These 10 women broke barriers to create history | Happy Women’s Day 2019


Source : Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom
Time and again, women have been questioned of their abilities and compared to their male counterparts. Patriarchy has at times subjugated them and forced them to forget their aspirations and dreams. In the past, it wasn’t just society that limited women, it was the daunting laws and the punishments that were inflicted if women didn’t behave. Most people argue that change is happening, but what we all have to agree is that, change hasn’t reached the zenith of total and complete gender equality. Feminism is no new term and even if waves of feminism can be traced way back in history, it has in the recent past touched the “modern world”. Nonetheless, whether successful or not, glorified or mortified, many women held onto their horses, fought the shackles bound upon them and rose to shine. We salute these women. (Image: Moneycontrol)

JK Rowling | Known for the Harry Potter series, not many are aware that she used her initials instead of her full name, because she did not want her gender to influence readers. Her publicist thought that Harry Potter’s target audience would primarily consist of young men and thought that her full name would affect the sale of the books. Joanne Rowling chose her second initial K (for Kathleen) from her paternal grandmother’s name. The author’s school of thought was similar to that of her publicist that young boys wouldn’t want to read a book written by a female writer. (Image: Reuters)
Kathrine Switzer | Kathy Switzer is the first woman to run in the Boston marathon, an event where women were considered too fragile to participate. Switzer signed for the 1967 Boston Marathon as KV Switzer, pretending to be a man, wearing a baggy sweatshirt. Her lipstick caught enough attention and an official stormed on the track, asking her to quit the race. However, she gained enough support to complete and went on to win the New York marathon of 1974. (Image: Flickr)

Joan of Arc | Nicknamed as The Maid of Orléans, Joan of Arc was a 15th century peasant girl, who fought against English domination over France. She fought during the Hundred Years’ War disguised as a man. She found her way through the court and was granted military appointment, and considered a big threat by the English. She was captured and her trial comprised a variety of charges, including dressing up like a man. Joan was burnt and killed at the age of 19, but was later found innocent and declared a martyr. (Image: Pexels)

Dr James Barry | Margaret Ann Bulkley (left) took her uncle’s name, James Barry, to enrol into medical school as in the 1780s, Ireland did not permit women to practice in the field of medicine. Barry spent her entire adulthood dressed like a man, draped in an overcoat, spoke in a deep asserted voice and wore 8 cm inserts in her shoes. She joined the British army as a military surgeon and went on to become one of the most successful medical experts of her day. She is the first surgeon to perform a C section. Only at her funeral when the nurses undressed her to wash her body, did they realise that one of the most respected men in medicine was, in fact, a woman. (Image: Public Domain)
Agnodice | Ancient Greece was barbaric towards women, patriarchy forced them to behave and obey in silence. Agnodice disguised as a man to help women in labour, as practicing medicine for a woman in Greece was considered impudent behaviour. As soon as she started getting popular among her patients, men in the profession started accusing her of seduction and was charged with sexual abuse. However, the law in Athens changed, when her patients flooded the court room insisting that Agnodice had revolutionised female health care. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Jeanne Baret | In the 1700s women weren’t permitted to sail by the French Navy, but Jeanne Baret made sure she travelled the world. Baret was a ground breaking botanist, who bound her breasts with linen bandages, and became the first woman to circle the globe. She travelled across the world, with her boyfriend Philibert Commerson as his assistant. However, this glorifying tale soon turned into a horrifying tragedy, when the natives of Tahiti realised her gender, and eventually, she was brutally beaten up and gang raped. Jeanne created history by sailing with the French and circumnavigating the globe. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Khawlah Bint AI-Azwar | A legendary Arab warrior, Khawlah was initially a nurse to her brother who was a commander of the Rashidun army. However, when her brother was captured during the Muslim conquest, she wore the armour, veiled her face and fought along the men. She was called on by the army general for her valour and as she revealed her face, the rest of the army stood in shock. Khawlah was soon captured by the Byzantines and put in a women’s prison, where she formed an army and fought against the Byzantines. (Image: Youtube/TheGr8virtue)

One eyed Charley | Charley Parkhurst was an American stage coach driver, who lived her life disguised as a man. She put on a pair of pants and worked as a stable hand, managed horses and soon became one of the most feared names in the Wild West. She identified herself as a man, but her disguise wasn’t solely for her work. Charley lost one eye, after getting hoofed by a horse and had a hard reputation for carrying guns. There wasn’t much contemplation regarding her gender until she died of mouth cancer, owing to her long tobacco chewing habit. Charley Parkhurst created history in the year 1867 as the first woman to vote in an American election. (Image: Pinterest)

Rena Kanokogi Rena is a renowned Jewish-American Judo expert, who aspired to be a judo master in the 1950s. However, the problem that kept lingering, between her dreams and reality, was the fact that she was a woman. Her hunger for excelling in the field of martial arts, drove her to the point where she dressed up like a man in the 1959 New York State YMCA Judo Championship, a competition that was only for men. She beat every man she fought, but admitted to the disguise when the judges questioned her. Although she had to give up her medal, she proved her point that women are not fragile, and helped legitimise women’s judo. (Image: Facebook)
Norah Vincent | Journalist Norah Vincent, dressed like a man, took voice lessons to speak like a man, and befriended other men to understand gender disparity. She wore a thick padded jacket, and joined a bowling league with the name Ned. In her book “Self-Made Man: My Year Disguised as a Man”, Norah recounts her 18-month long experience, where she talks about her stint as a man and her alter ego Ned, visiting strip clubs and dating other women. (Image: Wikipedia)




Skip to content