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.


sunisup:

Regarding your request for women of color: would you like suggestions or full submissions?

Either would be good, but full on submissions do make my life easier!

WANTED: Awesome Women From Around The World!

Specifically, I’m looking for women of color and non-Europeans/Americans.  I’m going through this blog and finding  that, despite my best some efforts, ASWD still overwhelmingly features USians and/or white people.  So, I’d like some balance.  Erasure of the accomplishments people of color often goes hand-in-hand with erasure of women.  I’ve got a few African-Americans on deck, and more would be great, but I would still like to have some even geographical and ethnic/racial distribution of awesome women!

Played a vital role in the foundation of the Socialist International Group. Was one of the main far Left revolutionaries in the German Socialist Party befote World War I. Was good friends with Rosa Luxembourg. One of the main founders of the German Women’s Movement, editor of the newspaper Die Gleichheit, started the first ‘International Women’s Day’ on March 1911. Became involved in WWI anti-war campaigning and was arrested repeatedly in consequence. Founded the Spartacist League and the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD, interviewed Lenin on ‘the women’s question’, was a member of the central office of the German Communist Party, later she became part of its central committee. In August 1932, as the chairwoman of the German Parliament (Reischtag) by seniority, she called for people to fight Nazism. (Clara Zetkin)

fyeahblackhistory:

The Dahomey Amazons

The Dahomey Amazons were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the legendary Amazons described by the Ancient Greeks.

King Houegbadja (who ruled from 1645 to 1685), the third King of Dahomey, is said to have originally started the group which would become the Amazons as a corps of elephant hunters called the gbeto. During the 18th century, the king had some of his wives trained as royal bodyguards.

Houegbadja’s son King Agadja (ruling from 1708 to 1732) developed the female bodyguard into a militia and successfully used them in Dahomey’s defeat of the neighbouring kingdom of Savi in 1727. European merchants recorded their presence, as well as similar female warriors amongst the Ashanti. For the next hundred years or so, they gained reputation as fearless warriors. Though they fought rarely, they usually acquitted themselves well in battle.

The group of female warriors was referred to as Mino, meaning “Our Mothers” in the Fon language by the male army of Dahomey.
From the time of King Ghezo (ruling from 1818 to 1858), Dahomey became increasingly militaristic. Ghezo placed great importance on the army and increased its budget and formalized its structures. The Mino were rigorously trained, given uniforms, and equipped with Danish guns (obtained via the slave trade). By this time the Mino consisted of between 4000 and 6000 women, about a third of the entire Dahomey army.

The Mino were recruited from among the ahosi (“king’s wives”) of which there were often hundreds. Some women in Fon society became ahosi voluntarily, while others were involuntarily enrolled if their husbands or fathers complained to the King about their behaviour. Membership among the Mino was supposed to hone any aggressive character traits for the purpose of war. During their membership they were not allowed to have children or be part of married life. Many of them were virgins. The regiment had a semi-sacred status, which was intertwined with the Fon belief in Vodun.

The Mino trained with intense physical exercise. Discipline was emphasised. In the latter period, they were armed with Winchester rifles, clubs and knives. Units were under female command. Captives who fell into the hands of the Amazons were often decapitated.

Conflict with France

European encroachment into west Africa gained pace during the latter half of the 19th century, and in 1890 King Behanzin started fighting French forces in the course of the First Franco-Dahomean War. According to Holmes, many of the French soldiers fighting in Dahomey hesitated before shooting or bayoneting the Mino. The resulting delay led to many of the French casualties. Ultimately, bolstered by the Foreign Legion, and armed with superior weaponry, including machine guns, the French inflicted casualties that were ten times worse on the Dahomey side. After several battles, the French prevailed. The Legionnaires later wrote about the “incredible courage and audacity” of the Amazons. The last surviving Amazon of Dahomey died in 1979.

Helped establish the Tang Dynasty, after raising an army of 70,000 warriors and peasant rebels and earned the loyalty of the rural provinces (by not allowing her men to rape and pillage, and distributing food and drink).  Crushed the army of the emperor, while also recruiting its skilled officers, before joining up with her father’s army to descend on the Imperial Palace.  When she died two years later, was given a funeral worthy of a general. (Li Zhao, Princess Pingyang)

Helped establish the Tang Dynasty, after raising an army of 70,000 warriors and peasant rebels and earned the loyalty of the rural provinces (by not allowing her men to rape and pillage, and distributing food and drink). Crushed the army of the emperor, while also recruiting its skilled officers, before joining up with her father’s army to descend on the Imperial Palace. When she died two years later, was given a funeral worthy of a general. (Li Zhao, Princess Pingyang)

Organized the locals of Donegal in protest against evictions during the “Land Wars”.  Influenced poet William Butler Yeats to become involved with Irish nationalism, and helped him found the National Literary Society of London.  In Paris, published a nationalist newsletter called “L’Irelande Libre.”  Traveled to the US, Scotland, and England raise funds for the movement.  Co-founded the Transvaal Committee, which supported the Afrikaners in the Boer War, and Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Erin), a revolutionary women’s society, and still found time to star on stage in Yeats play, “Cathleen ní Houlihan,” which Yeats had written for her.    Worked with the Red Cross in France during WWI. Was interned at Holloway Jail for six months for her part in the anti-conscription movement. along with Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Kathleen Clarke, Countess Markievicz and others. After she was released, she worked for the White Cross for relief of Irish victims during the War of Independence.  Along with Charlotte Depard founded the Women’s Prisoners Defense League to help Republican prisoners and their families.  Worked for the Women’s Prisoners Defense League, which mobilized again in defense of Republican prisoners in 1935, for the rest of her life.  Her son, Seán, was one of the founders of Amnesty International, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. Is called Ireland’s Joan of Arc. (Maud Gonne MacBride)

Organized the locals of Donegal in protest against evictions during the “Land Wars”. Influenced poet William Butler Yeats to become involved with Irish nationalism, and helped him found the National Literary Society of London. In Paris, published a nationalist newsletter called “L’Irelande Libre.” Traveled to the US, Scotland, and England raise funds for the movement. Co-founded the Transvaal Committee, which supported the Afrikaners in the Boer War, and Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Erin), a revolutionary women’s society, and still found time to star on stage in Yeats play, “Cathleen ní Houlihan,” which Yeats had written for her. Worked with the Red Cross in France during WWI. Was interned at Holloway Jail for six months for her part in the anti-conscription movement. along with Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Kathleen Clarke, Countess Markievicz and others. After she was released, she worked for the White Cross for relief of Irish victims during the War of Independence. Along with Charlotte Depard founded the Women’s Prisoners Defense League to help Republican prisoners and their families. Worked for the Women’s Prisoners Defense League, which mobilized again in defense of Republican prisoners in 1935, for the rest of her life. Her son, Seán, was one of the founders of Amnesty International, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. Is called Ireland’s Joan of Arc. (Maud Gonne MacBride)

At age fourteen, invented a device to demonstrate when packaged food had gone out of date, which won the 42nd Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2006. The judges said it involved “a highly innovative and creative use of experimental biology” and that it was “very impressive” and “a novel use of technology”. (Aisling Judge)

At age fourteen, invented a device to demonstrate when packaged food had gone out of date, which won the 42nd Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2006. The judges said it involved “a highly innovative and creative use of experimental biology” and that it was “very impressive” and “a novel use of technology”. (Aisling Judge)

The youngest woman ever to have been elected to British Parliament having been elected at the age of 21, she stood on the slogan “I will take my seat and fight for your rights” – signalling her rejection of the traditional Irish republican tactic of abstentionism (being absent from Westminster).  Publicised discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland. Convicted of incitement to riot in December 1969 after the ‘Battle of the Bogside’, and was re-elected in the 1970 general election.  After witnessing the events of Bloody Sunday, punched Reginald Maudling, the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the Conservative government, when he made a statement to Parliament on Bloody Sunday stating that the British Army had fired only in self-defence.  Helped to form the Irish Republican Socialist Party, a revolutionary socialist breakaway from Official Sinn Féin.  Survived an assassination attempt by the “Ulster Freedom Fighters”. (Bernadette Devlin)

The youngest woman ever to have been elected to British Parliament having been elected at the age of 21, she stood on the slogan “I will take my seat and fight for your rights” – signalling her rejection of the traditional Irish republican tactic of abstentionism (being absent from Westminster). Publicised discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland. Convicted of incitement to riot in December 1969 after the ‘Battle of the Bogside’, and was re-elected in the 1970 general election. After witnessing the events of Bloody Sunday, punched Reginald Maudling, the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the Conservative government, when he made a statement to Parliament on Bloody Sunday stating that the British Army had fired only in self-defence. Helped to form the Irish Republican Socialist Party, a revolutionary socialist breakaway from Official Sinn Féin. Survived an assassination attempt by the “Ulster Freedom Fighters”. (Bernadette Devlin)

Left her poor, Irish family to marry a pirate. Left that guy to marry a pirate captain. Had a baby but gave it up to stay a pirate. Fought bravely as part of a crew with her friend (and lesbian lover?) Mary Read against the British Navy. Eventually they were defeated but both women avoided hanging by claiming to be pregnant. (Anne Bonny)

Left her poor, Irish family to marry a pirate. Left that guy to marry a pirate captain. Had a baby but gave it up to stay a pirate. Fought bravely as part of a crew with her friend (and lesbian lover?) Mary Read against the British Navy. Eventually they were defeated but both women avoided hanging by claiming to be pregnant. (Anne Bonny)