5 Inspirational Women from History

Written By Charis Gambon

Women from history are outstanding, inspirational people who deserve to be recognised and spoken about.  There are so many amazing women from history who most people do not even know the name of. I would like to contribute to the effort to bring women from history to the forefront and to get people learning about the women. In this article I will look at five women from history who I find personally inspiring, and I hope that you all do to. Hopefully, this article will also spur more people to research and talk about women’s history.

  1. Ursula Surtees: she is my great aunt, and I would like to start by talking about her amazing accomplishments. During WW2 she was a Land Army girl and  she also volunteered to work in the ‘N.A.F.F.I.’ Additionally Ursula moved to Canada as a young war bride after marrying at 17  in the 1940s and went on to become the first curator of the Kelowna Centennial Museum in 1969, after being invited to apply for the position due to her incredible work in the community restoring the farm house her husband John grew up in.  She brought to Canada the concept of museum education which had not previously been used. She also wrote two books on Canadian heritage. Ursula has won awards for her incredible work; she has been awarded the following awards: honored by the Canadian Museum Association with its Award of Merit,  the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and Canada’s 125th Anniversary Medal, Kelowna’s Citizen of the Year in 1983 and the museum were given a  plaque in recognition of “promoting and preserving the history of the Industry in 1995”.

2. Marie Beauclerc: an amazing woman with a number of significant accomplishments. She taught herself shorthand and gained employment with Mr George Dawson, editor of the Birmingham Morning News as his associate.  Marie later became the first female reporter in the UK.  In 1876 she was a permanent teacher and member of both the Perry Barr institute and the Birmingham and Midlands Institute  where she became the first female teacher in the UK to work at an all-boys school where she  taught  typing and shorthand.

3. Daphne Pearson: a truly selfless and heroic women from history. She was a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer during the Second World War and one of only thirteen women to be awarded the  George Cross, which is the highest award a UK or commonwealth citizen can be awarded for bravery without facing an enemy.  She was awarded her medal for saving a pilot from a crashed aircraft which had crashed at the base in  Detling, Kent, in the early hours of 31st May 1940. As she helped the pilot to get clear of the wreckage one of the aircraft’s 120lb bombs exploded. She threw herself on top of the pilot to protect him from the blast and shrapnel. When a stretcher party arrived, she went back to the burning aircraft to look for another crew member but found him dead

4. Elsie Inglis: a truly dedicated, charitable, and passionate woman.  Opened a school with her father’s support for women to study medicine. It was called the Scottish Association for the Medical Education for Women. Elsie was also a passionate suffragette campaigning for women to gain the right to vote in the UK. Additionally, Elsie also opened a small hospital for women and children in 1894 which later grew and in 1904 relocated and renamed a Hospice. One of Elsie’s biggest achievements was when she  founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Committee for service in WW1. The British government were not interested in the unit however the French government were interested, and the first unit went out by December 1914.  In early 1915 when in Serbia she was taken captive by Austrian forces, but later released after the intervention of the United States Government who at that point were still neutral.  In 1916, Elsie became the first woman to receive the Order of the White Eagle, the highest honor Serbia could give to any person. Elsie is a truly remarkable person and I have only covered a few of her achievements here as there are so many, so please do research her yourselves

5. Elizabeth Blackwell: a hardworking and persistent woman who opened up career paths for other women to follow.  Elizabeth was allowed entrance to Geneva Medical College in New York after the faculty allowed the males to vote on whether she should be allowed entrance. When they voted Yes as a joke Elizabeth was allowed entrance to the course and  she  became the first woman to receive an M.D. degree from an American medical school two years later.  Unfortunately, Elizabeth lost her sight in one eye which dashed her hopes of becoming a surgeon, she did however not give up on medicine completely. During a trip to England in 1859 she became the first woman to have her name entered in the British General Medical Council’s medical register. Elizabeth founded the National Health Society in 1871 which aimed to educate people about the benefits of hygiene and healthy lifestyles. Additionally, Elizabeth campaigned alongside others for the admission of women to medical degrees, but it was not until 1876 that the legislation was passed.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading about these amazing women just as much as I enjoyed writing about them. I also hope that my article inspires you to go and research these women to learn more and that you also go on to learn about other amazing, outstanding women.


References:

https://okanaganlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/1995-Spring-Ursula-Surtees.pdf https://cemeteries.jewelleryquarter.net/miss-marie-beauclerc/https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/15501 https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/i/elsieinglis.html http://curiousedinburgh.org/tag/order-of-the-white-eagle/ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/blackwell/about/elizabeth-blackwell/elizabeth-blackwell-biography/

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.com. Image license found here. No changes have been made to this image.

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1 Comment

  1. Very insightful. How terrible that the education of Elizabeth Blackwell started with a joke.

    We have got a way to go still but it is good to see how so many women did amazing work with so much stacked against them.

    Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed reading it.

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