We need to tell more women’s stories. They do after all make up more than 50% of the world’s population! Why are so many of their stories untold? We know that their experience has been left out of history books in a big part because of illiteracy. Literacy has an empowering effect on women. And we can see through history examples when literate women have told their stories and the stories of others.
But how far have we actually come?
We have come a long way. But there is still a long way to go. Did you know that women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate people? That seems unbelievable in 2021, but it’s true. Now that International Woman’s Day has passed for another year, let’s pause to reflect on the leaps that have been made, and those we still need to make.
We’ve been sharing stories of inspirational and trailblazing women and minority groups in our series Untold. In fact, we’ve created a playlist to help you discover these stories for yourself. But, here’s a sneak peek of some of the incredible stories, you’ve probably never heard.
Marie Van Brittain Brown: Creating CCTV in Queens
Spare a thought for the burglars of America – they’re going out of business! Since 1993, property crime in the US has fallen by 69%. Thanks to the pioneering work of one woman: Marie Van Brittan Brown – visionary inventor of the Home Security System.
Mary Anderson: The Inventor of the Windshield Wiper
The first mass-produced car in America was basically a lawnmower with leather trim, but it was a start, right? This is the story of Mary Anderson and the Windshield Wiper – an invention that happened by a stroke of fate!
Zitkala-Ša: Advocate for the Rights of Native People
At the turn of the 20th century, the US government forced Native Americans to assimilate into Anglo-American culture. But Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, aka Zitkala-Sa, an activist, author, and educator, fought against the Americanization of Native nations.
Barbara Jordan: The Black Texan Politician who Broke the Glass Ceiling
At a time when women and people of colour were all but excluded from the US government, one woman stormed the corridors of power and made them her own. This is the story of Barbara Jordan, the African American from the South who defied expectations by being selected to serve in Congress and who became one of the finest legislators in US history.
Hot off the Press
Mary Carson Breckenridge: Mother of American Midwifery
More women have been lost in childbirth than men in war? Maternity is the young woman’s battlefield,” wrote Mary Breckenridge in 1927. “It is more dangerous, more painful, more mutilating than war, and as inexorable as all the laws of God.” Born in 1881, Mary Carson Breckenridge changed the face of US midwifery.
To celebrate the release of our newest Hidden Figure, we’ve included the video below and a set of activities that can help educators discover the story of Mary Breckenridge.