Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was an English writer and philosopher,
celebrated today as a pioneer for female authors. Her 1666 work The Blazing
World
is one of the earliest examples of utopian fiction and science
fiction.

She wrote extensively,
poetry, plays and other fictional works, and published them under her own name,
in a time when women still mostly wrote anonymously. She was the first woman
invited to attend a meeting of the Royal Society of London in 1667 – the Society’s
first female member was only inducted, however, in 1945.

Ellen Willis (1941-2006) was an essayist, journalist and
critic known for her feminist activism that stretched over decades. A 2014
collection of her essays entitled The Essential Ellen Willis won the
National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

She was one of the
first popular music critics working for the New Yorker, as well as a
founder of the feminist group Redstockings in 1969, and wrote numerous essays
on feminism, abortion rights or identity politics, among others. One of these
essays was the origin of the term ‘pro-sex feminism’.

Julia Slingo (b. 1950) is a climate scientist
who has been the Chief Scientist of the Met Office in the United Kingdom since 2009.
Other positions she has held include Professor of Meteorology at the University
of Reading, and Director of Climate Research in the Natural Environment
Research Council.

Her research focused
on the causes and effects of climate change, and linked the reduction in Arctic
sea ice to the colder and drier winter weather faced by the UK. In 2008, she
became the first female president of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Margot Duhalde Sotomayor (1920-2018)
was the first female military pilot and the first female air traffic
controller in Chile. She served in the Air Transport Auxiliary of the Royal Air
Force during World War II.

She
learned to fly in Santiago, Chile, then went to Europe to join the French Free
Forces at the outbreak of the war. However, they did not accept women pilots,
and she instead collaborated with the RAF, rising through the ranks as first
officer. She later returned to Chile and opened her own flight school.

Janet Norwood (1923-2015) was the first female Commissioner
of the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. She served in this position during the
Carter and Reagan administrations.

She earned a doctorate
in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University, and went on to teach political
science at Wellesley College. She was also the Chair of the Advisory Council on
Unemployment Compensation.

For my UK followers: the world is a steaming pile of trash right now, and the UK is definitely on its way there. You have the power to change that tomorrow.

I have lived in the UK for many years, and yet I have no say in its future. The current government would be very happy to kick me and the millions of people like me straight out the door. I am alarmed and angry at the situation. I do not have the right to choose my own destiny, but if you do, please don’t waste it.

Please go out and vote tomorrow, 12 December, in the general election.

Neena Schwartz (1926-2018) was an endocrinologist known for her
discovery of the hormone inhibin, and her research in female reproductive
biology. She was also a strong advocate for women in science.

She received her PhD from Northwestern
University in 1953, the only female doctoral student in the physiology
department. She later became the chair of the biology department and founded
the Center for Reproductive Science at the university. She was also a founder
of the Association for Women in Science and served as the president of the
Endocrine Society.

Marleen Goris (b. 1948) is a filmmaker from the Netherlands.
She was the first female director to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, which
she achieved in 1995 for Antonia’s Line.

Her work often deals
with feminist and LGBT issues, and features strong and complex female characters.
Other films she directed include Mrs Dalloway and The Luzhin Defence.

Lorraine Morton (1918-2018) served as the mayor of Evanston, a
town in Illinois, for sixteen years, from 1993 to 2009. She was the first
African American mayor of the town and drove the efforts to desegregate its
public schools.

Before starting her
career in politics, she was an educator, and eventually became the principal of
Evanston’s Haven Middle School, a position held for twelve years. Today, the
town’s civic centre bears her name.

Geeta Iyengar (1944-2018) was a yoga teacher in India. She is
best known for adapting and advancing the principles of yoga to better suit the
needs of women.

She was the daughter of
a famous yoga teacher, and later became an instructor in her own right, as well
as the co-director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. She undertook
numerous international teaching tours and became known as ‘the world’s leading
female yoga teacher’.