Powerful Women In History

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Powerful Women In History

Humanity has been around a long time. That’s enough to accumulate quite the past with fascinating, powerful, and passionate men and women scattered all across the world. All too frequently we hear about the great men of history, but what about the great women of history? Plenty of women have carved out powerful places for themselves and stood against forces greater than themselves despite being constantly attacked. Most of the time they sadly end up little more than a footnote or people actively work to obscure their work. Even in the relatively recent past, women have had credit for their work stolen or been dismissed for their potent contributions to various advances in science and society. With that in mind, it seems fitting to take a little time to look back at some of the powerful women in history. We’ll look at some of the ones who endured or fought back against the things that threatened them regardless of what would happen, the ones who climbed to the top, and the ones who made it quite clear they wouldn’t give an inch when greater powers came to their door.

In the ancient world, Rome stood at the center of all things and commanded the world’s attention. It stretched far beyond the capital and all the way out to places like the British Isles. Romans began to settle in the area and would make local allies or claimed territory from the local people. Boadicea was the wife of the king of the Iceni tribe that had nominally aligned itself with Rome. When her husband died, the Romans took advantage of the moment to claim the lands in the name of Rome despite agreements to the contrary, flogged the queen, and harmed her daughters. In response, Boadicea rallied the nobles of the Iceni along with the rest of her people and proceeded to march against the Romans. They gathered more tribes under them as they marched southward and smashed Roman forces as they went until they eventually reached Londinium, a seat of Roman power, and burned it to the ground. While the queen eventually faced defeat, she taught the Romans the meaning of fear for the time that she and her armies marched against them.

Ruby Bridges
It is difficult for many people to think back to a time before the United States ceased to enforce segregation between people of color and white people. A lot is frequently said of the direct civil rights leaders of the time that lead marches, sit-ins, and gave speeches to crowds to call for a better tomorrow. Ruby Bridges was not one of them, but she nonetheless became a truly powerful woman in history by doing what needed to be done when she was only six years old. Bridges holds the distinction of being the first African-American child to integrate into a previously racially segregated “white” elementary school in the deep South. The threats of violence lead to officials assigning both Bridges and her family a guard of federal marshals while integration was going on to protect them from violence. She may only have been six, but in truth this act of going to school and continuing to do so means history will never forget her.

Marsha P. Johnson
Civil rights are an important part of history simply because women were denied so many rights for so long. Fighting back for them has been a cause that has been a calling for so many that the recent past is littered with powerful and memorable women. Sadly, many people have never heard of Marsha P. Johnson despite her being a powerful part of the LGBT rights movement right at the start during the Stonewall Riots. Most people associate Stonewall with white gay men these days, but back then the scene included a lot more African-American men and women too. Johnson was an African-American trans woman who did her part to help guide the energy of the riots in a positive direction for the liberation of LGBT people everywhere. It is a pity, especially during Trans Awareness Month, that more people don’t know about Johnson’s powerful dedication to bettering the lives of others. Sadly, like Boadicea, Johnson’s life was cut short in what was likely an act of brutality that remains unsolved to this day.

The powerful women of history come in many forms. Some were rulers and some were simply those women who chose to stand up for a better world. We would not be collectively where we were without them. Carving out their own names in history means that we’re unlikely to forget them unless we allow ourselves to be made to forget. When women around the world continue to struggle to be heard, it seems only fitting that we strive to remember all our myriad of sisters fought for and achieved.

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