8 de March de 2019, Estela Cayon

Womans’ Day 2019: The Women that Changed History

The quote is from today’s Google Doodle, because every year on March 8th the world honours the International Woman’s Day  “a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” and LFChannel joins the celebration by honoring 15 women who changed history by revolutionizing science and art while finding in their way through the gender role limitations of their time.

On the official website of the event you can read the complete International Women’s Day’s history , that started to be celebrated in 1908, changing dates through the years, but always demanding equality in issues like hours of work, better pay, voting rights, etc. Two relevant moments of this history are: one in 1911 a week after that year’s rallies, there was a fire in a company in New York City that took the lives of more than 140 working women, trapped in the factory after going on a strike to protest for their rights, and another in 1913 on the eve of World War I and after the first women rally in Russia, when date was moved to March 8th and stayed like that ever since.

Here you can find our selection of important women through history in chronological order:

  • Maria Sibylla lived between 1647 and 1717, and was German entomologist and scientific illustrator, whose observations and drawings have been of great help for the classification of insects. The following is a stop-motion short with on of her books:

  • Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, was a mathematician considered to be the first person in the mid 1800 to have written code. She is considered the inventor of programming, and there is a good video about her from the SciShow .
  • Concepción Arenal (1820-1893), was the first woman to study at a University in Spain, but she had to go disguised as a man and signed as a man.
  • The first olympic games with women athletes participating, were in 1900 in Paris, France. There were 22 women out of a total of 997 competing in 5 sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf. It was a particular celebration of the olympics, and you can find out why on this video:  1900 Paris Olympic Games had the most bizarre events imaginable
  • Emmeline Pankhurst a social revolucionis that in 1903,  led a campaign for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain, Her motto was ‘Deeds, not words’ because she and her team believed that in order to make a difference one has to go to the streets and fight for women rights,  She went to jail 13 times for the cause. Last year BBC did a capsule on them, the Suffragettes: 100 years since women won the right to vote. 
  • 30 years later, came the turn for spanish women to vote, Clara Campoamor (1888-1972)  was responsible for it in 1933 and this caused the end of her political career.
  • Grace Hooper lived from 1906 to 1992, and was a computer scientist and the 1st woman to earn a PhD in Mathematics from Yale University in 1934. She developed the programming language COBOL and, as you can see from the following video, it allowed compilation to make coding a easier:

  • Maria Luz Morales (1890-1980) was a pioneer journalist and the 1st woman to manage a newspaper in Spain, La Vanguardia, in 1937, during the Civil War. After the war she was 40 days in jail and forbidden to work for 40 yrs.
  •  Sirimavo Bandaranike, lived from 1916 to 2000. She became in 1960 Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, and the first female head of government in the world. Lear more about what she did  in this article abou who was Sirimavo Bandaranike .
  • Lise Meitner, lived between 1878 and 1968 and was an austrian physic and an important part of the team who discovered nuclear fission, the process which enables nuclear reactors to produce heat;  is what makes nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants possible. She might have deserved a Nobel Prize for her contribution, but she had two problems: “She was a Jew living as an exile in Sweden because of the Jewish persecution going on in Nazi Germany, and she was a woman” .
  • Valentina Tereshkova was born in 1937 and later became the 1st female Russian astronaut to go to space. She flew Vostok6, orbited the Earth 48 times. She left school at 16 to work and continued studies on correspondence courses. On an interview with Enjoy Space TV,  she revealed her secret,  as she was going up to the space she noticed that there was something wrong with the ship, that she adjusted with the help of the base and was able to return safely, but had orders not to say anything about it, they wouldn’t want the Americans to know their flaws; she also said that she is relieved, because today the world works together to understand the space, without competitions or rivalry.
  • Katherine Graham became in 1972 the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company after taking the Washington Post public. She overseas the publication of the Pentagon Papers. She said:

 “the thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.”

  • Hedwig Eva Maria Kiessleror also known as Hady Lamarr (1914-2000)  was an actress from Austria and the 1st  woman to appear naked in films. Kiessleror was  also the Engineer who developed the communications system through different frequencies that’s the base of todays’ WIFI technology. This video talks about her life and inventions:

  • Rita Levi-Montalcini, from Italy, lived between 1902 and 2012, she earned the Medicine Nobel Prize in 1986. She discovered the NGF protein responsible for neuronal health. She worked secretly in her bedroom during WWII as being jewish she was persecuted.
  • Josefina Castellví, a Catalán biologist and oceanographer and the 1st woman to lead an antarctic base in Livingstone Island. Today at 81, still mentors environmental programs for the Catalan Government.
Josefina Castellví
Source: la Vanguardia

This concludes our list that is only the tip of the iceberg, because many other women contribute to society, and some of theme remain unknown to the public eye. This post is our way to tell women to go after their dreams with courage and respect, and for both men and women to forget gender roles because each person is unique and therefore has a unique role in his or her journey through this world.

We wish you a great International Womans Day.