Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Today is International Women's Day!!

(Thanks to BuzzFeed for this information.)


“She was the first and only female judge in the British House of Lords. After a long and distinguished career in legal academia, during which she literally wrote the book on British family law, she rose through the judiciary to its highest court. In February 2013 she was assessed as the fourth-most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.”


She escaped slavery in 1842, but in order to do so, she had to live in a tiny attic for seven years, with so little room to move that her muscles atrophied. After she fled to the North, she wrote her memoir, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, in which she details the mental and sexual abuse she faced as a house slave. She also dispels myths that were pervasive among white people at the time (and still perhaps today), like the erroneous concept that slaves sang because they were happy (the exact opposite was true). Her insights about the intersection of race and gender stay with me to this day, and guide my opinions about the current civil rights movement in our country. So here’s to Harriet Jacobs, who understood more about the conflicts over race and gender than most of us ever will.


She started sculpting as a child in the 1900's using what she could get her hands on: the clay that was part of the natural landscape in her hometown of Green Cove Springs, Florida. Eventually her talents took her far from the clay pits of the South. She joined the burgeoning arts scene of the Harlem Renaissance when her talents led her to New York. Her work was lauded, and she was consistently admired by contemporary black artists, but her renown was transient. And much of her work has been lost, since she could mostly afford to cast only in plaster. Like other key figures of the 1920's such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Savage skillfully challenged negative images and stereotypical depictions of black people.


“She started writing music when she was just a child and her first two albums consist of songs that she wrote between the ages of 13 and 17. She wrote all her songs, and produced most of them herself, too. She has an amazing vocal range and unbelievable piano skills. She also came up with dance routines for her songs. She is incredibly strong and remained in full control of her music and artistic vision from the start, in a time when women were often treated as performers only and not artists in the music industry. She doesn’t get enough credit for how much she has given to music. She’s up there with the Beatles, David Bowie, and Pink Floyd.”


“She worked with two other theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, to help disprove the law of parity. She conducted experiments that disproved this long-held theorem. However, only the names of her (male) collaborators were on the Nobel Prize that this achievement received and she was never recognized for her contribution.”


“She is a female astronomer who discovered, among other things, dark matter. She had to overcome many discouraging comments her whole life. Her teacher in high school told her ‘as long as you don’t study science you’ll be fine’. Undeterred, she went on to study astronomy at Vassar. She later was the first woman to observe from the Palomar telescope. At 88, she continues to fight for a greater recognition of women in sciences.”


“She was a gospel singer who basically invented rock ‘n’ roll in the 30's and 40's. If you listen to her first recordings from 1938 they sound way ahead of their time, and she was playing that kind of music way before any men did. She’s a contemporary of Cab Calloway and toured with Muddy Waters, yet most people who listen to this type of music haven’t heard of her. She’s not in the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame and she really should be!!”


“She’s a scientist and animal behaviorist as well as an autism spokesperson and one of the first public figures to openly talk about being on the autism spectrum and their experiences with it. She is absolutely incredible.”


“Some people will recognize her from this photo of her next to the huge pile of computer code that she wrote that sent Apollo 11 to the moon. However, that picture failed to mention that she did so at age 24 with just an undergraduate degree in math. Even more impressive, she did this to support her family while her husband was at Harvard for law school, and she often had to bring her 4-year-old daughter to the lab on weekends. Her little girl would be napping on the floor of her office while she created programs that eventually landed.”

Katharine Johnson, Mary Jackson & Dorothy Vaughan
were other amazing NASA mathematicians.
Their story is told in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures”.
To see a video about Katherine Johnson, click here.


“She was one of the first women to receive a PhD in physics. She discovered the Auger effect, but most of the credit was given to a French male scientist who discovered it independently a year later. She also made one of the key breakthroughs towards discovering and understanding nuclear fission (she was the one that discovered how to split the nucleus of an atom). This breakthrough was published with only the name of her collaborator on it, and consequently only he, Otto Hahn, received the Nobel Prize for it. Though the Nobel Prize committee has debated adding her name to the prize, she’s never been officially recognized.”


“She was a chemist and an X-ray crystallographer that made huge contributions to the eventual discovery of DNA. However, her contributions were only recognized posthumously and she never received an arguably much deserved Nobel Prize.”


“She was a key figure in the women’s rights movement and a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was active in protests to raise awareness of suffrage, led marches to parliament, and refused to pay taxes until women were given the vote. A forgotten figure, but a real leader.”


Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) became the first woman to hold national office in the United States when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 by the state of Montana as a member of the Republican Party.

To read a post on aviator Bessie Coleman, click here.

She is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II.

(Proof that not all women are perfect.)
She was the matriarch of the 30's era Barker-Karpis Gang, whose spree of kidnappings, murderers and bank robberies led to her and its members' violent deaths.

To see some more recent badass women,
click here.

This book has 120 blank pages:

The new anthology that I'm in is now available at
Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Ibooks & Amazon.

To buy it on Amazon, click here.