Get acquainted with 4 remarkable heroines from the past…
By Disha Sawlani
This Throwback Thursday we would like to introduce you some women who were light-years ahead of their time — these women, even though they were truly amazing and kicked some serious ass in their time probably were not acknowledged as much as they deserved, and we thought it’s about time to give them all a shout out!
Celebrate Laura Creeta, Tcheng Yu-Hsiu, Doria Shafik & Luisa Capetillo in this week’s #throwbackthursday article. #historicheroines #SHeroines
The term that you so often use to describe all the strong, supportive women around you; “girl gang” was practically coined by Laura (didn’t know that did you, well, we are happy to help). Laura was situated in 15th century Italy, and she was a writer. She wrote and educated her fellow ladies about the importance of having female friendships at a time when women’s roles in literature were confined to being the romantic interests of the story’s leading man. She made it clear in most of her work that she was extremely reliant on the strong women in her life, her own personal “girl gang”. She also promoted various rights for women. She stood up for women’s right to an education, spoke out against domestic violence, and abolished the mentality that a wife’s purpose was only to serve her husband.
Most famous quote: “My ears are wearied by your carping.” Laura was known for saying this her harshest critics. In modern English it would loosely translate to, ‘My ears are tired of your complaining”, this has got to be our new favorite insult.
Tcheng Yu-Hsiu of China was a rebel from a very young age. She lived in a time when foot binding was an expected practice. But being the outlaw that she was Tcheng flat out refused to do it. She broke the long flowing tradition of foot binding in her family and went along to prove her idea that girls do not need to be obedient and docile to be good human beings.
She was a go-getter and did exactly what she wanted, knowing that it was right for her and for her future. She blocked out her parents’ constant pressure to get married… and when her parents decided on a man she was to be married to, she personally delivered a hand-written rejection letter to him (you go, GIRL!). She ended up going to Paris to pursue her higher education.
She became the first female lawyer and judge in Chinese history, and incorporated her passion for women’s rights in to the Republic of China’s law and encouraged the women in her society to own their voices and choices.
Even though Doria had a posh background and came from a family that was a part of Egypt’s elite, she was the face of the women’s liberation movement in Egypt and supported women from all socio-economic backgrounds. After being denied a teaching position at Cairo University for being a woman ahead of her times and a forward thinker, she became an editor for a French-language magazine in Egypt.
It was groundbreaking in select circles, but in order to reach women of all demographics, she quit and took the leap. She started an Arabic-language magazine, Bint Al-Nil in which she wrote about women’s rights and equality. Her passionate writing and risk bearing paid off and the first issue sold out almost immediately.
The magazine eventually became a union and then political party which aimed to eradicate illiteracy, demand suffrage and ensure women’s inclusion in Egyptian policy.
Luisa lived in Puerto Rico, and at a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote she was one of the biggest labor organizers in the region. Her job entailed reading to workers in a tobacco factory and she dedicated her life to mass organization of workers, especially women, of course.
In the early 1900’s she began writing for a radical newspaper and she even went on to write a feminist thesis. Now she was one hardcore ‘feminist’. She gave talks about ‘free love’ and also traveled all over Puerto Rico and the United States to empower women to stand up against oppression.
Would you believe there was a time when a woman wearing men’s pants was illegal, appalling right?! Well Luisa lived through that and while at worker’s strike in Cuba she stirred up a storm by wearing a pair of man’s pants to the strike (she was thrown in jail for doing that, btw).
There are so many women all over time that were not included in history textbooks and not given the recognition that they deserve because they strongly stood against the oppressive conditions of their times. But all that doesn’t matter today because it is them we have to thank for showing up, speaking up and lighting the way for other women to follow.