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True Heroines
Second Tuesday of October

Ada Lovelace Day is an annual event celebrated on the second Tuesday of October, which began in 2009. Its goal is to "... raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths," and to "create new role models for girls and women" in these fields.

Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, was a highly-educated mathematician and writer in the 1800s, deeply interested in sciences and the human brain. She is widely known as one of the first computer programmers, having written extensive notes about Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine which describe his machine as a computer with additional notes outlining software. An algorithm in the notes outlines the first of its kind tailored for use on a computer, but since Babbage’s machine was never completed, her program could not be tested.

Violette Szabó (1921 – 1945)

SOE agent Violette Szabó was one of the most incredible women who operated behind enemy lines during the Second World War. The daughter of an English father and French mother, and widow of a French army officer, Szabo joined the Women’s Land Army in 1940 and also worked in an armaments factory, before joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). After her husband died in action, she trained as a Special Operations Executive (SOE) field agent. Daring and courageous, she conducted sabotage missions, was embroiled in gun battles and battled betrayal. On her second mission into occupied France she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated and tortured, then deported to Germany where she was eventually executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp, aged just 23. Violette was one only four women to be awarded the George Cross for bravery, which she received posthumously.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor (1932 –2011)

Elizabeth Taylor, considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system, was born in Hampstead, north London to wealthy American parents. Her mother, Sara, was a former stage actor and her father, Francis, an art dealer. In 1939, just a few months before the outbreak of war, the family moved to Hollywood, where her father opened an art gallery. With dark hair and striking violet eyes, Taylor’s beauty attracted praise and she was invited to audition for both the Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios. Accepting a contract with Universal, the child actress made her screen debut with a minor role in There’s One Born Every Minute (1942), but her contract was terminated a year later. She was then signed by MGM, appearing briefly in a couple of films before and had her breakthrough role in National Velvet (1944). It was not long before she became one of the studio’s most popular young stars. Making the transition to adult roles, Taylor was one of the big stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s and in 1960 she won her first Academy Award, Best Actress for BUtterfield 8 (1960). In 1963 she was paid a record-breaking $1 million to play the title role in Cleopatra, the most expensive film ever made at that time. Although she had less roles in the 1970s and 80s, she continued to star in films and on television and was the first celebrity to launch a perfume brand. Although her personal life was subject to constant media attention – she was married eight times to seven men, endured serious illnesses and led a jet set lifestyle – Taylor dedicated the later years of her life to philanthropy. One of the first celebrities to take part in HIV/AIDS activism, she co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985 and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Irena Sendler (1910 – 2008)

Irena Sendler may be an unfamiliar name to many people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving their lives. A Polish nurse and social worker, Sendler was so appalled by the conditions she witnessed in the Ghetto that she was one of the first recruits of Żegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, organised by the Polish underground resistance movement. Assisted by other Żegota members, Sendler saved around 2,500 Jewish children from certain death by providing them with safe hiding places and false identity documents, before finding non-Jewish families to adopt them. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual during the Holocaust. German occupiers eventually discovered her activities and she was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. Later in life she was awarded Poland’s highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle, for her wartime humanitarian efforts.

James Miranda Stuart Barry a.k.a. Margaret Ann Bulkley (c. 1789 – 1865)

Born in Ireland, James Barry was a successful British Army surgeon who rose to the rank of Inspector General in charge of military hospitals following service in India and South Africa. In his travels he not only improved conditions for soldiers, but for the local population too. It comes as a surprise to many, then, to learn that he actually started out life as a woman. In a time where women had very few career choices and were not allowed to study medicine, Margaret Ann Bulkley, after conspiring with some liberal-minded friends, disguised herself as a man in order to attend medical school in Edinburgh, qualifying in 1812. As James Barry she went on to have a remarkable career as a highly accomplished surgeon and a pioneer of hygienic practice; among the achievements was the first caesarean section in Africa by a British surgeon in which both the mother and child survived. Bulkley’s true identity was only revealed once her sex was discovered after death and it is only recently that her achievements in being the first qualified female British doctor and becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of Edinburgh have been recognised. The extraordinary story of Margaret Ann Bulkley illustrates the determination of some women and the lengths that they are willing to go to in order to achieve their dreams.
It makes you realise just how repressed women have been historically and for so long. Most of those names are new to me, Davidps and yet males with similar levels of achievement have become household names. 

Hopefully a far greater number of today’s women will be recognised in hundreds of years time.
One more to add to the list:

Andrea Ghez wins 2020 Nobel Prize in physics

UCLA professor is honored for her pioneering research on the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.

A remarkable achievement in a field dominated by men. Only 53 awards had previously been made to women, two of which were to Marie Curie, who was the first.
Are these all women that you admire personally (do you express an interest in their fields of skill and expertise) or just women that you think have accomplished admirable things? If the former you clearly have a wide range of interests.  Big Grin
(10-06-2020, 04:31 PM)Girlygirl Wrote: Are these all women that you admire personally (do you express an interest in their fields of skill and expertise) or just women that you think have accomplished admirable things? If the former you clearly have a wide range of interests.  Big Grin

They are all women that I admire personally. I have a lot of general interest in many fields but I do not have the intelligence to excel in any of them. I admire men who make exceptional contributions to knowledge, or to the world, as well, but it is so much harder for women to succeed, and if they do, get the recognition that they deserve.

I know that, just like men, not all women will achieve exceptional things but that is no reason why I, or any man should not show respect for all of them. 

A quote that I like:

"A woman sacrifices a lot of things in her life. Yet, somehow she finds happiness in those things. I hope we, as men, find happiness in giving women the love and respect they deserve."

Aakash Khanna
Amen to that, Davidps  Big Grin
Two scientists have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing the tools to edit DNA.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna are the first two women to share the prize, which honours their work on the technology of genome editing.
Their discovery, known as Crispr-Cas9 "genetic scissors", is a way of making specific and precise changes to the DNA contained in living cells.
They will split the prize money of 10 million krona (ÂŁ861,200; $1,110,400).

On being one of the first two women to share the prize, Prof Charpentier said: "I wish that this will provide a positive message specifically for young girls who would like to follow the path of science... and to show them that women in science can also have an impact with the research they are performing."
She continued: "This is not just for women, but we see a clear lack of interest in following a scientific path, which is very worrying."
What a timely announcement    Big Grin I don’t understand much about DNA but it sounds very useful nevertheless and certainly it’s a path more women should be encouraged to enter onto and I’m sure we would see many more similar announcements.

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