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Brilliant women you admire

(42 Posts)
ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 23-Mar-10 01:12:25

Thought it might be nice to have a thread to celebrate the women, past or present, who have achieved great things (conventionally "great" or not), and who inspire you.

Most of mine are writers, but I have to put in a word for Ada Lovelace, who invented computer programming (and thus, eventually, MN grin).

Also, Malalai Joya, an Afghan campaigner for women's rights and other human rights. She stands up to the warlords fearlessly, in a way that no-one else (even our own government with their own army) does. Profile in the Independent here

Who do you admire, and why?

LittlePushka Tue 23-Mar-10 01:26:20

Ellen McArthur...because she knows about dreams, adversity, risk, terror and tenacity , she is interesting, self- depracting, driven and she just gets on with it...totally.

had I not bore sons, I'd have named a daughter after her.grin

Slur Tue 23-Mar-10 01:29:14

This is a fab thread. Taverymuch

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 23-Mar-10 01:30:41

I don't know all that much about her but she certainly seems to have achieved some unbelievable stuff while remaining totally matter of fact. Good one.

blackcurrants Tue 23-Mar-10 01:30:50

I am currently having a love-in for Amelia Earhart. Probably because DH (dead excited about having his first kid w/me in a few months) came back from a work trip that involved a visit to the Air and Space Museum in DC and bought this foetus his or her first book, "You can't do that, Amelia!" The little thing is probably going to want something to dribble on/chew first, but DH is enjoying finding female role models, and I kinda love watching it.

I also greatly admire Millicent Fawcett, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the women of Greenham Common (DH's mum was there - mine was most decidedly not!).

blackcurrants Tue 23-Mar-10 01:32:33

ooh Elephants, did you know about We should persuade franklyfeminist to blog for it! grin

MadamDeathstare Tue 23-Mar-10 01:36:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 23-Mar-10 01:37:49

Christine de Pizan - I'd never heard of her til last year, but she was Europe's first professional woman writer, and possibly the first professional writer at all. She earned enough to look after her mother and her children, and wrote a fascinating book called "The Book of the City of Ladies" which there is a brilliant review of here. She was taking down stereotypes of women 600 years ago. We've got heritage ladies!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 23-Mar-10 01:41:33

Oh my golly goodness blackcurrants - that's tomorrow (Wednesday!) I was supposed to be doing a guest post for her, but she would probably rather do that one herself.

Do you think MNHQ would publicise this? There are lots of bloggers on here <forgets MN is not actually feminist utopia>

comixminx Tue 23-Mar-10 07:55:32

Have created a topic thread for Ada Lovelace Day - I figured that this thread was a bit more general and could go on for well after tomorrow.

phokoje Tue 23-Mar-10 08:03:05

um, my mum?

which is hard for me to admit really because all my life i have given her very little credt for the awesome job she did and is still doing. i just took it for granted.

also, i had a woman languages teacher at highschool (where there were 5 boys to every girl) that was a fantastic role model for dealing with boys/men that gave little to no respect to women.

and pink. you know, the singer? actually did a google the other day and she is the only 'mainstream' woman singer (today) who does any sort of political or feminist song writing.

SkaterGrrrrl Tue 23-Mar-10 12:52:43

Oprah for becoming one of the world's most successful business women despite being poor, black, female and the 'victim' (sorry I know some people don't like that word) of sexual abuse.

My MIL who was widowed at the age of 32 and raised 2 boys all on her own. DH is the most wonderful man and a feminist. Thank you MIL for my fantastic husband!

*Emmeline Pankhurst*. I like voting, I do.

KinderellaTristabelle Thu 25-Mar-10 22:06:06

Irena Sendler.

I was sent the following info on Irena Sendler in an e-mail:

"The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.
In May 2008, a 98 year-old Polish lady named Irena Sendler died.
During WWII, she got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist but she had an ulterior motive. She KNEW of the Nazi's plans for the Jews. Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and, in the back of her truck, she had a burlap sack for the larger children. She had a dog in the back of the truck that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the noise of the children. Apparently she managed to smuggle out and save some 2,500 children before she was caught; the Nazis broke both her legs and her arms and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the children that she smuggled out which she kept in a glass jar buried under a tree in her back yard. After the War, she tried to locate any parents that had survived and reunited the families. Most, of course, had been gassed but she helped those children to be placed into foster family homes or adopted.
In 2007, Irena was nominat ed for the Nobel Peace Prize but was not selected."

Photograph here

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 26-Mar-10 11:33:07


julesrose Sun 28-Mar-10 20:14:02

Rosa Parks

2cats2many Sun 28-Mar-10 20:19:01

After recently watching the BBC's Women series, my admiration for Marilyn French, author of The Women's Room and many other books, was renewed. Shge died last year unfortunately.

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Mar-10 20:46:10

Amelia Earhart, and Rosa Parkes have already been mentioned, but they are the two woman I admire most, apart form my eldest sister.

KerryMumbles Sun 28-Mar-10 20:47:10

lady gaga

southeastastra Sun 28-Mar-10 20:48:32

sinead o'connor for having balls
kate bush ditto

Nelvana Sun 28-Mar-10 20:53:08

Ursula Franklin, scientist, pacifist, activist

KerryMumbles Sun 28-Mar-10 20:53:29

hilary clinton

i know that's a bit sad and all but I do

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 28-Mar-10 20:56:14

When I read the thread title my first thought was "My mum". Which astonished me and would horrify her... She made me the strong, independent, hard working, non-bullshit tolerating woman I am.

In addition:

All the suffragettes (do you know about the force feeding during hunger strike in prison?).

Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma).

And I know Florence Nightingale was wrong and contributed unknowingly to the deaths of many but I still admire her for her determination and her behaviour when she found she was wrong. Tragic.

Oh God, so, so many fantastic women. Lots of 'em on here!

TinaSparkles Sun 28-Mar-10 21:07:24

Not for feminist reasons, more on a humanistic level, but I've always admired Jane Goodall, the primatologist (okay had to look on Wiki for that!).

Find her work and life fascinating and makes me appreciate that we as primates ourselves, are still very much animals.

CMOTdibbler Sun 28-Mar-10 21:12:01

All of the above. Plus Mary Seacole, Rosalind Franklin, Irene Joliot Curie (she carried on the work that had killed both her parents), and Ilora Finlay. Ilora is responsible in part for the massive changes in palliative medicine - she was the first professor of it, and has really turned it into a proper medical speciality.

nigglewiggle Sun 28-Mar-10 21:19:32

Shami Chakrabarti. She is incredibly intelligent and articulate. I don't always agree with what she has to say, but I admire her passion and conviction. I also love the way that she can cut politicians down to size whilst always maintaining a restrained sense of dignity.

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