Remarkable Women in History

In honour of International Women's Day 2017, this past week, I thought I'd post about a few remarkable women I've discovered.

Jane Addams
Renowned as the Mother of Social Work, Jane Addams was inspired to open Hull House in Chicago after a visit to a London settlement house. Hull House provided daycare and kindergarten, adult education, and health care services. Hull House later grew to include many more important community services. Addams worked tirelessly to improve working conditions, labor policies, and education standards. She acted as chair of the Women’s Peace Party during WWI. In 1931 Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the first time it had been awarded to a woman. (Women Who Dare, Library of Congress, 2008.)

Marian Anderson
Marian Anderson, Baby Contralto, was a successful singer, and the first black regular member of the New York Met Opera Company. She travelled across the US and Europe, performing for a wide variety of heads of state. in 1939 she was banned from performing at Constitution Hall in DC because of her race. An alternate concert was organized for Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, by Eleanor Roosevelt. Anderson performed for over 75,000 attendees, and innumerable radio listeners. Anderson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Kennedy Centre Honors, National Medal of the Arts, and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. (Women Who Dare, Library of Congress, 2008.)

Valérie André
Valérie André, a french neurosurgeon, served in the french volunteer forces where she also became a licensed helicopter pilot and parachutist. She flew 129 missions in the Indochina war. She rescued 165 wounded soldiers from the jungles of Vietnam from 1952-53. She also flew 356 combat missions in Algeria. In her career, André logged more than 4200 flight hours, and in 1976 she became the first female General in the French army. (Women Who Dare, Library of Congress, 2008.)

Constanza Ceruti
Constanza Ceruti is the worlds only female high altitude archaeologist. In 1999, with Johan Reinhard, she performed the highest altitude archaeological excavation at more than 5,800 meters, on Misti volcano. At age 26, Ceruti was named Argentina’s woman of the year. in 2005 National Geographic chose Ceruti as one of its Emerging Explorers. (Women Who Dare, Library of Congress, 2008.)

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the first female president to be elected as leader of an African country. In 2006 Johnson-Sirleaf took office as the 24th president of Liberia. She promised women a government to “restore their dignity and deal with the crimes that dehumanize them.” She also promised to promote education for girls. Never afraid of a challenge, she has been dubbed “Iron Lady”. (Women Who Dare, Library of Congress, 2008.)

Kenojuak Ashevak
Kenojuak Ashevak was a notable Inuit artist from Baffin Island. Her Enchanted Owl may be her more renowned piece. It was featured on stamps in 1970 to celebrate the NWT Centennial. Ashevak became an artistic icon, and a role model or Inuit artists. (

Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Mary Ann Shadd Cary was the first black newspaper editor in North America. She founded the Provincial Freeman, a paper focused on women’s rights, temperance and abolitionism, based in Windsor, Ontario. She was the second black women to earn a law degree in the us, at the age of 60. (

Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew
Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew was the first indigenous woman to be elected to the parliament of Canada. Blondin-Andrew is Dene. She was an MP for the Western Arctic and NWT, as well as Minister of State (Northern Development) in PM Paul Martin’s Cabinet. (Wikipedia)

have a great weekend!