Category: born on this day

Begum Khaleda Zia (b. 1945) served as the Prim…

Begum
Khaleda Zia
(b. 1945) served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for two terms,
1991-1996 and again 2001-2006. She was the first female head of a democratic
government in her country, and the second in a Muslim-majority country.

During her time as Prime Minister, the GDP
of Bangladesh increased considerably, and the country opened to international
investment. Her government also worked to alleviate poverty and support female
education.

Debbie Meyer (b. 1952) is a former swimmer and…

Debbie
Meyer
(b. 1952) is a former swimmer and three-time Olympic champion. She has
set world records in four different events, and was the first swimmer to ever
win three individual medals at the Olympic Games.

She broke 15 world records in the sport
even while struggling with asthma. In addition, she broke 24 American records.

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a dedicated suffrag…

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a
dedicated suffragist and abolitionist in the United States. She helped found
the American Woman Suffrage Association.

She attended Oberlin College, and was the
first woman in Massachusetts to have a degree. She devoted her life and career
to advancing the rights of African Americans and of women through multiple
anti-slavery and civil rights associations.

Eva Ahnert-Rohlfs (1912-1954) was a German ast…

Eva
Ahnert-Rohlfs
(1912-1954) was a German astronomer who made significant contributions to
the study of variable stars.

She studied at the University of Gottingen,
and later became an assistant astronomer at the Sonneberg Observatory. She received
a doctorate in astrophysics in 1951.

Era Bell Thompson (1905-1986) was an author an…

Era Bell Thompson (1905-1986) was an
author and editor who was an influential figure in African-American studies.
She was an editor for Ebony magazine
for almost 40 years.

After studying journalism at the
University of North Dakota and Northwestern University, she joined Ebony as an associate editor, and helped
shape the magazine’s vision throughout the decades. She published the book Africa, Land of My Fathers, in 1954,
detailing her experience of visiting 18 African countries.

Carmen Balcells (1930-2015) was a Spanish lite…

Carmen Balcells (1930-2015) was a
Spanish literary agent, seen as a main driving force behind the Latin American
literary boom during the 1960s. She discovered and represented six winners of
the Nobel Prize.

She founded her own literary agency
in 1956, and led it for almost 50 years. Having represented authors such as
Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez or Isabel Allende, she is considered
one of the most influential people in the world of Spanish-language literature.

Ernestina Pérez Barahona (1865-1951) was one o…

Ernestina Pérez Barahona (1865-1951) was one
of the first women to graduate with a medical degree in Chile. She was the
second female doctor in the country and in the whole South American continent,
graduating days after her compatriot Eloísa Díaz Insunza.

She graduated from Universidad de
Chile in 1887, at the age of 21. She went on to specialise in gynecology in
Berlin, where she was physically separated from her all-male classmates by a screen.
She returned to Chile and dedicated her career to the advancement of female
education and health.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) was a promi…

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) was a prominent activist for women’s rights in the United States. She advocated for campaigns such as female suffrage and birth control.

She played a leading role as an organiser for Industrial Workers of the World, and later founded the American Civil Liberties Union. She was arrested several times for her convictions.

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was a pioneering figu…

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was a pioneering figure of American TV. She was the star of multiple self-produced sitcoms such as the popular I Love Lucy and Life With Lucy.

She began by acting in various Broadway shows and Hollywood films before dedicating herself to television. In 1962, she co-founded Desilu Productions, and so became the first woman to ever run a major television studio.

Gertrude Rush (1880-1962) was the first Africa…

Gertrude Rush (1880-1962) was the first African-American female lawyer in the state of Iowa. She achieved this in 1914, and remained the only African-American woman to practice law in the state for almost 40 years.

In 1921 she became president of the Colored Bar Association. She helped found the Negro Bar Association (known today as the National Bar Association) in 1925, along with other four black lawyers, after they were denied admission to the American Bar Association.