Geneviève Thiroux (1720-1805) was an 18th-century
chemist, novelist and translator from France. She was the author of an
important study on the chemical process of putrefaction.
highly educated in both humanities and sciences, and published numerous French
translations of novels and scientific treaties alike. She published her Essay on the History of Putrefaction in
1766 as the result of over 300 experiments she conducted herself.
(1768-1838) was an important feminist figure during the French
Revolution. She founded the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women and
became its president in 1793.
She became involved in politics after witnessing the execution of several
riot leaders. In 1792, she suggested the formation of a female militia. Later,
in 1793, she became the leader of the Femmes Sans-Culottes.
Caccini (1587-1641) was an Italian musician during the early Baroque era. Her
only surviving stage work, La liberazione
di Ruggiero, is likely the oldest opera in the world by a female composer.
She was part of the Medici court as a teacher and singer, and quickly
became the highest paid musician there. Although very little of her music
survives, there is evidence she was a very prolific and talented composer.
Burnett Talbert (1866-1923) was an activist for the rights of African Americans and
women. She was one of the most prominent black women in the United States in
After graduating from Oberlin College, she became a teacher, and later
the assistant principal of Union High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, thus
becoming the highest-position African American woman in the state. She founded
the Niagara Movement, a very early organization for civil rights and a predecessor
of the NAACP.
Blackwell (1857-1950) was an American suffragist and human rights advocate. She was
the daughter of another very influential feminist, Lucy Stone.
She was responsible for bringing together two of the most important
organizations in the movement for women’s voting rights under the name NAWSA:
the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In addition to her work in
the United States, she travelled to Armenia, where she worked to improve the lives
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.
Gerda Taro (1910-1937) was a Jewish German war photographer. She is the first female photojournalist to have died on the frontline of a war.
She was detained in 1933 for sharing propaganda against the National Socialist Party, but managed to escape Germany before the Second World War. She documented the Spanish Civil War in many photographs, and became well-known in antifascist circles around Europe. Sadly, she died while riding in a car carrying wounded Republican soldiers, when a tank crashed into its side.
Lydia Moss Bradley (1816-1908) was the
first woman to become a board member of a national bank in the United States. She
was also a well-known philanthropist, funding a variety of causes and social
Among her many projects were parks,
hospitals, and a care centre for widows and old women. She established Bradley
University in 1896, still an institution of higher education today. In
addition, she was one of the first women in the US to draft a prenuptial
agreement to protect her personal assets after marriage.
Harriet Strong (1844-1926) was a leading figure of the movement for women’s rights in the United States. She was also an inventor whose innovations allowed for the construction of the Hoover Dam and the All-American Canal.
She was the one who advocated for the conservation of water for irrigation and generating electricity, and proposed a series of dams on the Colorado river. She won two medals at the World’s Columbian Exposition for her patents. In addition, she was the first female member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
Pauline Viardot (1821-1910) was a
French-Spanish composer and mezzo-soprano. She enjoyed a highly prolific and successful
musical career in 19th-century France.
Along with singing, she was also a
proficient piano player, often performing duets with Frédéric Chopin. She spoke
6 languages and composed music in as many national traditions. Additionally, she taught at the Paris
Conservatory and held a popular music salon in the city.