Awesome Stuff Women Did

Because women have done more in the past 10,000 years than just pop out babies and make sandwiches.

DISCLAIMER: We make no claim that all women featured here are saints. They did awesome stuff; the women themselves might not have been. Keep that in mind before sending angry notes.


Anonymous:

Awww... kinda hate to hear about the name change. I hope u dont censor things for the sake of the kiddies. I dont really subscribe to the school of thought of "protecting the innocents." I thinks its a bit demeaning to their intellect to say that kids arent ready for certain pieces of info. Just a word of caution... and encouragement! Love ur blog!!!

Here’s the thing— I was swearing like a sailor at 13, and I’m quite sure a lot of kids today are the same.  But if librarians or teachers want to point their students this way, I want them to be able to say the blog’s name without getting fired.  Besides, this isn’t Badass of the Week or Cracked— sure, we all deliver awesome historical fact, but they’re aiming for a bit of a laugh, whereas I’m going for epiphany.  I don’t need to swear to get my point across (and rarely do as it is), so I really feel that at this point it was holding me back more than it could possibly be helping.

Name Change!

So, it’s been pointed out to me that this blog could be a great resource for younger people. And I very much agree.  So I have changed the potentially offensive original name to Awesome Stuff Women Did (and have changed the URL as well).  Just so’s you know when you want to refer people over here!

A legendary Indian photojournalist for over 30 years (1938-1970), worked for the British High Commission and covered nearly every major government and private function, and photographed leaders of India and the West alike. (Homai Vyarawalla)

A legendary Indian photojournalist for over 30 years (1938-1970), worked for the British High Commission and covered nearly every major government and private function, and photographed leaders of India and the West alike. (Homai Vyarawalla)

Spied for the revolution during the Spanish Reconquista of New Granada (modern-day Colombia) by offering her services as a seamstress to wives and daughters of Royalist families, while overhearing conversations, collecting maps and intelligence, identifying the major Royalists, finding out who was suspected of being a revolutionary, and recruiting young men to the insurgent army. Eventually arrested for espionage and treason and sentenced to death by firing squad. While imprisoned, cursed the Spaniards relentlessly and predicted their defeat instead of repeating the prayers of the priests. It is said that when she paused, tired and thirsty, a guard offered her a glass of wine and she threw it back in his face, saying “I would not accept even a glass of water from my enemies!”
As she was led to her death, she continued to berate her captors and gave her fellow prisoners heart. Ascending the scaffolding in Bolívar Square, she was told to turn her back, as that is how traitors were killed. However, she refused to kneel before the Spanish firing squad, and yelled “I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more! Do not forget my example.” Considered the most significant woman of the Revolution, with a holiday - Day of the Colombian Woman - in her honor on the anniversary of her death. The only historical female personality ever depicted on Colombian currency. (Policarpa Salavarrieta, “La Pola”)

Spied for the revolution during the Spanish Reconquista of New Granada (modern-day Colombia) by offering her services as a seamstress to wives and daughters of Royalist families, while overhearing conversations, collecting maps and intelligence, identifying the major Royalists, finding out who was suspected of being a revolutionary, and recruiting young men to the insurgent army. Eventually arrested for espionage and treason and sentenced to death by firing squad. While imprisoned, cursed the Spaniards relentlessly and predicted their defeat instead of repeating the prayers of the priests. It is said that when she paused, tired and thirsty, a guard offered her a glass of wine and she threw it back in his face, saying “I would not accept even a glass of water from my enemies!”

As she was led to her death, she continued to berate her captors and gave her fellow prisoners heart. Ascending the scaffolding in Bolívar Square, she was told to turn her back, as that is how traitors were killed. However, she refused to kneel before the Spanish firing squad, and yelled “I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more! Do not forget my example.” Considered the most significant woman of the Revolution, with a holiday - Day of the Colombian Woman - in her honor on the anniversary of her death. The only historical female personality ever depicted on Colombian currency. (Policarpa Salavarrieta, “La Pola”)

A great traceuse of the Mexican parkour group Monos Urbanos (Fernanda “Kat” de la Torre)

Traveled to the Crimea on independently-raised funds, as racial prejudice among the War Office blocked her from being sent officially, bringing with her a knowledge of tropical medicine.  Built a hostel for sick and convalescing soldiers from salvaged driftwood, packing cases, and iron sheets, and salvaged architectural items, which was by all accounts an extraordinary success.  Left the Crimea destitute, but was so beloved by the soldiers she had helped that a benefit concert held in her honor comprised of performances byover 1,000 artists, including 11 military bands and an orchestra conducted by Louis Antoine Jullien, and was attended by a crowd of circa 40,000.  Later counted the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge, and Count Geichen (a nephew of Queen Victoria) amongst her patrons and friends. (Mary Seacole)

Traveled to the Crimea on independently-raised funds, as racial prejudice among the War Office blocked her from being sent officially, bringing with her a knowledge of tropical medicine.  Built a hostel for sick and convalescing soldiers from salvaged driftwood, packing cases, and iron sheets, and salvaged architectural items, which was by all accounts an extraordinary success.  Left the Crimea destitute, but was so beloved by the soldiers she had helped that a benefit concert held in her honor comprised of performances byover 1,000 artists, including 11 military bands and an orchestra conducted by Louis Antoine Jullien, and was attended by a crowd of circa 40,000.  Later counted the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge, and Count Geichen (a nephew of Queen Victoria) amongst her patrons and friends. (Mary Seacole)

A national folk hero of Afghanistan who rallied the Pashtun army against the British troops at the 1880 Battle of Maiwand. Like many Afghan women, she was there to help tend to the wounded and provide water and spare weapons. According to local sources, this was also supposed to be her wedding day.  When the Afghan army was losing morale, despite their superior numbers, She took off her veil and shouted:

"Young love! If you do not fall in the battle of Maiwand,
By God, someone is saving you as a symbol of shame!”

This inspired the Afghan fighters to redouble their efforts. When a leading flag-bearer was killed, she went forward and held up the flag (some versions say she used her veil as a flag), singing a landai:

"With a drop of my sweetheart’s blood,
Shed in defense of the Motherland,
Will I put a beauty spot on my forehead,
Such as would put to shame the rose in the garden!”

She was then struck down and killed. However, her words had spurred on her countrymen to victory. (Malalai Ana)

A national folk hero of Afghanistan who rallied the Pashtun army against the British troops at the 1880 Battle of Maiwand. Like many Afghan women, she was there to help tend to the wounded and provide water and spare weapons. According to local sources, this was also supposed to be her wedding day.  When the Afghan army was losing morale, despite their superior numbers, She took off her veil and shouted:

"Young love! If you do not fall in the battle of Maiwand,

By God, someone is saving you as a symbol of shame!”

This inspired the Afghan fighters to redouble their efforts. When a leading flag-bearer was killed, she went forward and held up the flag (some versions say she used her veil as a flag), singing a landai:

"With a drop of my sweetheart’s blood,

Shed in defense of the Motherland,

Will I put a beauty spot on my forehead,

Such as would put to shame the rose in the garden!”

She was then struck down and killed. However, her words had spurred on her countrymen to victory. (Malalai Ana)

Led the People Power Revolution of the Philippines, calling for massive civil disobedience protests (including four days of the military-civilian rebellion where millions crammed the streets to protect reformist soldiers who had mutinied against Marcos and nuns armed only with rosaries knelt in front of tanks, stopping them in their tracks) eventually leading to the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos and her declaration as President.  Oversaw the promulgation of a new constitution, which limited the powers of the presidency and established a bicameral legislature.  Gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and peace talks with communist insurgents and Muslim secessionists. Her economic policies centered on bringing back economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially-responsible economy.  Survived several coup attempts, and even after her presidency served as a unifying force during troubled times.  (Corazon Aquino)

Led the People Power Revolution of the Philippines, calling for massive civil disobedience protests (including four days of the military-civilian rebellion where millions crammed the streets to protect reformist soldiers who had mutinied against Marcos and nuns armed only with rosaries knelt in front of tanks, stopping them in their tracks) eventually leading to the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos and her declaration as President.  Oversaw the promulgation of a new constitution, which limited the powers of the presidency and established a bicameral legislature.  Gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and peace talks with communist insurgents and Muslim secessionists. Her economic policies centered on bringing back economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially-responsible economy.  Survived several coup attempts, and even after her presidency served as a unifying force during troubled times.  (Corazon Aquino)

Played the harpsichord before King Louis XIV at the age of five. Was noticed by Madame de Montespan, and was kept on in her entourage.  Her opera Céphale et Procris was the first written by a woman in France. Composed some of the earlist French examples of the sonata. Composed early examples of the new genre of accompanied harpsichord works, where the instrument is used in an obbligato role with the violin. (Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre)

femaleartists:

From her 1843 book “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions”, Anna Atkins (16 March 1799 – 9 June 1871)
A female botanist utilizing the cyanotype form of photography, still used today for blueprints (Invented by John Herschel). All plants were laid directly on the cyanotype paper. Atkins is one of a handful of women photographers some believe to be the first.

femaleartists:

From her 1843 book “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions”, Anna Atkins (16 March 1799 – 9 June 1871)

A female botanist utilizing the cyanotype form of photography, still used today for blueprints (Invented by John Herschel). All plants were laid directly on the cyanotype paper. Atkins is one of a handful of women photographers some believe to be the first.