9 Women to Celebrate for International Women's Day
Did you know that March 8th was International Women's Day? What a great chance for us to celebrate some of the remarkable women who have graced this earth! This post is not about saying women are better than men. Both are equally important. We all have our role to play, and our strengths to contribute. This post is about recognizing some of the contributions of some amazing people. You may have already known some of this information about these ladies, but maybe you'll learn something new!
A Little History
First a little history. International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900’s. In 1911 Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland honored the holiday on March 19. IWD rallies were attended by over a million men and women who were all working towards women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, hold public office, and end discrimination. For more on the history of International Women’s Day see the article “History of International Women’s Day” at https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/15586/The-history-of-IWD
Unknown author. Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
- Marie worked as a governess to support her sister’s education.
- She studied at Sorbonne in Paris.
- studying the “glowing” compound in uranium salts she discovered “radioactivity.”
- She discovered two new radioactive elements with her husband Pierre.
- She received the Nobel prize in physics in 1903 with her husband.
- Marie won a second Nobel prize in 1911 in chemistry.
- Through continued research she found that radiation could be used as a cancer treatment.
- Marie created a unit of mobile medical X-ray trucks during WWI.
- She and her daughter drove them onto battlefields to help wounded soldiers.
Source: Rachel Ignotofsky, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (United States of America: Ten Speed Press, 2016), 29.
By Employee(s) of MGM - source, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44898216
- Hedy had a secret workshop where she worked on her inventions.
- Hedy thought she could solve the problem of the US Navy’s radio-guided torpedoes being easily jammed.
- She worked with George Antheil to develop the frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS).
- Her idea was initially shelved, but she still patented it in 1942.
- Hedy raised millions of dollars in war bonds during WWII.
- In 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis the military realized the value of FHSS.
- Her technology was used to control torpedoes and communication.
- FHSS is the basis for many kinds of technology including smartphones, GPS, Wi-FI, and Bluetooth devices.
- 14 years after her death in 2014, Hedy was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Source: Rachel Ignotofsky, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (United States of America: Ten Speed Press, 2016), 69.
- She had a difficult childhood with a father that was not well and drank a lot.
- Amelia trained as a nurse during WWI.
- She worked as a social worker.
- She saved money for pilots lessons.
- Her first plane was called The Canary and she bought it herself.
- She made her first flight across the Atlantic Ocean on June 17, 1928 with a team of male pilots.
- On May 20, 1932 she was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic.
- Her plane disappeared on July 2, 1937 during an attempt to fly around the entire world.
Source: Katherine Halligan, Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up The World” (New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018), 90-91.
By NASA; restored by Adam Cuerden - http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/1966-l-06717.jpeg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47431407
- Katherine always had a love of learning an math.
- She always did well in school and enrolled in college when she was 15!
- A teacher in college inspired her to become a research mathematician instead of a teacher or nurse as most women did.
- She graduated college at the age of 18.
- In the 1950s applied for a job as a NASA computer and got the job.
- She boldly asked if there was a law preventing her from attending meetings at NASA, whichresulted in her being included.
- Her skill at calculating complicated geometry equations earned her a spotworking on the 1961 manned Mercury mission. She successfully calculated the launch window.
- She also calculated the path for the first manned mission to the moon in 1969.
Source: Rachel Ignotofsky, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (United States of America: Ten Speed Press, 2016), 75
- Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany.
- As Adolf Hitler rose to power her father moved the family to Amsterdam in hope that it would be safer.
- Once the Nazis ordered her sister to report to a work camp the family went into hiding.
- They hid in secret rooms hidden by a doorway disguised as a bookcase.
- To everyone around them it appeared as thought the family disappeared.
- While in hiding Anne found comfort by writing in her diary about her dreams.
- After hiding for over two years, the family was found and sent to concentration camps.
- Anne, her sister, and mother were all sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau first, where her mother was killed.
- She and her sister were moved to Bergen-Belsen where they contracted typhus and died a few days apart from each other. Anne was only 15.
- Her father was the only one to survive in the family.
- He returned home, and a family friend who had saved Anne’s diary gave it to him.
- He had it published in 1947 so that others could hear Anne’s story.
Source: Katherine Halligan, Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up The World” (New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018), 104-105.
- Harriet was born a slave in Maryland around 1820.
- Once when working in the fields, she tried to protect another slave from a beating. She was hit on the head with a heavy weight and sustained an injury that affected her the rest of her life.
- She escaped to the northern states in 1849 by following the North Star at night in the woods.
- Once she was safe, she worried about all of those she left behind. She returned to help others.
- She returned to the South at least 19 times in the 1850s and rescued many slaves. Among them were her sister, her sister’s children, her brother, and her elderly parents.
- She designed several tricks to help make the trips safer.
- She never lost one individual that she helped escape.
- During the Civil War she served as a nurse on the battlefield. She also served as a scout and spy for the North’s Union Army.
Source: Katherine Halligan, Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up The World” (New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018), 16-17.
Photograph from Public Information Department, The National Foundation (the March of Dimes).
Forms part of New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).
- Virginia spent a lot of time in the basement laboratory with her father as he worked with his homemade telescopes and radios.
- Upon her high school graduation she was determined to become a physician even though there were few women physicians at the time.
- Through scholarships and several jobs paid for her college educations.
- She graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and surgeons in 1933, fourth in her class.
- Half way through a 2-year surgical internship she began to seek out anesthesia training.
- She worked with the nurse anesthetists at Columbia, because she could not get accepted into an anesthesiology program.
- While serving as an anethesiologist at Columbia obstetrics she created the APGAR score to evaluate newborns.
- After refining the score with a research nurse it was published in 1953.
- The APGAR score is used around the world and has withstood the test of time.
For more information about Virginia Apgar see the July 6, 2015 podcast “Dr. Virginia Apgar” from Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Source: Selma H. Calmes, MD, Anesthesia & Analgesia (https://journals.lww.com/anesthesia-analgesia/fulltext/2015/05000/dr__virginia_apgar_and_the_apgar_score__how_the.23.aspx : accessed 11 March 2021), “Dr. Virginia Apgar and the Apgar Score: How the Apgar Score Came to Be.”
"File:In het Rembrandtpleintheater te Amsterdam kopen Audrey en Mel enkele Unicef lote, Bestanddeelnr 919-5685.jpg" by Anefo is marked under CC0 1.0. To view the terms, visit http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en
Many people know Audrey Hepburn as an elegant actress who graced the stage and screen. However, she was also a tireless humanitarian.
- She gave lifelong support to UNICEF.
- She credited UNICEF for saving her from a post-WWII famine in the Netherlands.
- She became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 1989.
- She visited Turkey, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Thailand, Viet Nam, Somalia, Kenya, Switzerland, and the Sudan.
- When not visiting UNICEF projects in other countries she testified before the US Congress, participated in the World Summit for Children, and participated in many more events to further UNICEF’s mission.
- When American Photo magazine photoshopped an image of her doing humanitarian work she told the “Don’t you dare Photoshop my wrinkles out. I’ve earned every single one of them.”
- In 1992 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
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- Rosa Parks was born in 1913, and spent part of her childhood living on her grandparents farm. Her grandparents were former slaves.
- She had to walk to school, share one classroom with all of the other African American children, and sit on the floor.
- Her mother taught her that education was important, and she went to school to become a teacher. However, she had to leave school to care for her ill grandmother and mother.
- She lived during a time when laws kept black people segregated from white people.
- After a hard day of work she got on a bus to go home.
- It was a full bus and the bus driver decided to make the white section larger, and asked some of the black passengers to move farther back.
- Rosa refused to move, and the bus driver called the police. She was arrested.
- Her actions started the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Because of the boycott, the city lost a lot of money, and violence broke out across the city.
- The boycott lasted for over a year.
- Rosa used peaceful ways to inspire change.
- She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Source: Katherine Halligan, Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up The World” (New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018), 94-95.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? I’d love to hear your comments. Who inspires you?