Happy Birthday to you, Kurt Cobain <3
Laura Pollán (1948-2011) was a Cuban political
activist. She was the founder and leader of the dissident group Ladies in
White, a pacifist protest movement that won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought in 2005.
A literature teacher by profession, she became an activist in
2003, after the arrest of her husband and 74 others in a crackdown on
opposition known as the Black Spring in Cuba. Along with other spouses of
political prisoners, she organised peaceful marches demanding (and sometimes
obtaining) their release.
Marie Vassilieff (1884-1957)
was a Russian painter, part of the Montparnasse artistic community of Paris at
the beginning of the 20th century. She worked mostly in the Cubist
In 1908 she founded the Russian Academy in Paris, which
later bore her name. In addition to her art, she is also known for the canteen
she ran before and during World War I, providing not only very cheap meals, but
a place of gathering for the artistic community.
Above: Femme Assise, 1910
Jarena Lee (1783-1864) was the first woman authorised
to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was also the first
African American whose autobiography was published in the United States.
She worked as a maid from a very young age, and found a
religious calling so strong that she asked Richard Allen, the founder of the
Church, to preach, even though female preachers were unheard of. He allowed this
for the first time in 1819, after eight years, sparking an important Protestant
revival. She later became a travelling preacher and was known as one of the
most influential African American women of her time.
Maria Cuţarida-Crătunescu (1857-1919) was the first female doctor in
Romania. She was also the founder of the Maternal Society and of the first
creche in the country.
She trained to be
a doctor in Switzerland and France, graduating magna cum laude in 1884.
By 1891 she was the head of the gynecology department at the Filantropia
Hospital in Bucharest. A strong supporter of women’s rights, she presented her
study on the intellectual work of Romanian women at a 1900 Congress in Paris,
making the issue known across borders.
Thelma Chalifoux (1929-2017) was a Canadian teacher and politician. She
served as a senator for Alberta from 1997, when she became the first Métis
woman on the Canadian Senate.
From a young age, she established a
centre to help women who struggled with alcoholism and abuse, and advocated for
the promotion of Métis culture. She was the first woman to receive the National
Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994.