To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’ve picked five babes throughout the ages who have been all round bad-asses and fought for sisters’ equal rights, something that is still an issue today in terms of fair pay, sexual identity, consent…the list goes on. Let’s raise each other up and slow clap these heroines.
Why has there not been a major Hollywood film about Boudicca yet?! Like a good one?!
Part of the Celtic Iceni tribe, her husband bartered a deal with the Romans to continue as an independent clan. However, upon his death, things changed and the Romans took Iceni property and had Boudicca whipped – the last straw for the flame haired queen.
She led an uprising against the invaders in 60 AD with other tribes and defeated the supposedly unbeatable army, burning London to the ground in the process.
Her legend was mostly forgotten throughout the middle ages until Queen Victoria was keen to be compared to the brave warrior, and she was famous once more.
Name dropped by all-round sass icon Simone de Beauvoir as the “first woman to take up a pen to defend her sex’, Christine de Pizan was a French medieval author who not only found success as a writer in an age when many women couldn’t read, but was also fighting for female rights long before any bra’s met their fiery end.
After becoming a widow, she picked up her quill to provide for her fam, gaining a reputation for her complex ballads, while also challenging gender stereotypes in the era’s literature during debates within her community. Regarded as an intellectual, Pizan campaigned for nationwide female education, declaring men who opposed the cause only did so as they hated the idea a woman could be more intelligent than them. Amen.
She wasn’t voted into the White House, and never referred to herself as the President, but when her husband Woodrow’s health began to deteriorate, Edith Wilson pulled on her big gal pants and stepped up.
At the time (1919), the American constitution had nothing in place if the President was unable to perform his duties, so advised by his doctor, Edith acted as a go-between for her husband and congress, easing the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and providing stability throughout what could have been an international power struggle.
A lover not a fighter, Edith’s primary focus was preserving her ailing husband’s legacy, which she actively worked toward until her death in 1961. Fun fact – during the war, short of man power to tend the Oval office gardens she brought in an army of sheep to keep the lawns trimmed. Basically our ideal set-up.
Picture it, New York, 1974. Disco is taking over the club scene, gals are rocking flares and Charlie’s Angels are still a distant dream. Model Beverly Johnson had left nearby Buffalo to head for the bright lights, and made history as the first black woman to land the cover of American Vogue, opening the door for other black models in the 70’s and 80’s and smashing beauty standards in the process.
The move turned Johnson into a total star, and her success was the proof the African American community needed to see that the civil rights movement had made a difference, even in high fashion. Ladies of all races were encouraged by the progress made during the decade that saw females leaving the kitchen and enter the workplace as the new normal.
As we know, a storm has been brewing in the US for a long time, way before the bloated, toupee-wearing windbag took the throne. America already gives women a tough time as the only developed country without guaranteed maternity pay, expensive birth control and an obscene pay gap of 20%. However, things seemed a little worse when Senate Bill 5 was put forward in congress, placing the most extreme restrictions against abortion in the US on Texan women.
To defeat the Bill, democrat politician Wendy Davis took it upon herself to discuss the topic for 13 hours, unable to eat, drink, sit down or rest - adhering to the laws of senate during a filibuster. Sharing opinions and other women’s stories, Davis often had to talk over her male Republican colleagues to be heard, but, exhausted, she made it to midnight, defeated the Bill and demonstrated the power of women and what we could achieve. She has also been a keen campaigner for LGBT rights and gun restriction as well as pro-choice- after all, our bodies, our rules.