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Yorkist
08-25-2013, 02:43 AM
It's sort of a hobby of mine to unearth stories of women throughout history with significant contributions to culture that have been all but forgotten. (I keep meaning to turn this hobby into a blog, but wow, lazy.) A sort of shero list, if you will. Women like Mary Anning and Rosalind Franklin are on it.

But I've been mentally reviewing my list and I don't think there is a single PoC on it that isn't a civil rights worker. This cannot stand!

Got any sheroes of color?

Lavern08
08-25-2013, 03:45 AM
While she was also a civil rights activist, check out Madam C.J. Walker :)

Rachel Udin
08-25-2013, 05:56 AM
Awesome POC Women... no civil rights.

Personally, though she may not have existed, I thought Jingu no Kogo was awesome. Japanese, older history. She single handedly defeated her step sons and was said to have conquered Korea. =P Writing about her.

Empress Wu of China was the only female Empress at the time. She had her own dynasty, too, which didn't last that long, but was still mighty impressive, considering the environment.

Hatshepsut of Egypt. Pharaoh. There are quite a few female pharaohs that were erased from the record.

There are some Queens of various places in Africa as well, overall. (Some currently as well) (Just blanking too much to Google). One appeared on Colbert Report...

Artist and awesome woman in all sorts of ways Frida Kahlo. Put up with all sorts of excruciating pain, mental and physical, a tumultuous relationship with her on again, off again husband, Diego, but there is a strength I admire in her.

Murasaki, who wrote Tale of Genji. For the given time, I still think it's awesome to have a female novelist/poet recognized so early.

Sei Shōnagon--awesome woman overall. Opposite personality to Murasaki and so worth looking into. Same time period.

Evita Peron, though might count as a civil rights activist...

Cleopatra. Though portrayed by white woman was most likely part Nubian. (Which goes along with the earlier thread I started, WTH is Isis white... (comic book)

Seondeok of Silla, who was followed by several women. Empress of part of Korea. Awesomeness. Well known in Korea for being extremely smart and clever.

People aren't 100% sure about her, but I think Jang Geum would also count. The only woman in Korean history to serve as the personal physician--even the president has yet to do that.

Lady Hyegyong, who wrote two letters which helped people understand the true inner workings of Joseon. The thing is that later male scholars tried to say she was making things up to clean up the record, so now she has a lot less standing, but I'm more inclined to believe her than later scholars.

I'm missing Queens of Persia, etc. I'm blanking, though I know some.

African American female inventors: https://webfiles.uci.edu/mcbrown/display/women_inventors.html

Gou of Japan (You'll find her most likely under Oeno--she had awesome mother and sisters too). Awesome. Strong woman, smart and contributed to the shogunate significantly.

Considering the resistance to women being intelligent, and especially the stereotypes about AA women, I still think it's remarkable.

Also Amy Tan... authors. Amy Tan seems like a really cool woman. She's been working on writing about women in China and giving talks.

But I think there are a lot of unnamed unsung heroines in history too. Such as the women who acted as mothers to great men, the women who fought to keep their religion even as men put pressure on them and said they were wrong for keeping it. (Muism, Wuism, etc.)

And the women who stayed at home while their men got credit for scoring at war. While contributions to Science and History are significant, I think we have to also consider the women who did things such as invent new ways to look at food so it was more nutritious, ran the courts by being servants and doing all those "boring" domestic things without getting their heads chopped off nor wanting the attentions of the men. Because some of the rhetoric we get is that the things that men do==important. While the things that women historically were assigned to were not, which is why they are missing form the record.

ETA:

Sacagawea--all kinds of awesome. Also the first PoC to be on any denomination of money ever in the US.

Pocahontas--much more awesome than the Disney cartoon made her out to be.

Yorkist
08-25-2013, 06:46 AM
Thanks for the additions!

Rachel, it's okay if the ladies are civil rights activists, just ideally they would not "only be civil rights activists" (<---this quoted portion feels really stupid to type).

It's just that those examples (along with women writers) are much easier to find.

The ideal ladies would not necessarily have accumulated or inherited political power, but would have made behind-the-scenes (or not so behind-the-scenes, but unacknowledged) contributions to culture, whether that's in science, theology, or anything under the sun.

Or they could just be women who did really cool things (I like the self-made millionaire Lavern brought to the table!).

I got this idea when talking to a librarian friend of mine, who pointed out that lots of people may say that they find history boring, but that the minute you showed them an artifact or archived material that they could relate to in some way, they positively lit up. And that made me think about all the science and history textbooks from my childhood, which rarely had examples of women that made important changes, and the ones that were located in the text seemed kind of like tokens.

Which is, IMO, a travesty, because there comes a certain point in every youngster's life where they are searching for ego reflections wherever they can get them, and that point tends to come at a relatively pivotal age.

Maybe the situation is better now re: textbooks, but I think it would be cool to have a catalogue of women like that.

I really need to get on that blog.

Gale Haut
08-25-2013, 07:40 AM
I actually discovered two such women from one of my favorite shows recently. Only one of the sheroes is of color.

Mary Dyer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaDk0wG-HWk)
Mary Ellen Pleasant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sucwo_44Sg)

And NSFW warning.

Gale Haut
08-25-2013, 07:46 AM
Just realized the latter is for civil rights. My bad.

Yorkist
08-25-2013, 07:54 AM
It's ok. Post whichever cool PoC chicks you can find. I'm just hoping for a good number of contributors who do things besides writing novels (historically women's work anyhoo) and civil rights activism, since examples of both are legion.

Rachel Udin
08-25-2013, 08:16 AM
Thanks for the additions!

Rachel, it's okay if the ladies are civil rights activists, just ideally they would not "only be civil rights activists" (<---this quoted portion feels really stupid to type).

It's just that those examples (along with women writers) are much easier to find.

The ideal ladies would not necessarily have accumulated or inherited political power, but would have made behind-the-scenes (or not so behind-the-scenes, but unacknowledged) contributions to culture, whether that's in science, theology, or anything under the sun.

Or they could just be women who did really cool things (I like the self-made millionaire Lavern brought to the table!).

I got this idea when talking to a librarian friend of mine, who pointed out that lots of people may say that they find history boring, but that the minute you showed them an artifact or archived material that they could relate to in some way, they positively lit up. And that made me think about all the science and history textbooks from my childhood, which rarely had examples of women that made important changes, and the ones that were located in the text seemed kind of like tokens.

Which is, IMO, a travesty, because there comes a certain point in every youngster's life where they are searching for ego reflections wherever they can get them, and that point tends to come at a relatively pivotal age.

Maybe the situation is better now re: textbooks, but I think it would be cool to have a catalogue of women like that.

I really need to get on that blog.
Sei Shonagon is like that. She was an attendant to more famous women and Murasaki usually is favored over her in Western Eyes, but personally, I think she's awesome. She's snarky, bright and quite intelligent. The Pillow Books is worth reading. It also overturns the idea of Japanese women being Quiet and Demure... she's definitely not that.

Jang Geum was also like that before the publication of the drama from what I gather. (The popular one). The drama was such a hit, that she got put on the 50,000 won bill. Which is higher than any denomination we (Americans) have women on--who have bested at the gold dollar. (which was recent, BTW) She made a significant contribution, but she was pretty much forgotten.

Some PoC women in history are simply hard to find because of basic scrubbing them out of the record, or just because the West doesn't tend to translate non-Western texts. (Maybe Germans would be the exception.) A lot of the stuff about Empress Wu was also scrubbed by later scholars, for example. (Started from almost nothing and rose to power through wits).

Cleopatra, for example, is very unknown, yet captivates us. I kinda see her moves as a Queen Elizabeth of her day, playing out the men against the middle.

New women:
Josephine Baker- A dynamic woman is putting it mildly. You have to read her history to see how awesome she is. Not a behind the scenes person in the least.

There was a concubine of King Sejong the Great that is noted in the historical record for being let go because she was made a concubine and continued to sleep with a palace maid. Korea is very adverse to LGBT (getting better and sometimes better than the US), but I'd love to know her story a little more. She is notable since she was spared and allowed to leave. (rare at best...)

Gandhi's wife. Everyone looks at him, but I think she's pretty awesome too. It takes great strength to go through that kind of crap and have people expect you to support him. I'm blanking on other Indian women... >.<;; They've been pushed out of my head by studying other parts of the culture. I used to know them.

Yorkist
08-25-2013, 08:22 AM
Ah! I forgot, Empress Wu and Josephine Baker are both on my list. *feels better about self*

Thanks for your perspective, Rachel. Where I'm from we kind of tend to divide into "white" and "black" and forget about the Asian folks.

ETA: Not exactly "forget about the Asian folks," but forget that Asians are in fact PoC's, because where I am from we seem to view race as a binary construction.

mirandashell
08-25-2013, 04:39 PM
Mary Seacole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Seacole) was an amazing woman. It's difficult to get the whole truth as unfortunately she's become a political pawn in the last 30 or so years. But just the basic facts show her to be a brave and tough woman.

Alessandra Kelley
08-25-2013, 05:17 PM
Dr. Patricia E. Bath (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_26.html) received a patent for an innovative form of surgery for cataracts which has helped many people see.

Alessandra Kelley
08-25-2013, 05:33 PM
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Ann_Jackson).

She earned a PhD from MIT in nuclear physics and is president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. President Clinton appointed her Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the first woman and the first African-American to hold the post. President Obama has appointed her to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Rachel Udin
08-25-2013, 06:19 PM
I tried to cover more than Asia, too... in the post before last. Mexican, Argentina, Egyptian, Nubian.

I'm trying to stretch for the Philippines and SE Asia too, but my mind is entirely blanking and I haven't studied enough. I know there was a President of Taiwan, as well, who was the first female president there. But I don't know that much about her. (They beat us by several years and historically the US has been drumming about how Asia is backwards on Women's Rights. Personally, I think this is deluded...)

As a kid I really wished for female Asian actresses. I could count the Asians on my hand. Most of them looked like arm candy.

So for me, personally, seeing Sandra Oh (BTW, who has done some awesome stuff besides Grey's Anatomy in Vancouver. Usually playing Chinese.), Lucy Liu, was a huge thing for me. But I'm not sure if that counts.

Lucy Liu especially since she has freckles and everyone around me called me weird for being an Asian with freckles. (accusing me of being half on my genetic side and insisting on it.) People stopped commenting so much after that.

Lucy Liu came way too late though. I wish there were other Asian female actors when I was younger. (Who weren't eye candy and playing to stereotype).

At least my brother had Pat Morita, Jackie Chan, Bobby Lee, Bruce Lee, and Jet Li. But Lucy Liu didn't come out until the late 1990's.

I know it's not historical contributions, but to me it was.

People forget that age trumped sex in China and Korea. So the Queen Mother was the most powerful person in the land. If she wanted something, she could blackmail her son and bring the government to a standstill. Because of Confucian ideals it was hugely against the status quo for a son to kill his mother. So that is some real hold over the system.

For that, you get the Water maid that rose to the position of Queen Mother. After the first Queen died, and the second was deposed and then was poisoned, she was found crying for her mistress and then rose in rank enough to become Queen Mother, outliving her husband from water girl to Queen Mother is pretty huge, especially since Water girl is a lowly position in the Korean palace. Korean drama, though largely fictional since they aren't 100% sure of her original first name. (Often changed or they simply were recorded by title/surname.)

Ah! Indian women. Just remembered. >.<;; What was that research for? I can't believe I forgot the book I read.

Nur Jahan. Awesomeness. She had her husband lusting after her for over a few decades. Effectively ruled the kingdom while her husband was mostly drugged and drunk. Some suggest she did that to him, but if you know the history of how that goes... it never is favorable.

Also the woman that inspired the Taj Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal, who had 14 children. That has to be an awesome woman. If you look up those two women, you get a really good list of awesome and intelligent women.

Mei Zhu, concubine to a Chinese Emperor, but was Persian. ^_^

People forget about intermarriage between China and the rest of Asia.

Qi Empress, Empress of Yuan and for a while Korea.

Princess Noguk of Yuan who became wife of Gongmin, even as he went to war with the Yuan. He was so in love with her, that some believe she crippled the empire with her death. He loved her so much that he refused to take another wife after her. She was a calming influence on him and kept him grounded. (So kinda a Albert, in a sense, to Victoria kind of relationship.) He lovingly made a portrait of her.

And because I'm biased, severely, Heo Hwang Ok. Indian Princess that came to Korea, but from my research Gaya was really behind in settlement. While there were Indian princesses before her, she's significant for giving birth to the sons that would eventually become more than half of the Korean population. (and me!) But as I said, I'm severely biased.

She not only had to put up with culture shock, 12! pregnancies (who knows about miscarriages), but also the death of all of her servants from India. (Which must have been terrible). Even the courtiers she brought died fairly quickly. (Her brother became a Buddhist Monk by legend).

She is also significant for having two sons insist that they have the surname Heo, which almost never happens. (Well, I never heard of another instance).

Writing about her, but was reluctant to share, since, you know, It's what I'm writing so it will always sound like gushing.

Covering mostly East Asia since that's what I'm currently writing... so research turns up things.

I'll come back when I think up more.

Kitty Pryde
08-25-2013, 07:57 PM
Malala Yousafzai, the activist who was shot by the Taliban for saying that girls should be allowed to attend school. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai She's not even 18 yet!

mirandashell
08-25-2013, 08:07 PM
This woman is pretty cool:

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/haps/PublicHealth,EpidemiologyBiostatistics/adab-peymane.aspx

Evaine
08-25-2013, 10:19 PM
What about Mary Golda Ross, the Cherokee rocket scientist?

Rachel Udin
08-26-2013, 01:54 AM
Sonya Sotamayor- ^_^ But I'm hoping you already know this one.

Mae Jemison, first black female into space.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalpana_Chawla was on the Columbia Mission. I remember because I saw her going up. (But I also spotted the insulation coming off too, which I thought was a red flag. Even the media spotted it at the time... *cough*) She went up twice. It's sad that she was the first Indian woman ever...

Yorkist
08-26-2013, 04:26 AM
Thanks for all the examples, y'all! I may have enough material for that blog after all!

Rachel, wow, I had a brain fart about Sotomayor. Good catch.


Masala Yousafzai, the activist who was shot by the Taliban for saying that girls should be allowed to attend school. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai She's not even 18 yet!

OH SNAP! Forgot about her!

Kitty Pryde
08-26-2013, 05:09 AM
I'll throw in Nichelle Nichols. Although she was "just" an actress, her work was quite important. After she quit Star Trek, no less than Martin Luther King Jr persuaded her to stay on the show:


"He was telling me why I could not [resign]," she recalls. "He said I had the first nonstereotypical role, I had a role with honor, dignity and intelligence. He said, 'You simply cannot abdicate, this is an important role. This is why we are marching. We never thought we'd see this on TV.'"

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/star-trek-actress-nichelle-nichols-martin-luther-king-jr-impacted-decision-stay-enterprise-article-1.154674#ixzz2d25MJnVE

She also had TV's first interracial kiss, and inspired many famous and not-famous people to pursue their dreams. She worked with NASA after Star Trek, to recruit women and PoC.

J.S.F.
08-26-2013, 12:38 PM
Aw, shit, Kitty beat me to it!

Nichelle Nichols was cool. I was just a kid, only around six or so when I first started watching Star Trek, TOS, but I remember seeing all these different people--not all white like in Lost in Space--and it seemed so natural to me. My folks also watched the show with me and they loved it.

I remember Whoopi Goldberg saying she watched the show as a little girl and she ran through her house yelling at her mother, "Mama, I saw a black lady on a show and she wasn't no maid!" It was because of N. Nichols that Whoopi Goldberg became an actress/comedienne and the world is much richer for it. If I remember correctly, didn't Nichelle Nichols also do a one-woman show playing Josephine Baker? She (Nichelle) had a really unusual voice with a tremendous range.

Oh, and one more. Eartha Kitt. Simply awesome.

Ken
08-26-2013, 02:55 PM
... coretta scott king in a way.
She introduced a series of YA bios featuring scientists, musicians,
and athletes of color that was really cool. Great, enjoyable series.

J.S.F.
08-26-2013, 03:42 PM
Just did a quick Google search, and if you go to www.biography.com (http://www.biography.com) you'll see a lot of black scientists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and more. Pretty fascinating. Not all that in-depth in some cases, but very enlightening.

Yorkist
08-26-2013, 04:53 PM
Y'all are awesome.

Friendly Frog
08-27-2013, 01:26 AM
If modern day is acceptable: Maggie Aderin-Pocock. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Aderin-Pocock) She is one cool lady. Saw one or two documentaries she made on the BBC and she's so obviously very knowledgable and passionate about her field. Also, she had the rare quality for clear and engaging science communication.

snafu1056
08-27-2013, 04:40 AM
Covering mostly East Asia since that's what I'm currently writing... so research turns up things.

I'll come back when I think up more.

If you haven't read it already you might like a book called The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his Empire. History tends to overlook the fact that Mongol women were as fearsome as Mongol men.

thebloodfiend
08-27-2013, 10:38 AM
I don't know if it's okay to list artists, but I find them as important as authors.

Frida Kalho.
Nikki Lee.
Doris Salcedo.

I'll be back with more later. It's hard because so many female artists are involved with civil rights art and I can't think of many that aren't specifically doing that.

Rachel Udin
08-27-2013, 08:36 PM
If you haven't read it already you might like a book called The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his Empire. History tends to overlook the fact that Mongol women were as fearsome as Mongol men.

Thanks for the book. I did list the Yuan women somewhere in there, which is definitely Mongol.

I'd rec the Foreign Brides and the Women of Korea book but both are hella expensive.

RemaCaracappa
09-22-2013, 11:13 AM
Bessie Coleman, aviator
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessie_Coleman


Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926) was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent[1] and the first person of African-American descent to hold an international pilot license.

bookworm92
11-03-2013, 03:41 PM
Some cool Indian ladies (After some Googling):

Lashmibai, the Rani (Queen) of Jhansi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rani_Lakshmibai)

Savithri, from the legend of Savitri and Satyavan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savitri_and_Satyavan). (Not sure how relevant this is, as it is from legend)

Sulochana Gadgil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulochana_Gadgil)

shakeysix
11-03-2013, 03:48 PM
Phillis Wheatley

shakeysix
11-03-2013, 03:51 PM
Buffalo Calf Woman-- my personal favorite.

Cathy C
11-03-2013, 04:11 PM
From my adopted state of Texas:

Charlye O. Farris (http://law.tamu.edu/Portals/0/Uploads/First%20black%20female%20lawyer%20in%20TX%20speaks .pdf) - first black female attorney in Texas

which leads to:
Lisa Tatum (http://texaslawyer.typepad.com/texas_lawyer_blog/2012/05/lisa-tatum-has-won-a-historic-election-to-become-the-first-african-american-president-elect-of-the-state-bar-of-texas-kristy.html) - Just elected as President of the Texas Bar Association

Wilde_at_heart
11-03-2013, 06:29 PM
Zenobia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenobia

Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria, who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire.

issac1
11-09-2013, 08:24 PM
My apologies if these are already posted.

Caroline Still Wiley Anderson, physician and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to William and Letitia Still. Supporting his family through coal mining investments and a stove store, William Still, a prominent antebellum abolitionist, helped escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Chien-shiung Wu 1912-1997 In 1956 Chien-Shung Wu devised an experiment by which one of the basic laws of physics—so-called parity conservation—was overturned, an achievement that helped win a Nobel Prize for two of her colleagues and revolutionized the study of particle physics.

Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward was the first African American woman to earn a medical doctorate (M.D.) in New York State and the third in the United States. Though her early education was musical, Susan Smith entered the New York Medical College for Women in 1867. She earned her M.D. in 1870, graduating as valedictorian.

Ken
11-11-2013, 03:23 AM
I don't know if it's okay to list artists, but I find them as important as authors.

... me too.

Marian Anderson.
One of the best singers of all time!

Makes most every other singer crummy by comparison.

Also pretty, btw.

shestval
11-13-2013, 03:17 AM
Ching Shih (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ching_Shih)! I'm surprised no one has mentioned her yet. A Chinese pirate whose fleet totaled over one thousand ships at the height of her reign. She's one of the most powerful and influential pirates in the history of the world. Also famous for killing any of her men who raped a woman.

I just wish there was more information on her! I would read accounts of her life (true-to-fact or fictionalized) all day long.

Roxxsmom
12-10-2013, 07:53 AM
I don't know if anyone else has mentioned these scientists.

NASA astronauts Mae Jemison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Jemison) and Ellen Ochoa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Ochoa)

Patricia Bath (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Bath), who is a very prominent ophthalmologist and inventor.

Valerie Thomas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Thomas_%28scientist%29), inventor of the illusion transmitter


And

Shirley Chisholm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Chisholm), the first African American woman elected to congress.

And Cathay Williams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathay_Williams) , who fought in the Civil War while posing as a man.

And celebrated composer and conductor Tania Leon
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tania_Le%C3%B3n)