Nina Bang (1866-1928)
was a Danish politician and historian. She was appointed Minister of Education
in 1924, becoming the first female minister in an internationally recognized government.
She studied history at the University of
Copenhagen and was one of the first Danish women to obtain a degree. She was
the only woman on the executive committee of the Social Democratic Party in the
country. As minister, her priority was improving teacher training and the
Danish school system.
Jan Morris (b.
1926) is a Welsh author and historian. She is best known for her Pax Britannica
trilogy, a comprehensive history of the British Empire.
Assigned male at birth, she underwent surgery in
1972 and published the autobiography Conundrum two years later, one of
the first books to discuss the personal experience of a trans person. She
received the Golden PEN Award for a “Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to
Literature” in 2005.
Edith Hamilton (1867-1963) is known as one of the most important classical scholars
of her era in the United States. She is renowned in the field for her essays
and books on ancient Greek and Roman civilisations.
She studied at Bryn Mawr College, and went on to
pursue higher education in Germany, becoming the first female student of the
University of Munich. She returned to become the head administrator of Bryn
Mawr in 1896, and its first headmistress in 1906. Even though she published her
first book, The Greek Way, at the age of sixty-two, all of her
publications are considered crucial classical texts.
Sophia of Prussia (1870-1932) was Queen consort of Greece during the early 20th
century. She is remembered for her charitable actions and philanthropy.
A granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she
married the Greek heir to the throne in 1889 and first became queen in 1913.
She was very active in developing soup kitchens and hospitals throughout the
country, and founded the Union of Greek Women, which provided assistance to
refugees from the Ottoman Empire. She was also a founder of the Greek Animal
Protection Society. During wars, she set up field hospitals and oversaw the
training of volunteer nurses.
Scott (1921-2019) was an
American historian, specialised in the history of the South, with a focus on
women in history. She taught at Duke University, where she became the first
female chair of the history department.
Her best known book
is the 1970 The Southern Lady: From
Pedestal to Politics, now considered a classic and a stepping stone in the
field of Southern women’s history. She served as the president of the Organization
of American Historians and of the Southern Historical Association.
is considered a national heroine in her native country of Belgium. She was a
spy for the British Secret Service during WWI, and was executed for it.
At the beginning of
the war, she worked as a volunteer to the Belgian Red Cross. She was later
recruited by the British and provided them with information about the movements
of enemy troops, as well as delivering the resistance newspaper La Libre Belgique. She was captured and
executed by a German firing squad at the age of 23, after refusing to testify
against other agents in exchange for amnesty. Her statue in Brussels is the
first statue in the country in honour of a working-class woman.
was the first wife of Henry VIII and Queen of England for a period of 24 years.
Although this is what she is mostly remembered for today, she was an important
figure of her time in political and cultural circles.
In 1507, she was the ambassador of the
Aragonese Crown to England, which made her the first female ambassador in
European history. She was a patron of Renaissance humanism and encouraged
female education. Thomas Cromwell affirmed about her that “If not for her sex, she could have defied
all the heroes of History.”
Dupree (1927-2017) was a historian whose research focused primarily on modern
Afghanistan. She was known as the ‘grandmother of Afghanistan’ after spending
most of her life in the country.
She lived in India and the United States before settling in Afghanistan,
where she wrote five books on the country’s history, and eventually became the
director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University.
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) was an author and social activist. She is best remembered for writing the lyrics to the famous Civil War song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
She wrote the song in 1862, after which it quickly became one of the most popular anthems of the Union. She was also a dedicated suffragist, and was a leader of the American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1881 she was chosen as president of the Association for the Advancement of Women.
Sheila Scott (1922-1988) was the first person in the world to fly over the North Pole in a small aircraft. In addition to this, she broke over 100 aviation records throughout her career.
She learned to fly in 1958, and by 1971 had flown around the world on three occasions. She was the founder and first governor of the British branch of the women pilots’ association The Ninety-Nines.