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Women’s History Month: 5 Women You Should Know

With April just around the corner, Women’s History Month is coming to a close. This is your last chance to celebrate women’s history “officially” this year (though, of course, you can and should continue to celebrate it year-round)! Keeping this in mind, here are five amazing women who you may not have heard of but definitely need to learn about in honor of Women’s History Month.


1. Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”


Reasons You Should Know Her:

-She was an accomplished poet and author as well as the poet laureate of New York from 1991-1992.

-She was an outspoken activist for women, African-Americans, the LGBT community, and all oppressed groups of people.

-She, along with Barbara Smith and Cherríe Moraga, founded the first publishing company for women of color in the U.S. in 1980 called Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.

-She criticized feminist organizations and theories in the 1960s for only addressing the issues of middle-class, white women and urged feminists to consider how class, race, age, gender, and health influence women’s experiences.


2. Isabella Bird (1831-1904)

“I have found a dream of beauty at which one might look all one’s life and sigh.”

Reasons You Should Know Her:

-As a female explorer in the 19th century, she embodies “wanderlust.”

-When her doctor advised her to travel to improve her chronic poor health, she listened and began a prolific career as a travel writer and photographer.

-Her travels encouraged her to become politically active, and she spoke out against the Armenian genocide under Abdul al-Hamid II when she returned to Britain.

-She never let age slow her down, journeying to Africa when she was 70.


3. Lakshmi Sahgal (1914-2012)

“Freedom comes in three forms: political, economic, and social emancipation.”


Reasons You Should Know Her:

-She was a revolutionary in the Indian independence movement.

-During the 1940s, she led an all-women regiment in the Indian National Army called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment that sought to overthrow British Raj in colonial India.

-In addition to being active in the military, she was also a doctor and offered her medical services before, during, and after her military service.

-She became the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government.


4. Mária Telkes AKA “The Sun Queen” (1900-1995)

“Sunlight will be used as a source of energy sooner or later… Why wait?”


Reasons You Should Know Her:

-She invented a solar distiller that could make seawater drinkable.

-She designed and built the world’s first modern home heated by solar energy in 1948.

-She helped develop materials that could withstand the extreme temperatures of space.

-In 1952, she received the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award ,becoming its first recipient.


5. Shirin Ebadi (1947-present)

“I maintain that nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence.”


Reasons You Should Know Her:

-She is an accomplished lawyer and human rights activist who represents clients who have fallen out of favor with the Iranian political system.

-She became the first female judge in Iran in 1975.

-She founded the Association for Support of Children’s Rights and the Human Rights Defense Centerto help protect against child abuse and preserve human rights.

-She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her dedication to democracy and human rights, becoming the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to receive this honor.


If you’d like to learn more about any of these impressive women, check out the following links: Audre Lorde, Isabella Bird, Lakshmi Sahgal, Mária Telkes, and Shirin Ebadi.

Image credits: Dia.org, Britannica.com, Youtube.com, Amysmartgirls.com, thefamouspeople.com

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