading Benazir Bhutto – Iron Lady of Pakistan