Lyudmila Alexeyeva (1927-2018) was a human rights activist, and one of the last Soviet
dissidents active in Russia.
She was a typist for the underground bulletin The Chronicle of Current Events, which detailed human rights violation
in Soviet Russia. Eventually, she was forced to flee to the United States,
where she worked for Radio Free Europe and continued to be involved in
dissident activities and publications. She was a founder of the Moscow Helsinki
Group, Russia’s leading human rights organisation.
Peggy Jones (1940-2015),
also known as Lady Bo, was a musician, considered a pioneer of rock and roll.
She was sometimes called the Queen Mother of Guitar.
She played rhythm guitar in Bo Diddley’s band
in the 1950s and 60s, becoming one of the very few female guitarists visible in
the world of rock and roll. Her independent project, the band the Jewels, was a
top R&B band on the east coast scene.
Shirley Strickland (1925-2004) was an Australian athlete. With a total of seven Olympic
medals (of which 3 gold), she won more than any other Australian in running
In addition to her sports career, she held
a degree in Physics and taught at Perth Technical College. She participated in three
Summer Olympics from 1948 to 1956, and was involved in the administration of the
Australian team for two more. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of
Australia in 2001.
Pola Uddin (b.
1959) is a life peer in the House of Lords, part of the British Parliament. She
is the first Muslim and second Asian woman to sit in the UK Parliament.
Born in Pakistan, she moved to the UK when
she was 13, and later became a Community worker with the YMCA and the manager
of the Tower Hamlets Women’s Health Project. She was invited to the House of
Lords in 1998, and has since built a reputation of standing up for human
rights, particularly women’s rights. In 1999 she created the first centre for
the education and training of Asian women in London.
Constance Adams (1964-2018) was an architect who worked extensively in space programmes.
She contributed to the design of the cabin for the International Space Station,
and was considered a foremost expert in spaceport planning.
She studied sociology at Harvard, followed
by architecture at Yale. Since the late 1990s, she worked for Lockheed Martin
Space Operations at NASA. In 2005, she was named an Emerging Explorer by National
Louisa Stevenson (1835-1908) was a suffragist and women’s rights activist from
Scotland. She was particularly active in the campaign for female education.
She was a member of the Edinburgh Ladies’
Educational Association, and was part of the efforts which led to Scottish universities
being open to female students in 1892. She was one of the first women to ever
serve on a hospital board, and helped manage the Jubilee Nurses Institute and
the Colonial Nursing Organisation.
Tatyana Kuznetsova (1941-2018) was the youngest person ever selected to be a part of a
human spaceflight programme. This happened in 1961, when she was selected as
one of five female cosmonauts by the Soviet government.
She worked as a stenographer for the Ministry
of Radioelectronic Industry, but also took up parachuting as a hobby, becoming
a regional and national champion by the age of 20. She was selected for the
programme as a preparation for the first woman in space – an honour that
eventually went to Valentina Tereshkova.
Monique Wittig (1935-2003) was a French writer and feminist theorist. Her novels exclusively
depict women and are considered feminist and lesbian classics.
She has written numerous novels, short stories
and essays, mostly dealing with feminist themes. She is a main theorist of
material feminism and coined the phrase ‘heterosexual contract’, where the patriarchal
society exists as a result of the norms existing between men and women.
Maria Dalle Donne (1778-1842) was the first woman to ever obtain a doctorate in
medicine. She achieved this in 1799 at the University of Bologna.
Her research focused on female reproduction and
fertility, as well as neonatal medical issues. She was the second woman to ever
become a member of the prestigious Ordine
dei Benedettini Accademici Pensionati, and in 1832 she became the Director of the Department of Midwifery at
the University of Bologna.
Suzan Pitt (1943-2019)
was a painter and animator, whose career lasted more than four decades. She was
known for her acclaimed surrealist films.
Her first film was released in 1970, and
her best-known work, Asparagus, debuted in 1979 at the Whitney Museum of
American Art. She was also a professor at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts
at Harvard, and later at the California Institute of the Arts.