was a French nurse, one of the founders of the Canadian city of Montreal. She
established the first hospital in the city, Hotel-Dieu de Montreal, in 1645.
emigrated in 1641, and helped found the new city a year later. She was the
director of its hospital for 17 years, and returned to France several times
throughout her life to seek financial assistance for it.
Simmonds (b. 1994)
is a Paralympian from England. She set multiple world records and won numerous medals
in swimming events.
record includes eight in Paralympic Games (five gold) and 12 in World
Championships (8 gold). She is a patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK and
an ambassador for WaterAid.
Cameron (b. 1958)
is a feminist linguist, currently a Professor of Language and Communication at
Oxford University. Her research focuses on the relationship between language
taught at multiple universities around the United Kingdom and the United
States. One of her most famous books is the 2008 The Myths of Mars and Venus:
Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages?, challenging the idea of
biological differences being responsible for linguistic differences.
Settle Putney (1916-2008)
was an educator and historian who served as one of the first African American members
of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. After her military service, she
dedicated the rest of her life to documenting the achievements of African
Americans in the armed forces.
She was one
of 40 African-American women selected for the Women’s Army Corps in 1943, and
she soon earned the rank of Lieutenant. After the war, she obtained a PhD in
European History and started focusing on black servicemen and women, writing
three books a dozen articles about them.
Qiu Jin (1875-1907) is considered a national
heroine in China, seen as a martyr of feminism and republicanism.
She was a
dedicated proponent of women’s rights, speaking out for their freedom to marry
who they wanted or to pursue education. Her manifesto, “A Respectful
Proclamation to China’s 200 Million Women Comrades”, condemned oppressive practices
such as foot binding and received overwhelming popular support. She was captured
and beheaded for her anti-government activities, at the age of only 31.
(1920-2016) was a
Dutch social worker and psychoanalysts. She saved hundreds of Dutch Jewish
children during the Second World War.
beginning of the war, she started working with the Dutch underground movement,
helping to distribute food and clothes for Jewish people in hiding. She saved
countless children by placing them in non-Jewish homes, and adults by securing
false papers and ration cards for them. After the war, she worked with the
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Germany.
was an author, actress, and lesbian rights activist from London. She worked throughout
her life for better representation and extended rights for homosexual women.
She was not
aware of her own sexual identity for a long time, but eventually came out
publicly in 1969, joining the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. She was one of
the founders of Sappho in 1972, one of the longest-running lesbian publications
in the UK.
was a pioneering French aviator. She set several world speed records throughout
the 1950s and 1960s.
She got her
pilot’s license in 1948, followed by her military one in 1950. She then
qualified as one of the very few female test pilots in the world, and one of
the first women to break the sound barrier. She was awarded the Harmon Trophy
for outstanding aviators on four occasions.
is the inventor of the iconic Barbie doll. She also served as the president of
for the Barbie doll came from seeing her daughter, Barbara, play with paper
dolls, which had their limitations. Barbie was launched in 1959 and eventually
became one of the most popular toys in the world. After being diagnosed with
breast cancer, Handler also founded a breast prosthesis company.
was a pro-independence campaigner in India. She was also a devoted social and
women’s rights activist.
campaigning for Indian independence at only fourteen, and was arrested several
times by the British for her activism. She also opened a school for the
children of the tribal population in her area, and was active in Bhoodan
Movement, which aimed to persuade wealthy landowners to give some of their land
to the less fortunate.