Einstein, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Jesus… They were all amazing. But where were the women? Being just as legendary, but not as celebrated, unfortunately.
The Greek mathematician, philosopher and astronomer lived in Egypt during the end of 300 AD and the beginning of 400 AD. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria, which was heavily influenced by Plato. At the time, Alexandria was a melting pot of cultures and religions, and was also home to one of the largest libraries in the world. As Christianity started taking over the city, Hypatia became embroiled in the drama, finally being kidnapped on her way home, stripped and murdered. The reason? She wouldn’t back down. If only those who killed her knew that history would only remember them to be nothing but murderers.
Much like Cher, she is known by her one name – and it’s not surprising. Cleopatra is absolutely infamous. The last pharaoh of Egypt, she managed to bed both Caesar and Mark Anthony but, as legend has it, she committed suicide through a snake bite. While she may not seem like your traditional heroine, Cleopatra is proof that women are to be feared as much as men. Today, she lives on in popular culture like no other figure in history. From a Shakespearean play to a Golden Age of Hollywood movie, she is the ultimate badass.
Image: Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
The winner of two Nobel Peace Prizes, Marie Curie showed that a woman could be a mother and the best at her job at the same time. Her research in radioactive materials gave us X-rays, and she even helped build the first ambulance with X-ray equipment on it. Oh, and she drove it to the front line herself during World War I. As she once put it: “now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Damn.
As the wife of Edward IV, Elizabeth was Queen of England between May 1464 and October 1470, and again between April 1471 and April 1483. During the tumultuous reign of her husband, Elizabeth encountered a lot of opposition, mostly because she was born a commoner. Her life was both a rags-to-riches tale and one full of doom – her children, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, were the two princes killed in the Tower. But through it all she persevered, and while Richard III and Henry VII both ruled after her husband died, she ensured that her husband’s legacy would not end there by putting a stop to the War of the Roses through her daughter’s marriage to Henry Tudor, the father of Henry VIII.
If you think women’s rights aren’t great in Malta, wait till you discover the rights women had pre-Caroline Norton in the UK at the beginning of the 1800s. At the time, married women had no claim to their earnings, their inheritance, or even their clothes. An English wife who left her husband’s home didn’t even have a right to her own children. But Caroline was no average English wife. A successful author, she began campaigning for her rights and, following a lot of heartache and abuse, finally managed to change the law with the Custody of Infants Act 1839, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, and the Married Women’s Property Act 1870. Even in her day, Caroline was renowned for her courage to the point where she was asked to model as Justice in the fresco by same name that can still be seen in the House of Lords.
I’m so proud to be a woman… Who needs balls when you’ve already got the metaphorical kind, right?
Who else would you have named in this article?
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