The bad ass historical women we need to remember this month.
It’s officially Women’s History Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the many accomplishments that are so often looked over throughout the rest of the year.
Nellie Bly - Nellie Bly entered the journalism scene in an unabashedly feminist way, by submitting a letter to The Pittsburgh Dispatch that rebutted one writer’s diatribe about how women belonged in the home. An editor saw Bly’s potential and hired her in 1885. Just two years later, Bly famously posed as a mental patient on Blackwell’s Island for a New York World expose; a few years after, she that took a record-setting, 72-day trip around the world, writing about it for the same paper.
Agent 355 - Long before 007, there was 355. History books would do well to liven their account of the American Revolution by mentioning this member of the Culper Spy Ring, America’s first elite spy network. One of George Washington’s most valuable spies, the woman known only as “Agent 355” was likely the only one who could rock an evening gown while gathering information critical to the colonies’ achieving independence.
Murasaki Shikibu - Little is known about the Japanese author credited with writing the world’s first modern novel, The Tale of Genji, other than that she certainly overcame plenty of obstacles to do so. Even her
name is an invention, drawn from one of the novel’s characters and the
author’s father’s job, according to Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Not only
was Shikibu educated — a rarity for women at any point for most of
history, but especially around the year 1010 — but she also became
literate in both Japanese and Chinese.
Maria W. Stewart - Though her name is (unfortunately) not one often included in history books, Stewart can claim plenty of impressive firsts. She was
the first American woman to speak to an audience of mixed genders and
races, as well as one of the first African American woman to deliver any public speech at all.
Pauli Murray - Pauli Murray wore many hats, and each one was equally impressive. Murray became a civil rights
lawyer in the late 1940s, a particularly impressive feat given that
women in general, let alone black women, had been prohibited from becoming lawyers only decades before.