History is rich in the achievements of women. Here, Mark Hichens tells the stories of eleven women who were outstanding. Here are illuminating accounts of women who made a difference:
Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War and, later, as a top authority on public health, instituted much needed improved standards of nursing. Elizabeth Fry braved the mayhem of women’s prisons in the nineteenth century and read stories from the Bible to the frenzied inmates. Marie Curie toiled determinedly in a ramshackle laboratory to make a historic scientific discovery. Mother Teresa, caring for babies rescued from the gutters of Calcutta, was once a nun with only pennies in her pocket. By the end of her remarkable life she was at the head of an organisation of 600 houses in 130 countries, with millions of pounds at her disposal. In the arts we have Ninette de Valois, starting with twelve young dancers and presiding over them as they grow into the Royal Ballet; and Lilian Baylis, managing the Old Vic repertory company and bringing Shakespeare and opera in English to London on a very tight budget.
Also included are Emma Cons, Baroness Burdett Coutts, Emmeline Pankhurst, Edwina Mountbatten and Dame Edith Sitwell.
Certainly the eleven accomplished much, especially since women’s lives were closely restricted at that time, nearly all careers being denied them and being regarded as fit only for domestic duties at home. They were truly women of consequence.