September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. The Theme for 2023 is “Prosperity, Power and Progress.”
“I never thought in terms of fear. I thought in terms of justice.” ― Emma Tenayuca, Mexican-American labor organizer, civil rights activist
WOW2 is a four-times-a-month sister blog to This Week in the War On Women
“A theory in the flesh means one where the physical realities of our lives – our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual longings – all fuse to create a politic born of necessity.” ― Cherrie Moraga, from This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian— our psyches resemble the border towns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the "real" world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”
― Gloria Anzaldúa, scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory
The purpose of WOW2 is to learn about and honor women of achievement, including many who’ve been ignored or marginalized in most of the history books, and to mark events in women’s history.
These trailblazers have a lot to teach us about persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. I hope you will find reclaiming our past as much of an inspiration as I do.
THIS WEEK IN THE WAR ON WOMEN will post shortly, so be sure to go there and catch up on the latest dispatches from the frontlines.
Many, many thanks to libera nos, intrepid Assistant Editor of WOW2. Any remaining mistakes are either mine, or uncaught computer glitches in transferring the data from his emails to DK5. And much thanks to wow2lib, WOW2’s Librarian Emeritus.
Note: All images and audios are below the person or event to which they refer.
- September 24, 1812 – Mary Anne Browne born, British poet and composer of musical scores; noted for Mont Blanc, Ada, The Birthday Gift, and Sacred Poetry.
- September 24, 1825 – Frances Watkins Harper born a free woman, African-American abolitionist, lecturer, poet, and author; she published her first book of poetry at age 20, and became the first American black woman to publish a short story, “Two Offers,” in the Anglo-African in 1859. Her novel Iola Leroy, published in 1892, was widely praised. She was part of the Underground Railroad in the 1850s, a public speaker for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and an advocate for woman suffrage and prohibition. In 1894, she was a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women, and served as its first vice president.
- September 24, 1825 – Bhikaiji Cama born, Indian independence activist; she got a better-than-average education, and showed a flair for languages. At age 24, she married Rustom Cama, a pro-British lawyer with political ambitions. It was an unhappy marriage, and she spent much time on social and philanthropic projects. When famine and then plague hit, she volunteered to nurse the sick at Grant Medical College, contracted the disease herself, but survived in a much weakened state. She left India in 1902 for medical treatment in London, where she met Shyamji Krishna Varma, an Indian nationalist known for making fiery speeches in Hyde Park. Through him she became private secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji, president of the British Committee of the Indian National Congress, an advocate for Indian Home Rule. She went to France, and co-founded the Paris Indian Society. Cama wrote and distributed revolutionary articles for pro-nationalist weekly papers, which were smuggled into India. In 1907, she spoke about famine in India at the Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, Germany, and appealed for human rights and autonomy for her country, then unfurled a “flag of Indian Independence” she made, based in the 1906 Calcutta Flag. In 1909, Scotland Yard arrested several key activists living in Great Britain, and requested Cama’s extradition from France, but the French government refused to cooperate. The British government then seized Cama’s inheritance. Inspired by the women’s suffrage campaign in Britain, in 1910 she spoke in Cairo, asking, “I see here the representatives of only half the population of Egypt. May I ask where is the other half? Sons of Egypt, where are the daughters of Egypt? Where are your mothers and sisters? Your wives and daughters?” However, she believed India must first become independent, and then women could work for their rights. When WWI began in 1914, members of the Paris India Society were scattered, and some of them were deported. Cama, in poor health, was allowed to stay in Bordeaux, on condition she reported weekly to local police. She remained in exile in Europe until 1935, when she was paralysed by a stroke and gravely ill. She petitioned the British government to be allowed to return to India, but had to renounce seditious activities before she was allowed to return. Cama arrived in Bombay in November 1935, and died in August 1936.
- September 24, 1873 – María de las Mercedes Adam de Aróstegui born, Cuban composer and pianist who worked mostly in Spain, and often gave concerts with Pablo Casals.
- September 24, 1890 – Woodruff Manifesto: Under pressure from the U.S government, Wilford Woodruff, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issues an “authoritative and binding” statement renouncing plural marriage.
- September 24, 1898 – Charlotte Moore Sitterly born, American astronomer and astrophysicist; organized, analyzed, and published definitive books on the solar spectrum and spectral line multiplets. She worked as a human computer at the Princeton University Observatory after graduating from Swarthmore College in 1920. At the observatory, she collaborated with Professor Henry Norris Russell researching binary stars, stellar mass, and the classification of stars based on their spectra. They co-published the results of their five years of work at Princeton. She next was part of a team at the Mount Wilson Observatory working on solar spectroscopy, identifying chemical elements in the Sun. Unable to study at Princeton because they did not accept women, she earned a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1931 from the University of California, Berkeley. Moore then returned to Princeton to continue her work with Russell, but as a research assistant. She identified technetium in sunlight, the first example of technetium naturally existing. In 1937, she married Bancroft W. Sitterly, a physics professor, but continued to publish under her maiden name. She was honored that year with the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy. From 1945 to 1989, she worked for both the National Bureau of Standards, which published her tables of atomic spectra and energy levels, and at the Naval Research Laboratory. In 1949, she was the first woman elected as an associate of Great Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society, and in 1961, received the Federal Woman’s Award. She continued her research until her death in 1990 at the age of 91.
- September 24, 1898 – Charlotte van Pallandt born, Dutch sculptor and painter, known for portrait busts. She studied at the Ealing School of Art in London, then returned to the Netherlands, where she was a member of the Pulchri Studio. She married in 1919, but divorced in 1924. After spending time in Paris, she began sculpting. In 1928, she went to Italy, and in 1929, she stopped painting entirely to focus on sculpting. One of her sculptures won second prize at the Paris Exposition of 1937. During WWII, she remained in Amsterdam. In 1948, her first solo exhibition at the gallery of Santee Landweer in Amsterdam, attracted her major attention – at age 50. She was a founding member of De Zeester, a circle of women artists. In 1963, she was awarded the title Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau, and in 1968, she produced the notable bronze statue of Queen Wilhelmina which stands in front of Noordeinde Palace. In 1973, she was honored with the title "Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau." She died in 1997 at age 98. The Charlotte van Pallandt-prijs is now an annual award given to promising young sculptors.
- September 24, 1901 – Alexandra Adler born, Austrian neurologist who emigrated to the U.S in 1935; she conducted a study in 1937 with Tracy Jackson Putnam on the brain of a multiple sclerosis victim. Illustrations from the study are frequently used in medical literature. Her detailed studies on 500 survivors of the 1942 fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston were some of the earliest work on posttraumatic stress disorder. Adler discovered many survivors suffered from unsettled grief, particular changes in personality such as guilt and diminished vitality, and an increase in sleep disturbances and anxiety.
- September 24, 1902 – Cheryl Crawford born, legendary independent theater producer; her successes include Porgy and Bess and Brigadoon.
- September 24, 1914 – Esther Eng born, Cantonese-American film director; first woman director of Chinese-language films in the U.S., a pioneer who crossed boundaries of race, gender, language, and culture. At 19, she became a film producer when her father and his business partners formed a film production company. In 1936, she was a co-producer on the film Heartache, directed by Frank Tang. In 1937, she directed National Heroine, about a woman pilot fighting for her country, then Ten Thousand Lovers, Storm of Envy and It’s A Women’s World, which had an all female cast showcasing 36 women in different professions, and Golden Gate Girl. After making several other films, she went into the restaurant business in New York in 1950. Most of her films have been lost.
- September 24, 1916 – Ruth Leach Amonette born, American business executive and educator. In 1937 she graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in political science. In 1939, she was hired to work at San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition, demonstrating IBM typewriters. IBM then sent her for training in service system work, and she was assigned to their Atlanta office. In 1940, she became a teacher for IBM’s Department of Education in Endicott New York, training women from all over the country in selling IBM products. Amonette was promoted to IBM Secretary of Education three months later, and then in 1943, at age 27, she became the first woman executive and first woman vice president at IBM, one of the very few high-ranking women in corporate America. In 1947, she contracted tuberculosis, and went on medical leave, but returned to work the same year. In addition to her work at IBM, she served on several boards, including the Camp Fire Girls, the New York Public Library, and the American Association of University Women. She retired in 1953 at the age of 37, and got married in 1954. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 1996. Her memoir, Among Equals, was published in 1999, the year that she died.
- September 24, 1931 – Elizabeth Blackadder born, Scottish painter and printmaker; first woman elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy, noted for still lifes and landscapes, and her very detailed later work, often featuring flowers and cats. Her artwork was selected for a Royal Mail stamp, and she was appointed in 2001 as Her Majesty’s Painter and Limner in Scotland.
- September 24, 1938 – Valentina Grizodubova, Marina Raskova and Paulina Ossipenko fly nonstop from Moscow to Siberia, setting an international women’s record for straight-line distance.
- September 24, 1946 – Maria Teresa Ruiz born, Chilean astronomer; first woman to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics at Princeton University, and first Chilean woman awarded Chile’s National Prize for Exact Sciences, in 1997. Fellow of the Academy of Sciences since 1998.
- September 24, 1949 – Baleka Mbete born, South African politician; Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa (2014-2019); Deputy President of South Africa (2008-2009); Chair of the African National Congress (ANC – 2007-2017); she was in exile from South Africa from 1976 to 1990, working for the ANC in other African countries. When she returned to South Africa, she was elected the secretary-general of the ANC Women’s League (1991-1993), then as an MP for the ANC in 1994, and appointed chair of the ANC parliamentary caucus (1995-1996), then Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (1996-2004). Mbete also on the Presidential Panel of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the ANC National Executive Committee, and the Pan-African Parliament.
- September 24, 1950 – Harriet Walter born, British stage, screen, and television actress, known for the films Sense and Sensibility, The Young Victoria, Rocketman, and The Last Duel, and the television series Downton Abbey and The Crown. She also performed in Royal Shakespeare Company productions, and played leading roles in the all-woman cast productions at the Donmar Warehouse of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Henry IV, and The Tempest, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. She is actively involved with several charities, including the Shakespeare Schools Festival, which enables school children to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres; Prisoners Abroad, supporting the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families; and Clean Break, a theatre company that shares the stories of imprisoned women and brings theatre education to women prisoners. In 2011, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to drama.
- September 24, 1962 – Nia Vardalos born in Canada, Canadian-American screenwriter, actress, and producer of Greek descent; her biggest hit film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was based on a one-woman play she wrote and starred in. She made her directorial debut with the independent feature film I Hate Valentine’s Day, and co-produced and starred in My Life in Ruins, the first U.S. production allowed to film at the Acropolis in Athens.
- September 24, 1965 – President Johnson issues Executive Order 11246 prohibiting sex discrimination in employment by the federal government or by federal contractors.
- September 24, 1967 – Noreena Hertz born, English economist, academic, and author. In 2007, she launched the Mayday for Nurses campaign to raise money for a fund to help nurses in times of hardship and need, because they are among the worst-paid public servants with professional qualifications. Since 2009, she has been Professor and chair of Globalisation, Sustainability and Finance at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University; author of The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy; IOU: The Debt Threat; and Generation K.
- September 24, 1969 – Shamim Sarif born in London to Indian immigrants from South Africa; British novelist and filmmaker; author of novels The World Unseen, I Can’t Think Straight, and Despite the Falling Snow, also writing and directing their feature film adaptations; she is openly lesbian and describes I Can’t Think Straight as semi-autobiographical; in 2015 she and her long-time partner, producer Hanan Kattan, married at the Chelsea Registry Office.
- September 24, 1972 – Esther Budiardjo born, Indonesian concert pianist, known for performances of Mendelssohn, Godowsky, and Brahms.
- September 24, 1985 – Eleanor Catton born in Canada, New Zealand novelist and short story writer; her book The Rehearsal won a 2009 Orange Prize, and Luminaries won the high-profile Man Booker Prize (for best original English-language novel) in 2013, making her the youngest author, at age 28, ever to win the Booker.
- September 24, 2015 – In the U.S., Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-sponsored spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown, because of a provision that would have shut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) promptly filed a new bill funding federal agencies past the October 1 shutdown date, through December 11. The new legislation did not cut off Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards testified before a Congressional hearing on how her organization spends over $500 million in annual federal funding, during which committee chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) attempted repeatedly to vilify the organization and Richards, using misinformation from the antiabortion group Americans United for Life. The bill to keep the federal government open which did not defund Planned Parenthood was passed by a vote of 77-19 on September 29. But in 2019, Planned Parenthood made the difficult decision to withdraw from the federal Title X family planning program because of new Trump administration rules that prohibit Title X grantees from providing or referring patients for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency. Alexis McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood said, "The impact of the Trump administration's gag rule will reverberate across the country." Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of reproductive health services, sex education, contraceptives, abortion, cancer screening, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in the U.S. For millions of low-income Americans, both women and men, it is the only affordable source of basic healthcare.
- September 24, 2020 – A new report from the International Rescue Committee shows the real progress made in women’s rights since Hillary Clinton declared in 1995 at the 4th World Conference for Women, “... women’s right are human rights.” In the 25 years since, there’s been a 110% increase in women serving in national parliaments; a 49% increase in women appointed as government ministers; a 38% decrease overall in maternal deaths worldwide; an 18% increase in female literacy, compared to an 8% increase in male literacy. On the down side, a record number of women have been forced to flee their homes – at least 13 million women are refugees, and Covid-19 may keep half of all refugee girls out of school; 46% of Afghan woman experienced gender-based violence; and 43% of Nigerian girls and 40% of Ethiopian girls are subject to child marriage.
- September 24, 2021 – In Switzerland, voters decided on whether to allow same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same rights as heterosexual marriage partners. The government and parliament approved marriage for same-sex couples the prior year, allowing them to adopt children not parented by either partner, giving lesbian couples access to sperm donation, and simplifying citizenship for foreign spouses, but it was immediately challenged by a trio of nationalist and conservative Christian parties, which objected to extending same-sex couples’ rights beyond the basic civil partnership legal in Switzerland since 2007. Under the Swiss constitution, any parliamentary decision can be submitted to a referendum if at least 50,000 citizens demand it. Corinne Guntern and Anouk Oswald said the Marriage for All vote represented an important milestone. “I want to be able to choose for myself if I want to marry this partner next to me and if it’s the right path for us to start a family,” said Oswald, age 30. Guntern, also 30, said it was not fair that a single woman could adopt a child while a same-sex couple could not. “Today, if I reach a certain age and I’m single, regardless of my sexual orientation, I can be accepted into the adoption process.” 64.1% of voters and all cantons supported the amendment, which entered into force July 1, 2022. The vote made Switzerland the 29th country to legalise same-sex marriage.
- September 25, 1758 – Josepha Barbara von Auerhammer born, Austrian pianist and composer. She studied with Mozart, who dedicated his Violin Sonatas K. 296 and K. 376–80 to her in 1781. After marrying in 1786, she continued to participate in concerts, at private venues and at the Burgtheater in Vienna. She gave the first public performance of Piano Concerto in C major, Op 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Her compositions are mainly for the piano.
- September 25, 1793 – Felicia Hermans born, English poet who identified as Welsh by adoption; though popular in her day, she is now known mainly for the opening lines to two of her poems: “The boy stood on the burning deck” from “Casabianca” and “The stately homes of England” from “The Homes of England.”
- September 25, 1828 — Mutinous officers attempt to assassinate Simón Bolívar in Bogotá, but he is aided in escaping by his lover, Doña Manuela Sáenz, a revolutionary and women’s rights activist. She got him out a window, then misled the mutineers on a hunt through the building for Bolívar. She also acted as an information gatherer and recruiter. He called her “Libertadora del Libertador” (Liberatress of the Liberator).
- September 25, 1844 – Sarah Bernhardt born, legendary French actress, manager, artistic director, and star of the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris (1893-1899); the first to impose a rule that ladies in the audience must remove their hats to avoid blocking the view of others.
- September 25, 1847 – Lavinia “Vinnie” Ream Hoxie born, sculptor, best-known for the Abraham Lincoln statue in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
- September 25, 1886 – May Godfrey Sutton born, tennis champion, first American to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
- September 25, 1903 – Olive Ann Beech born, American aerospace businesswoman; co-founder, president, and chair of the Beech Aircraft Corporation. She founded the company in 1932 with her husband, Walter Beech, and three others. She earned more awards, honorary appointments, and special citations than any other woman in aviation history and was often referred to as the “First Lady of Aviation.”
- September 25, 1905 – Edith Barstow born, American choreographer, dancer, and staging director for Garroway–at-Large (1949-1954), a pioneering television music and variety program headed by Dave Garroway.
- September 25, 1906 – Phyllis Pearsall born, British portrait painter and mapmaker. She founded the Geographer’s A-Z Map Company in 1936, which produced popular detailed and indexed maps of London, because she frequently became lost when going to first appointments with new subjects. During WWII, selling maps was forbidden so she went to work for the Ministry of Information, and after the war, the new edition of A-Z maps was printed in Amsterdam because of paper shortages in Great Britain. In 1966, she turned the Geographers’ A-Z Map Co. into a trust, ensuring it could never be bought out, and securing the future of the company and its employees. Through her donation of her shares to the trust, she was able to include her standards in the company’s statutes. She was active in the company, and painted prolifically, until her death from cancer in 1996, just a month before her 90th birthday.
- September 25, 1908 – Jacqueline Audry born, French director of Le bonheur conjugal (1965), Bitter Fruit (1967) and La garçonne (1957).
- September 25, 1911 – Lilian Masediba Ngoyi born, South African anti-apartheid activist; first woman elected to the African National Congress executive committee; also helped launch the Federation of South African Women. From 1945 to 1956, she worked as a machinist at a textile mill. In 1952, she joined the ANC Women’s League, and became the league’s president in 1953. In 1956, she was one of the leaders of the march by 20,000 women to the Union Buildings of Pretoria to protest against the apartheid government requiring women to carry passbooks as part of the pass laws. She was arrested, spent 71 days in solitary confinement, and was for a period of 15 years placed under severe bans and restrictions that confined her to her home in Soweto.
- September 25, 1916 – Jessica M. Anderson born, Australian novelist-short story writer; during WWII, she worked as a fruit picker in the Australian Women’s Land Army. She published her first novel, An Ordinary Lunacy, at age 47, in 1968. She won the Miles Franklin Literary Award for Tirra Lirra by the River in 1978, and in 1981 for The Impersonators. She died at age 93 in 2010.
- September 25, 1929 – Barbara Walters born, American broadcast journalist, author, and TV personality; first woman co-anchor on a network evening news program on ABC (1976-1978), and the first woman to co-host on ABC’s 20/20 news program in 1979.
- September 25, 1937 – Mary Allen Wilkes born, computer programmer, logic designer, and attorney; worked on the LINC computer in the 1960s, now considered the first minicomputer, and a forerunner to the PC. In 1972, she left the computer field to attend Harvard Law School, and became a trial lawyer in 1975, both in private practice and as head of the Economic Crime and Consumer Protection Division of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. Wilkes taught in the Trial Advocacy Program at the Harvard Law School (1983-2011), and also was a judge for the school’s first- and second-year Ames (moot court) competition. In 2001, she became an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, primarily on cases involving computer science and information technology.
- September 25, 1941 – Vivien Stern born, Baroness Stern of Vauxhall; appointed as a Life Peer in 1999, and member of the House of Lords: Secretary General of Penal Reform International (1989-2006); Director of NACRO, a national social justice charity in England and Wales (1977-1996); lecturer in education (1970-1977). Author of Bricks of Shame: Britain’s prisons, and a patron of the Prisoners’ Education Trust.
- September 25, 1942 – The War Labor Board in Washington DC ordered equal pay for U.S. women doing jobs essential to the war effort, who were needed to replace all the men who either volunteered for military service, or had been drafted.
- September 25, 1944 – Doris Okada Matsui born, American Democratic politician; U.S. Representative from California since March, 2005, originally elected to take her husband’s seat after his death from cancer in January, 2005. She was born in a WWII internment camp for Japanese Americans in Arizona, but her family returned to California after the war. Matsui was a volunteer for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, and served on his transition team. She was appointed as deputy special assistant to the president and deputy director of public liaison (1993-1998), then to the board of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2000. She is pro-labor, pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and opposes any move to privatize Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. She also co-chairs the Congressional High Tech Caucus.
- September 25, 1945 – Kathleen Brown born, American attorney and Democratic politician; Treasurer of the state of California (1991-1995); Los Angeles Board of Public Works (1987-1989); Los Angeles City Board of Education (1975-1983).
- September 25, 1948 – Mimi Kennedy born, American actress and activist; played Dharma’s mother Abby on the TV sitcom Dharma & Greg; chair of the board of Progressive Democrats for America, a charter member of Artists United to Win Without War, and an advocate for human rights, the environment, and labor.
- September 25, 1952 – bell hooks born as Gloria Jean Watkins, American author, feminist, and social activist; she has published over 30 books addressing race, class, capitalism, and gender; known for Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity. She died of kidney failure at age 69 in 2021.
- September 25, 1952 – Cherrie Moraga born, Chicana writer, poet, feminist activist, essayist, and playwright; founding member of the social justice group La Red Xican Indigena, fighting for education, Indigenous and cultural rights; notable for This Bridge Called My Back (editor), and Heroes and Saints.
- September 25, 1955 – Luanne Rice born, American novelist; noted for The Lemon Orchard, Little Night, The Silver Boat, and Beach Girls. Rice is an environmental activist, and an advocate for families affected by domestic violence.
- September 25, 1962 – Cathy Sarrai born as Kalthoum Sarrai in Tunisia, French television anchor and presenter, and author of three books, including an autobiography. She died of cancer in 2010 at age 47.
- September 25, 1964 – Rebecca Gablé born, German author of historical fiction and detective novels; Der König der purpurnen Stadt (The King of the Purple City).
- September 25, 1969 – Catharine Zeta-Jones born in Wales, actress and film star, known for The Mask of Zorro, Traffic, Chicago, and Intolerable Cruelty. In 2010, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her film and humanitarian work. She is a patron of Swansea's Longfields Day Centre for the disabled, a fundraiser for AIDS patients in Africa, a supporter of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and the Noah's Ark Appeal, and an ambassador of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Zeta-Jones has spoken openly about her struggles with bipolar II disorder and depression.
- September 25, 1973 – Jenny Chapman born, British Labour Party politician; Member of Parliament for Darlington (2010-2019); Life Peer and member of the House of Lords since 2021.
- September 25, 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is sworn in as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court justice.
- September 25, 1996 – The last of the Magdalene asylums closed in Ireland. After the discovery of a mass grave containing 155 corpses was discovered in 1993 on the grounds of one of the convents involved, a long investigation revealed abundant evidence of abusive practices. The Irish government issued a state apology in 2013, and set up a 50 million pound compensation fund for the survivors, to which the Catholic Church refuses to contribute, nor has it apologized. In 2000, Pope John Paul did apologize for the sins of individual Roman Catholics who, in the name of their faith, participated the Inquisition from the 13th to the 19th centuries.
- September 25, 2018 – Bill Cosby sentenced to three to ten years in prison for aggravated sexual assault. In August, 2020, his lawyers filed an appeal seeking a new trial, arguing that it was "fundamentally unfair" that the judge at his 2018 sexual assault trial allowed Cosby's deposition from a civil lawsuit to be used against him, and also argued that testimony from five accusers about sexual incidents that occurred years earlier had improperly prejudiced the jury against Cosby at the trial. On June 30, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction, citing violations of due process rights, and he was released from prison that same day. In June 2023, nine women filed a new civil suit against Cosby in Nevada after the state passed a law eliminating the statue of limitations for civil cases.
- September 25, 2019 – Just days after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent the nation’s Congreso de la Unión a bill to grant amnesty to women serving prison terms for abortion, lawmakers in the state of Oaxaca approved a bill to decriminalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Oaxaca is the second region of the country, after Mexico City, to permit abortions. Pro-choice activist Pilar Muriedas declared, “The victory is not only for Oaxaca — the law, yes — but it means this gives hope to the other states where women who decide to have an abortion ... are punished.”
- September 25, 2020 – Women’s rights activists expressed frustration, anger, and fear over Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to take the U.S. Supreme Court seat long held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died September 18, 2020. Ginsburg was a pioneering champion of gender equality. “It is a particularly painful irony that much of her legacy is at great risk of being undone by another woman,” said Lucinda Finley, a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Law. “A tragic irony.” Rachel Sussman, vice-president of state policy and advocacy at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, warned, “This vacancy represents a pivotal voice and moment in time where many of the freedoms that we have held dear really hang in the balance.” Barrett had voted three times on abortion-related cases in the 7th U.S. circuit court of appeals, and twice allowed restrictions to stand. In the third case, she ruled that anti-abortion activists could not approach women outside clinics and healthcare facilities. Rachel Johnson-Farias, executive director of the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said: “In terms of the cruelty we’re seeing, maybe it’s existed before, but definitely not in my lifetime ... don’t have the capacity to think of how bad it can get when your intentions are to be cruel.” Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by a partisan voted of 52-48 on October 26, 2020. Susan Collins, in her closest battle yet for re-election after voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy on the court, was the only Republican to vote against Barrett. No Democrats voted to confirm her.
- September 25, 2021 – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat from Michigan, issued a statement following passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House of Representatives, a bill to protect a woman's right to make her own reproductive health decisions: “Every woman in our country has the right to make her own reproductive health choices. The Supreme Court’s decision on Texas’ harsh abortion ban was an appalling attack on these personal freedoms. I strongly support Roe v. Wade and applaud the House of Representatives for passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. The Senate should move quickly to pass this legislation.” Natasha Chabria, associate counsel with the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said: “Communities of color have long been denied equal access to abortion care, despite the legal rights enshrined in Roe. This is about ensuring everyone has the ability to exercise bodily autonomy and make decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities with dignity and respect. The Senate must take up this bill again and pass the WHPA …” But in February, 2022, Senate Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to a Senate vote on the substance of the bill.
- September 26, 1820 – Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar born in British India, Bengali polymath and key figure in the Bengal Renaissance; philosopher, writer, translator, publisher, reformer, and philanthropist. Vidyasagar significantly simplified and modernized the Bengali alphabet and prose. He was a champion of uplifting the status of women, and campaigned for the Hindu Widows Remarriage Act, passed in 1856, which legalized the remarriage of Hindu widows. Many of the widows were child brides who had been the third or fourth wives of elderly men. Sometimes these marriages had never been consummated, but all widows were expected to be resigned to living chastely and austerely. In practice, many of them faced near-starvation, hard labour, and effectively were under ‘house arrest.’ Some young widows escaped and became prostitutes. The act upheld the legitimacy of any children from a second marriage, and also provided legal safeguards against loss of some forms of inheritance when a widow remarried, but she had to renounce her claim on any inheritance from her deceased husband when she married again.
- September 26, 1865 – Dame Mary Russell, Duchess of Bedford born, British pilot who set a record in 1929 flying 10,000 miles round trip between the U.K and India in 8 days; she also was an ornithologist interested in bird migration. Russell founded four hospitals in Woburn and Woburn Abbey, and worked as a nurse and radiographer from 1914 through the 1930s; member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, which used tax resistance to protest excluding British women from the right to vote. Her journal, A Bird-Watcher's Diary, was privately published after her death.
- September 26, 1875 – Mary Elisabeth Dreier born into a well-off family, she devoted herself to social and civic reform, and was an advocate for working women and woman suffrage. She joined the New York Women’s Trade Union League, a coalition of working women and middle-to-upper-class women founded in 1903 to help working women organize and to educate the public about their working conditions. She was the group’s president (1906-1914). During the 1909 New York Shirtwaist Strike, wealthy NYWTUL members marched to City Hall to demand an end to abuse of the striking workers by New York police. Dreier was one of those arrested during the demonstrations. She served on the New York State Factory Investigating Commission (1911-1915), and on the New York City Board of Education (1915). In 1917, she chaired the New York State Committee on Women in Industry of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense. After WWI, she was on the executive committee of the New York Council for Limitation of Armaments (1921-1927).
- September 26, 1876 – Edith Abbott born, economist, educator, author, and pioneer in making social work a profession. A leading activist in social reform, she advocated for humanitarianism to be embedded in education. Abbott also implemented a social work studies program through the graduate level. Though her work with social reform was met with resistance at the University of Chicago, she ultimately was successful and was elected as the school's dean in 1924, making her the first woman dean in the United States. Her innovations made the Chicago curriculum years ahead of other institutions. Abbott was also an early advocate for social security legislation. She was the author of Public Assistance - American Principles and Policies, published in 1940.
- September 26, 1877 – Bertha De Vriese born, Belgian doctor. Girls in Belgium weren’t allowed even secondary education until 1864, and banned from higher education until 1876. In 1890, they were finally allowed to attend medical school, but only if they had a completion certificate for secondary schooling, or passed an equivalency test. De Vriese was home schooled, so she studied for and passed the equivalency test in 1893. She was the first woman admitted to Ghent University’s medical school, the first woman to do research there, and in 1900, Ghent’s first woman graduate (summa cum laude) with a diploma for medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology. She was awarded 95 out of 100 points and a gold medal for her paper on blood vessels. After further studies abroad, she returned to Ghent in 1903, and took part in a two-year training program as an assistant. Yet when she applied for an extension to complete her training, she was denied, in spite of glowing recommendations, ending her hopes for a career in research. After working in the pediatric ward at Ghent’s Bijloke Hospital, De Vriese opened a private pediatric clinic; she later became the Bijloke children’s ward director, and a public school medical inspector.
- September 26, 1893 – Freda Kirchwey born, prolific political journalist, editor/owner of The Nation, birth control advocate in the 1920s; active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
- September 26, 1900 – Suzanne Belperron born, influential French jewelry designer, head of the Herz-Belperron company.
- September 26, 1919 – Matilde Camus born, Spanish poet and non-fiction author, known for historical themes.
- September 26, 1937 – Bessie Smith, American blues singer, fatally injured in a car crash, died the following morning.
- September 26, 1939 – Judith Appelbaum born, American newspaper and magazine editor, columnist, and author; managing editor of Publisher’s Weekly in the late 1970s, and wrote the best-seller How To Get Happily Published in 1978, and The Writer's Workbook: A Full and Friendly Guide to Boosting Your Book's Sales in 1980. Appelbaum was a columnist and reviewer for The New York Times Book Review. She died at age 78 of ovarian cancer in 2018.
- September 26, 1942 – Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa born, American scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory; her book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, is loosely based on her life growing up on the Mexican-Texas border.
- September 26, 1945 – Louise Beaudoin born, French Canadian Parti Québécois politician; National Assembly of Quebec member (1994-2003 and 2008-2012); decorated as a commandeur of the Légion d'honneur in 2004.
- September 26, 1946 – Andrea Dworkin born, controversial American author and radical feminist who campaigned against pornography and prostitution, which she viewed as linked to violence against women; Woman Hating; Right-Wing Women; Pornography: Men Possessing Women; and Intercourse.
- September 26, 1946 – Louise “Weezie” Simonson born, American comic book writer and editor; won the Inkpot Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comic Arts in 1992.
- September 26, 1946 – Claudette Werleigh born, Haitian lawyer, politician, and civil servant; adult literacy advocate, and helped organize humanitarian relief programs; Director at the Life & Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden (1999-2007); first woman Prime Minister of Haiti (1995-1996); Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religions (1994-1995).
- September 26, 1949 – Jane Smiley born, American novelist; won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for her novel A Thousand Acres.
- September 26, 1949 – Minette Walters born, English crime and historical fiction author; noted for The Ice House, which won the 1992 John Creasey Award for best first novel from the Crime Writers’ Association, The Sculptress, a Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award winner, and The Scold’s Bride, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger.
- September 26, 1961 – Marianne Mikko born, Estonian Social Democratic politician; Estonian Parliament member (2011-2019), on the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy; Member of the European Parliament (2004-2009), on the Committee on Culture and Education. Member of the UN Women’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) since 1982.
- September 26, 1962 – Tracey Thorn born, British singer-songwriter and author; part of the duo ‘Everything but the Girl’ with Ben Watt (Amplified Heart album); also successful in her solo career. Thorn has published three books: Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star; Naked at the Albert Hall; and Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia. Her column, “Off the Record,” for the New Statesman, ran from 2014 to 2022.
- September 26, 1971 – Representative Shirley Chisholm entered the Democratic presidential primaries, the first woman to run for the Democratic nomination, and the first black woman to run for President. Chisholm was also the first African-American woman elected to Congress (Democrat-New York, 1969-1983).
- September 26, 1973 – Captain Lorraine Potter, American Baptist minister, became the first woman U.S. Air Force chaplain.
- September 26, 1988 – Lily Singh born, Canadian comedian; host and producer of A Little Late with Lily Singh, only the second woman to host an American TV network late night talk show after Cynthia Garrett’s short-lived Later. She is also a You Tube star, and starred in the autobiographical-documentary film, A Trip to Unicorn Island. Author of the best-selling book, How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life.
- September 26, 2007 – The first World Contraception Day is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and numerous women’s health organizations, including Planned Parenthood.
- September 26, 2017 – Saudi Arabia announced lifting a longstanding ban against women driving, the focus of criticism over the treatment of Saudi women by the conservative Muslim monarchy. The ban wasn’t actually lifted until June, 2018. Women’s rights and human rights groups pushed for lifting the ban. Some women activists were jailed for defying the ban, and for campaigning against restrictive guardianship laws under which women have a similar legal status to minor children. Supporters of the prohibition claimed it was appropriate in a country under Shariah law, and that letting women drive would lead to promiscuity and the destruction of the family. Saudi leaders expressed hope the new policy would help more women enter the workplace, since they will no longer need to spend a substantial amount of their salaries paying a male driver. However, in the lead up to lifting the driving ban, Saudi Arabia arrested at least a dozen leading women's rights activists, and accused them of undermining national security and “having contacts with foreign parties.” Among those detained was 28-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul, who was previously arrested for driving in 2014. That year she was held for more than 70 days. Al-Hathloul was arrested again in May 2018, and was over 1000 days. Another prominent activist arrested at the same time was Aziza al-Yousef, a retired computer science professor, and a leader of the campaign to end male guardianship of adult women, was detained until March, 2019, when she was released on bail.
- September 26, 2018 – Padma Lakshmi, American author, actress, activist, and host of Top Chef, was sexually assaulted at age seven, then raped when she was a teenager by a man in his 20s she had dated. “I understand why women keep silent,” she wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times. “These experiences have affected me and my ability to trust. It took me decades to talk about this with intimate partners and a therapist. I think if I had at the time named what happened to me as rape – and told others – I might have suffered less. Looking back, I now think I let my rapist off the hook and I let my 16-year-old self down.” She wrote the piece in response to Donald Trump, who questioned why Christine Blasey Ford did not immediately report what had happened if her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were true. “I understand why both women [Ford and another Kavanaugh accuser] would keep this information to themselves for so many years, without involving the police. For years I did the same thing ... Now, 32 years after my rape, I am stating publicly what happened. I have nothing to gain by talking about this. But we all have a lot to lose if we put a time limit on telling the truth about sexual assault and if we hold on to the codes of silence that for generations have allowed men to hurt women with impunity.”
- September 26, 2019 – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sparked a tide of criticism by dismissing suggestions that his rhetoric was dangerous in the current climate, and claiming the best way to honour the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox was to “get Brexit done.” This was particularly tone-deaf given that Jo Cox was an advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union. The Guardian interviewed Labour MP Paula Sherriff after her speech about Cox, who was assassinated during the Brexit referendum campaign, asking Johnson to stop using inflammatory language such as “traitor,” “betrayal,” and “surrender.” Her pleas were dismissed as “humbug” by the Johnson in the House of Commons. Sherriff confirmed, “I have had so many, too many, threats to detail. Threats on my life. Rape threats. Since I confronted the prime minister on language, we have already had to report two or three to the police. You just can’t take any chances. The abuse is virtually constant, certainly on social media. It does peak and trough according to what’s going on in parliament. It started with the referendum. Brexit really seems to have empowered some people who feel this sort of language, and these sorts of threats, have become legitimized ... To be a female MP, certainly in a marginal seat, isn’t easy. The vast majority of us accept robust debate comes as part of our role, as well as constructive criticism. Unfortunately, so many cross the line with threats of violence, and sexual violence, and some are really offensive ... It can be wearing. You try to balance it against the good work you are doing and the supportive messages ... I think you become a little bit inured to it ... It certainly doesn’t shock me in the way it might have done three years ago when I did sometimes cry when I saw them. But now I rarely do. Now, it makes me feel angry, and it makes me feel really sad about where we are as a society, because I don’t want the widespread feeling that it’s just OK to abuse your MP, or indeed anybody in public office ... Jess Phillips [Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley] tweeted that she is not worried about an election, she is worried that somebody will kill her. You have to ask, what the hell is going on?”
- September 26, 2020 – UN Women’s WeEmpowerAsia initiative, to mobilize the private sector towards gender equality and increase women’s full and equal economic participation, held virtual meetings with leaders of companies in Thailand. On September 30, 2020, at a physically-distanced ceremony in Bangkok, chief executives of 110 companies in Thailand signed pledges for equal pay for equal work, safer and more inclusive workplaces, and to improve gender equality in the boardroom. Mohammad Naciri, UNWomen’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, called for “nothing less than bold, decisive actions to secure a generation of equality in business as well as women’s full and equal participation across all sectors. The ‘new normal’ shines a light on our common humanity, shared vulnerabilities, and it is only through a collective, collaborative recovery that a more gender equal society can be fully achieved.”
- September 26, 2021 – In the UK, detectives began questioning a 36-year-old suspect in the murder of the London schoolteacher Sabina Nessa. The man, the third to be arrested over the killing. The other two men were released. DCI Neil John, of the Metropolitan police’s specialist crime command, said: “Sabina’s family have been informed of this significant development and they continue to be supported by specialist officers.” It is believed that Sabina Nessa, age 28, was killed while walking to a pub near her home around 8:30 PM on September 17. She was found dead the following day in Cater Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London. About 500 mourners later held a candlelit vigil in her memory at the park. The killing reignited concerns about the level of danger women face in Britain. In April, 2022, this 36-year-old man was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to a minimum of 36 years in prison for the brutal sexually motivated killing. Mr Justice Sweeney said Sabina Nessa was the “wholly blameless victim of an absolutely appalling murder which was entirely the fault of the defendant.”
- September 27, 1657 – Sophia Alekseyevna born, was Regent of Russia (1682-1689) during the minority of her brother, Ivan V and half-brother Peter I. She forged alliances with Prince Vasily Golitsyn and other key court members, during a time when Muscovite upper-class women were confined to the upper-floor terem (women’s separate quarters), and had to wear veils in public, were always accompanied by guards, and kept away from any open involvement in politics. She was the only girl among her siblings who was educated by her older brothers’ tutor. When her brother, Tsar Feodor III died, Sophia unexpectedly acted in the interest of her sickly 16 year-old brother Ivan to prevent her 9-year-old half-brother Peter from bypassing Ivan and inheriting the throne, as her father was considering at the time of his death. The clans of her father’s two wives, Mara Miloslavskaya and Natalia Naryshkina, were both vying to see the son of their branch on the throne. State funerals were only attended by men, but she shocked mourners at Feodor’s funeral by storming in and insisting on staying. Her Miroslavsky relatives backed Sophia as regent, and took advantage of an uprising by the Streltsy regiments in Moscow to spread rumors of corruption, and stir up rebels, who stormed the royal residence and killed several Naryshkin supporters, including two of Peter’s uncles. Mobs of the poor began looting in the streets of Moscow. Ivan was proclaimed as the “first” tsar, with Peter as a secondary co-ruler, and Sophia as regent for them both. Another attempt to usurp the throne was put down. Prince Vasily Golitsyn became the diplomatic force behind the Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686 with Poland, and the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk with China. But Peter and his faction became increasingly insistent on his rights, especially after Ivan’s first-born was a girl child. His Naryshkin relatives demanded after Peter married at age 17 that Sophia step down, and Ivan be demoted. She was forced into exile in the Novodevichy convent, without taking the veil, and died in there in 1704 at age 46.
- September 27, 1776 – Maria Versfelt born, Dutch writer and actress, also used the names Ida Saint-Elme, Elzelina av Aylde Jonghe, and the pen name La Contemporaine. Married to a merchant, she ran away from her husband, and by age 19, she was traveling with Napoleon’s army in campaigns across Europe. The love of her life was General Michel Ney, who became a Marshal of France. She often dressed in men’s clothes to travel with him on horseback, and fought and was wounded in the battle of Eylau in East Prussia. She took part in the disastrous winter campaign in Russia, and the French retreat from Moscow. After 1801, she also worked as an actress with traveling theatre companies in France and Italy. She published her memoirs in eight parts from 1827 to 1828, Mémoires d'une Contemporaine, which made her famous – and infamous. One outraged reviewer called her the "indiscreet and immoral confidante of the men of the Directoire, the Empire and even the Restoration … and from each of these personalities, as a skillful courtesan, she had known how to extract things which should have died with the man and gone with him to his tomb." In 1831, Versfelt published her second book, La Contemporaine en Egypte, an account of her travels through France, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. She then launched a satirical magazine called La Caricature francaise, Journal sans abonnees et sans collaborateurs (French caricature, a journal without subscribers and without collaborators), published in London to avoid censorship in France, but ceased publication after she was sued for libel. In 1845, she died at age 68 in Brussels, in the almshouse of the Ursuline sisters.
- September 27, 1861 – Corinne Roosevelt Robinson born, American writer, poet, and public speaker; sister of Theodore and aunt of Eleanor Roosevelt; first woman to second the nomination of a Presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, at the 1920 Republican convention for Leonard Wood, but he lost the nomination to Warren G. Harding. She didn’t campaign for Hoover in 1932 and voted for FDR.
- September 27, 1871 – Grazia Deledda born, Italian author and poet; first Italian woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1926; noted for Chiaroscuro, and Canne al vento (Reeds in the Wind).
- September 27, 1874 – Myrtle Reed born, author, poet, journalist, and philanthropist; noted for Lavender and Old Lace, which became a long-running play; Old Rose and Silver; and A Weaver of Dreams; also several cookbooks published under the pen-name Olive Green.
- September 27, 1878 – Mary Emily Sinclair born, American mathematician; she earned her A.B. degree in 1900 from Oberlin College, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In 1908, she was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. She taught at Oberlin College, as an instructor (1907-1908); associate professor (1908-1925); full professor (1925-1941); Department Chair (1939-1944); and Clark Professor of Mathematics (1941-1944). During several sabbaticals, she continued her mathematical research, at the University of Chicago, Cornell University, University of Rome, the Sorbonne, and the Institute for Advanced Study.
- September 27, 1886 – “Minnie” Vautrin born, American missionary in China for 28 years, and president of Ginling Women’s College. During the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanjing, she saved the lives of thousands of Chinese refugees, many of them women and girls, and prevented the rape of many others, using documents issued by the Japanese Embassy proclaiming Ginling College as a refugee center in the Neutral Zone to prevent Japanese soldiers from entering the school’s campus. In the aftermath, Vautrin saw to the burial of the dead and the reception of newborn babies, and was successful in tracing missing husbands and sons. Industrial or crafts classes were provided for women who had lost their husbands, so they could support themselves. One hundred widows graduated from this program. In 1940, she returned to the U.S., suffering from severe stress and exhaustion. In May, 1941, she wrote in her journal, “Had I ten perfect lives, I would give them all for China” shortly before she committed suicide. Chinese historian Hu Hua-Ling wrote an account of her heroism in American Goddess at the Rape of Nanjing.
- September 27, 1895 – Jennie Matyas born, labor organizer and educator, emigrated from Hungarian Transylvania (1906), enrolled black women in ILGWU, and organized San Francisco women.
- September 27, 1911 – Marcey Jacobson born, American photographer, socialist, and lesbian; did her best-known work in Mexico during the McCarthy era, photographing indigenous peoples of Southern Mexico.
- September 27, 1916 – Iyasu V was deposed as ruler of Ethiopia, and his aunt became Empress Zewditu (1916-1930), first woman head of an internationally recognized state in 20th century Africa, and the last Empress regnant of any nation to date.
- September 27, 1928 – Margaret Rule born, British archaeologist, led the project to excavate and raise the Tudor warship Mary Rose in 1982.
- September 27, 1932 – Marcia Neugebauer born, American geophysicist whose work yielded the first direct measurements of the solar wind. She also developed analytical instruments that orbited Earth, some set up on the moon by the Apollo astronauts, and others that flew by Halley's comet on the European Giotto mission.
- September 27, 1939 – Carol Lynn Pearson born, American poet, author, screenwriter, and playwright. A fourth-generation member of the Mormon Church, best known for her memoir, Goodbye, I Love You, about her marriage to Gerald Neils Pearson, a gay man who died of AIDS. They were both devout Mormons, and he told her while they were engaged that he’d had sexual relationships with men, but had left that ‘phase’ of his life behind. Mormon authorities assured the couple that marriage would turn him into a heterosexual, but after 12 years of marriage and four children, they divorced in 1978. When he was being diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, he returned to live with his ex-wife and children, and she cared for him until his death. Since then, Pearson has been an unofficial spokesperson for acceptance of gay people by their Mormon families, and for a stronger leadership role for women in the Mormon community.
- September 27, 1940 – Fatema Mernissi born, Moroccan sociologist and author, Islamic feminism pioneer. Known for Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society (1975).
- September 27, 1953 – Diane Abbott born to Jamaican parents in London, British Labour politician; first black woman to elected the House of Commons, serving since 1987, the longest-serving Black MP. Outspoken defender of civil liberties, and founder of the London Schools and the Black Child Initiative.
- September 27, 1953 – Mātā Amritānandamayī born, also known as ‘Amma’ (Mother); Indian Hindu spiritual leader, guru, and humanitarian. “If the two wings of a bird are devotion and action, knowledge is its tail. Only with the help of all three can the bird soar into the heights." She stresses the importance of selfless service, the need for inter-religious harmony, for environmental protection, and of desegregating science and spirituality. She also regularly speaks on the importance of women's empowerment and gender equality.
- September 27, 1962 – Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published; in Sweden, their word for pesticides was changed to mean biocide because Carson argued that ‘insecticide’ is inaccurate as all living things are being poisoned through water and soil contamination. Her book made the dangers of pesticides an international issue, and greatly accelerated the grassroots environmental movement. In 1970, the Nixon administration launched the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), removing regulating pesticides from the Department of Agriculture. In 1972, the EPA began enforcing significant revisions, based on Carson’s research, of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, originally passed in 1947. Rachel Carson died of cancer at age 56 in April 1964.
- September 27, 1964 – Tracy Camp born, American computer scientist, noted for wireless network research, and leadership in broadening participation in computer science; Association for Computing Machinery 2006 Distinguished Scientist, named an ACM Fellow in 2012.
- September 27, 1966 – Stephanie D. Wilson born, American aerospace engineer and NASA astronaut; second African American woman in space.
- September 27, 1968 – Mari Kiviniemi born, Finnish politician, second woman Prime Minister of Finland (2010-2011); since 2014, Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- September 27, 1978 – Mihaela Ursuleasa born, Romanian concert pianist; winner of the 1995 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition. She performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and released solo albums in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Ursuleasa died at age 33 of a cerebral hemorrhage.
- September 27, 1981 – Sophie Crumb born in the U.S., American-French comics artist who has lived mostly in France since age 9. Best known for her Belly Button comix.
- September 27, 1988 – Aung San Suu Kyi co-founded National League for Democracy to fight dictatorship in Myanmar.
- September 27, 1991 – The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocks, 7-7, on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- September 27, 2009 – Voters in the German Federal elections re-elect Angela Merkel for a second term as Chancellor of Germany.
- September 27, 2019 – In India, five judges of the supreme court unanimously declared unconstitutional a colonial-era law that made having a sexual relationship with a woman without her husband’s consent a crime as archaic, discriminatory, and depriving women of agency. The case, brought by an Indian businessman living in Italy, sought to have section 497 of the Indian penal code and another similar provision made gender neutral. But the court said the offence, which carried a prison sentence of up to five years, was arbitrary and needed to go. “It is time to say husband is not the master,” said the chief justice, Dipak Misra. He quoted John Stuart Mill: “Legal subordination of one sex over another is wrong in itself.” Indu Malhotra, one of two women among the 25 judges on the court, said: “The time when wives were invisible to the law, and lived in the shadows of their husbands, has long since gone by.”
- September 27, 2020 – In El Salvador, Cindy Erazo, a 29-year-old woman sent to prison for having a stillbirth, has been released on conditional freedom after six years. In 2014, Erazo suffered an obstetric emergency, unaware she was eight months pregnant. She woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed, accused of having an abortion and charged with aggravated homicide. El Salvador has long criminalized abortions, with a total ban since 1998. Dozens have been convicted and imprisoned after having miscarriages and stillbirths.
- September 27, 2021 – The Chinese government announced that it would seek to reduce abortions for “non-medical reasons” – a move seen as being in line with its attempts to accelerate birthrates. Government guidelines did not provide detail on what constitutes a non-medical abortion. Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “This government in the past 40 years has tried to restrict women’s reproductive rights, making women forcefully abort their children, and now restricting abortions. I don’t know what non-medical means, but everyone who knows Chinese government knows this isn’t good. The core of the policy is the same – to restrict women’s reproductive means, to see women as a tool. Now there’s an ageing population, a not large enough labour force, so we need more babies. It’s the same: seeing women as a tool for economic goals.” The proposed decrease of ‘non-medical abortion’ is one of the measures announced in the latest Outline for Women’s Development in China.
- September 28, 1839 – Frances Willard born, first U.S. woman college president, of her alma mater Evanston College for Ladies – when it merged with Northwestern University in 1871, she became Dean of Women, but resigned in 1874 to go on a lecture tour for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, covering 30,000 miles in ten years, while heading the WCTU publications committee. Elected WCTU president in 1879, she supported the Suffrage cause, believing the WCTU could best reach its goals if women had the vote; during her tenure as president, WCTU membership grew to 150,000, making it the largest women’s organization of the time in the world.
- September 28, 1852 – Isis Pogson born, British astronomer and meteorologist; in 1860, her father became director of the Madras Observatory in India, and his wife and the three youngest of their 11 children went with him. Isis was eight. When her mother died in 1869, she took over running the household, and also became her father’s assistant. In 1873, she was promoted to a computer (originally, ‘computers’ were human mathematical calculators) with a salary of 150 rupees, about what a cook would make. She worked there for 25 years, also serving as the meteorological superintendent and reporter for the Madras government from 1881 until the observatory was closed in 1898, and she was given a pension of 250 rupees. In 1902, she married a captain in the Merchant Navy, and they moved back to England. Pogson was the first woman to be nominated for election in 1886 (by her father) as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (a few women had been made honorary fellows before this). He had to withdraw her nomination when two attorneys declared that female fellows were illegal under the provisions of the society’s royal charter dating from 1831, which always referred to fellows as he. She finally did become a fellow when Oxford professor H.H. Turner nominated her in 1920, five years after the society received a Supplemental Charter in 1915 which opened up fellowships to women.
- September 28, 1856 – Kate Douglas Wiggin born, American children’s author, head of the first free kindergarten in California, in the San Francisco slums; used the enormous success of her books to raise money for children’s charities by giving frequent public readings; best remembered for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Mother Carey's Chickens.
- September 28, 1865 – Amélie of Orléans born, last Queen consort of Portugal (1889-1908) as the wife of Carlos I of Portugal. She served as regent in 1895, and noted for her projects in support of the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, founding sanatoriums and charitable groups. Her husband and their eldest son were assassinated in 1908 in downtown Lisbon as Queen Amélie tried to defend her younger son Manuel with only a large bouquet of flowers which had been presented to her earlier. Manuel was wounded, but survived. The royal bodyguards shot the two assassins, members of the masonic Carbonária offshoot of the Portuguese Republican Army. Manuel I was only briefly king. He was deposed by a military coup in 1910.The royal family, including Amélie, left Portugal and went into exile in France, but she died in London at age 86 in 1951.
- September 28, 1878 – Lilian Bland born, Anglo-Irish sports journalist, press photographer, and aviation pioneer; one of the first women in the world to design, build, and fly her own aircraft, the Bland Mayfly. Completely unconventional, she smoked, wore trousers, and went hunting, shooting, and fishing, and spent days on remote Scottish islands photographing seabirds, which helped spark her interest in flying. After her uncle sent her a postcard of the Blériot monoplane from Paris, she attended the first aviation meeting held in Blackpool in 1909. Bland decided to not only to learn how to fly, but to design and build her own plane. Another uncle, astronomer General William Smythe, lent her a house with a workshop. After some background reading on the Wright brothers, she built a flyable model biplane with a six foot wingspan, then built a full-scale glider with a wingspan of over 20 feet, with some help. For the load test, she recruited four Irish constables, and the glider successfully lifted them. A bicycle handlebar became the controls. She added a light 20 horsepower two-stroke engine, but the petrol tank wasn’t ready, so she improvised with an empty whisky bottle, and her deaf aunt’s ear trumpet. In August, 1910, Bland and the Mayfly made a first successful flight at Randalstown in Northern Ireland – a short hop off the ground, and flight for about a quarter mile. The plane’s very light construction would not allow for a larger engine, which limited it to short flights at very low altitude. She gave the air-frame to a boy’s gliding club, and sold the engine. Bland's flying had been a source of some concern to her father, who saw it as unsafe as well as unseemly for a young woman. Around the end of the year, he persuaded her to give up the Mayfly in exchange for buying her a Model T Ford motor car. By April 1911 she was running a car dealership in Belfast, Ireland, but in October 1912 gave up the business to marry her cousin Charles Loftus Bland, a lumberjack in British Columbia. He had returned to Ireland to propose to Lilian. The couple married on October 3, 1911, and soon emigrated to Canada where they built their own farm. They had their first and only child, in April 1913, but she died of tetanus in September 1929. The couple separated soon after, with Lilian moving back to England and Charles going on to marry his second wife, Mary (who was a cousin of both Lilian and Charles). In 1935, Bland settled in Kent, and became a gardener. She gambled her wages on the stock market in the hopes of getting more money. She also wrote a memoir about her life during this time, which is yet to be published. By the 1950s, Bland had retired to Cornwall. In 1971, at the age of 92, Bland was quoted by the Belfast Telegraph, saying that the only excitement left to her was gambling. She died soon after on May 11, 1971, at the age of 92.
- September 28, 1890 – Florence Violet McKenzie born, ‘Mrs. Mac’ – Australia’s first woman engineer and lifelong advocate for technical education for women. McKensie set up her own electrical contracting business in 1918, then apprenticed herself to it, in order to meet the requirements for a Diploma in Electrical Engineering at Sydney Technical College. She was the first Australian woman to take out an amateur radio operator’s license in 1922 and started The Wireless Weekly the same year. Her Wireless Shop became renowned among Sydney’s radio hobbyists and experimenters. In 1934, she founded the Electrical Association for Women, and wrote the first “all-electric” cookbook in 1936. McKenzie was the founder of the Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps (WESC). She campaigned successfully for some of her trainees to be accepted into the Navy. In 1941, fourteen members of her civilian WESC became the first recruits for wireless telegraphy in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) at the Canberra Transmitting Station. Over the course of the war, over 3,000 women served in the WRANS. McKenzie trained countless men and women in wireless transmission and Morse Code during the war, and continued training men from the merchant navy, commercial airline pilots, and anybody else who needed a “signaller’s ticket.” She ran the only school for wireless training in Sydney, and never charged tuition. She was appointed in 1950 as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work with WESC, and elected as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Navigation in 1957.
- September 28, 1893 – Hilda Geiringer born, Austrian Jewish mathematician; she studied mathematics at the University of Vienna, earning a Ph.D. in 1917, then spent the next two years as an assistant editor on the Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik, a mathematics review journal. In 1921, she moved to Berlin to be an assistant at the Institute of Applied Mathematics to Richard von Mises, known for his work on statistics, probability theory, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, and aeronautics. Also in 1921, she married Félix Pollaczek, another Austrian Jew, an engineer and mathematician. They had a daughter in 1922, but the marriage soon broke up. Geiringer continued working for von Mises, at the same time raising her child. Although trained as a pure mathematician, Geiringer moved towards applied mathematics to fit in with the work being undertaken at the Institute, working on statistics, probability theory, and the mathematical theory of plasticity. She submitted a thesis for her Habilitation to qualify as an instructor at the University of Berlin, but it was not immediately accepted. In 1933, Geiringer lost the right to teach at the university once the Civil Service Law came into effect two months after Adolf Hitler attained power. This law disqualified Jews from working as teachers, professors, judges, or other government positions. Geiringer left Germany after she was dismissed from the University of Berlin, and, with Magda, she went to Brussels, where she was appointed to the Institute of Mechanics and began to apply mathematics to the theory of vibrations. In 1934, she followed von Mises to Istanbul, and became a mathematics professor. While there, she became interested in Gregor Mendel’s studies of genetics. She did some of the pioneering theoretical work in molecular genetics, biotechnology, and genetic engineering, but it was known to very few because she was publishing in Turkish journals. Following Atatürk’s death in 1938, Geiringer and her daughter went to Bryn Mawr College in the U.S., where she was appointed to a part-time lecturer position. In addition to her lecturing duties at Bryn Mawr College, Geiringer undertook, as part of the war effort, classified work for the United States National Research Council. During 1942, she gave an advanced summer course in mechanics at Brown University. She wrote up her outstanding series of lectures on the geometrical foundations of mechanics and, although they were never properly published, these were widely disseminated and used in the U.S. for many years. Though Brown University never offered Geiringer permanent employment, the university takes full birthplace credit for these “mimeographed notes.” She married Richard von Mises in 1943, leaving Bryn Mawr to take a permanent position as Professor and Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Wheaton College, but having leave on the weekends to be with von Mises, who was the Gordon McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. She applied for positions at other New England Universities, but was discriminated against as a woman and a Jew. On June 23, 1939, Harvard University’s astronomy professor Harlow Shapley wrote on her behalf to Radcliffe College which operated as Harvard’s sister school. Though it drew instructors and other resources from Harvard, Radcliffe graduates were not granted Harvard degrees until 1963. Even though Geiringer was a better mathematician and a better teacher than Harvard could provide to the women at Radcliffe, Geiringer was never offered a position there. Her husband died in 1953, and Geiringer, while still keeping her job at Wheaton, accepted a temporary position as a Research Fellow to complete and edit von Mises’ unfinished work. In 1959, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was also a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
- September 28, 1900 – Isabel Pell born, American awarded the French Légion d’honneur for her four years with the Maquis (rural resistance fighters, often in the mountains), using the name “Fredericka.” She was captured by Italian soldiers and interned at Puget-Theniers, but smuggled out information until she was released. She disguised herself as a peasant, and continued working with the Maquis. In 1944, she led a group of American soldiers trapped by the enemy in the town of Tanaron to safety.
- September 28, 1913 – Vivian Fine born, American piano prodigy and composer of over 140 works during her 68 year career; member of Aaron Copeland’s Young Composers Group; The Women in the Garden; Alcestis.
- September 28, 1916 – Olga Lepeshinskaya born, Soviet Prima Ballerina with the Bolshoi and the Kirov; Communist Party member, married to Soviet General Aleksei Antonov.
- September 28, 1922 – Dame Phyllis Friend born, British nurse and nursing officer; studied basic nursing and midwifery at the Royal London Hospital, where she spent much of her professional career, holding posts as a ward sister, nurse tutor, and assistant matron, before becoming deputy matron at St. George’s Hospital in London in 1956. In 1959, she returned to the London Hospital as matron designate, then in 1961 she became matron, and in 1969 she was appointed as chief nursing officer of the London Hospital Group. Friend was heavily involved when the Royal London installed its own computer system in 1964. She was later appointed chief nursing officer at the Department of Health and Social Security in London, a post she held until she retired in 1982. In this position she extended nursing influence at government level and demonstrated deep concern for the advancement of nursing and high standards of care. She was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in 1980. The Dame Phyllis Friend Award is presented annually in recognition of the work of nurses using information and communications technology to support care.
- September 28, 1937 – Alice Mahon born, British Labour Party MP for Halifax (1987-2005); trade unionist and member of the Socialist Campaign Group; activist for peace, women’s rights (especially abortion) and gay rights; resigned in 2009 from the Labour Party in protest of major changes in party policies, including shutting out dissenting voices within the party, Britain’s involvement in the disastrous “War on Terror,” and the party breaking a campaign promise not to privatize the Royal Mail.
- September 28, 1944 – Marcia Muller born, American mystery and thriller novelist; known for her Sharon McCone private detective series. She was honored with the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master award in 2005.
- September 28, 1947 – Sheikh Hasina Wazed born, Bangladeshi politician, leader of the Bangladesh Awami League, Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1996-2001 and 2009 to present).
- September 28, 1947 – Rhonda Hughes born, American mathematician and academic; Helen Herrmann Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Bryn Mawr College since 2011; Bryn Mawr Mathematics Department Chair (1980-2011); co-founder of the EDGE Program (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) in 1998, a mentoring program to assist women in transitioning into graduate studies in mathematical sciences.
- September 28, 1954 – Margot Wallström born, Swedish Social Democratic politician; Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2014-2019); UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict (2010-2012); Vice President of the European Commission (2004-2010).
- September 28, 1955 – Mercy Manci born, South African Xhosa sangoma (traditional healers who are diviners – the herbalists are called inyanga) who was taught by her grandmother, and is an HIV activist. As a teenager, she was the victim of a bride kidnapping by a family who wanted to avoid the lengthy negotiations over the lobola (bride price). No longer a virgin, she could not go home, and the marriage became official when the kidnappers paid four cows. She has one daughter from this marriage. While her husband went to work in the mines, she studied nursing through a correspondence course. When he came home, her husband burned her books and destroyed the typewriter she bought. After he discovered she was taking contraceptives behind his back, he disowned her, to be sent back to her family, but she went to Johannesburg instead, and got a job as a Doctor’s assistant. She founded Nyangazeziswe (Healers of the Nation), an organisation dealing with African traditional healing and HIV. She gives workshops for other traditional healers in the Eastern Cape, but also internationally, focusing on preventing HIV by teaching how HIV is transmitted and how to use condoms.
- September 28, 1956 – Martha Fandiño Pinilla born in Columbia with Columbian and Italian dual citizenship, mathematician, educator, and author, noted for analyzing mathematical learning problems and the effectiveness of teaching methods.
- September 28, 1959 – Laura Bruce born, American contemporary painter, sculptor, installation, video, and life performance artist whose working life has been spent in Berlin. She is also lead singer in the concept band Dangerpony. Known for her paintings of animals, and large-scale black and white graphite drawings.
- September 28, 1964 – Janeane Garofalo born, American stand-up comic, actress, and writer. Her films include The Truth About Cats and Dogs; Reality Bites; Sweethearts; and The Mystery Men. She is an outspoken progressive and anti-war activist, and co-hosted Air America Radio’s The Majority Report with Sam Seder (2004-2006). She and Ben Stiller wrote a spoof of self-help books called Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction, which made the New York Times bestseller list. She also wrote her HBO Comedy Half-Hour, and for the TV series Head Case. In 2001, she directed a comedy short called Housekeeping.
- September 28, 1967 – Mira Sorvino born, American actress, winner in 1996 of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for Mighty Aphrodite. In 2005, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Human Trafficking. She has been affiliated with Amnesty International since 2004, and in 2006, was honored with Amnesty International's Artist of Conscience Award. Sorvino was a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking (2009-2012), and lobbied Congress to help stamp out human trafficking in Darfur.
- September 28, 2019 – ‘Go back to where you come from.” It’s a typical racist taunt, one that Donald Trump used against four Democratic congresswomen in July, 2019. BBC presenter Naga Munchetty discussed the issue with co-host Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast, and condemned the tweets as racist, expressing her anger at the racism she has faced. Now the BBC complaints unit generated a storm of controversy because it ruled that while it was “legitimate” for Munchetty to have “reflected her own experience of racism,” it was wrong “to comment critically” on the president’s “motive” or the “consequences” of his words. On this day, Kenan Malik defended Muchetty in an op-ed piece for the Observer, saying that she did not call Trump racist. She said she was “furious” that he “thinks it’s OK to skirt the lines by using language like that.” In addition, he pointed out that other BBC journalists have called the president racist, including the BBC’s New York correspondent, Nick Bryant, who tweeted about Trump’s “racial demagoguery.” Malik also questioned why it was legitimate to offer an opinion on the racist nature of the tweet, yet not appropriate to comment on the person tweeting. He said Munchetty was not reporting on the topic but expressing her opinion, and concluded, “Ruling her comments inappropriate not only reins in the calling out of racism but makes it more difficult to draw the line between news and opinion.”
- September 28, 2020 – In concert with a worldwide youth Global Day of Climate Actions, Fridays for Future activist Vanessa Nakate in Uganda led a march in Kampala. Nakate said, “This is a personal issue, because many people are dying, many people are suffering, ecosystems are collapsing, our life support systems are being destroyed. That is why I speak up and demand for action, because I want to see change, because I want to have a future.”
- September 28, 2021 – Thousands of women demonstrated in cities in Mexico, Columbia, Chile, and El Salvador, commemorating the global day of action for access to safe and legal abortion, in a region where the procedure is fully permitted only in a handful of countries. In Mexico City, women marched to its historic center watched by police with shields and riot helmets. Authorities put up protective fences on some major buildings and monuments that in the past have been spray-painted during demonstrations. "I still don't know if I want to be a mom, but I want to have the right to decide," read a sign held by a young woman with a green scarf around her neck. Earlier in September, Mexico's Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to criminalize abortion and, shortly after, the government said that those jailed on accusations of having terminated their pregnancy would be released. Hundreds of women also marched in Cuernavaca and Veracruz. Thousands of women in Latin America die every year from unsafe abortions, even as teenage pregnancies and sexual violence continue to increase in the region. In Colombia, where abortion is allowed only in cases of rape, risks to the life of the mother, or birth defects, some 800 women marched towards Bogota’s center. "Women are reminding states and societies that we're full citizens, not second-class, and that we have the right to abort, to voluntarily interrupt pregnancy, to decide about our bodies, about our lives, and about our maternity wards," said Ita Maria Diez, a leader of the Bogota demonstration. In February 2022, Columbia’s highest court decriminalized abortion up to the 24th week.
- September 29, 1326 or 1327 – Joan, Countess of Kent, born; the last of her three husbands was Edward, the Black Prince, son of King Edward III. Their marriage lasted from 1361 until his death in 1376, when she became the Dowager Princess of Wales. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, her son Richard was crowned King of England at age 10. Joan exercised much influence behind the scenes and was recognised for her contributions during the early years of her son's reign. She was also respected by the people. During the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, she was returning to London from a pilgrimage to Thomas Becket's shrine at Canterbury Cathedral, and found her way blocked by Wat Tyler and his mob of rebels on Blackheath. Joan was let through unharmed, and provided with an escort for the rest of her journey. She died in 1385.
- September 29, 1810 – Elizabeth Gaskell born, English author of Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters; first biographer of Charlotte Brontë.
- September 29, 1848 – Caroline Yale born, American educator who revolutionized teaching of the deaf; co-developer of the Northampton Vowel and Consonant Charts.
- September 29, 1882 – Lilias Armstrong born, English phonetician, reader at University College London, known for work on English intonation, and pioneering studies of the phonetics and tone of Somali and Kikuyu; co-author with Ida C. Ward of Handbook of English Intonation, a classic which remained in print for over 50 years, and author of A Burmese Phonetic Reader, The Phonetic Structure of Somali and The Phonetic and Tonal Structure of Kikuyu.
- September 29, 1903 – Diana Vreeland born, noted columnist for Harper’s Bazaar (1936-1962), editor-in-chief of Vogue (1963-1971) and consultant to the NY Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute (1971-1989).
- September 29, 1910 – Giliana Balmaceda Gerson born in Chile, while an actress in Paris in the 1930s, she met and married Englishman Victor Gerson. In June, 1940, just after the Germans took Paris, the couple escaped to England, where they both joined the Special Operations Executive. In May, 1941, she was the first SOE woman agent to be sent into occupied France. She travelled freely on her Chilean passport in Vichy France (not yet occupied by the Nazis), compiling a list of names and addresses of those willing to help the Allies. She proved adept at distinguishing between those who genuinely wanted to help escapees and those who claimed loyalty to the allies even though they were informing the counterintelligence police. She preferred to find older couples who were usually at home and willing to provide a spare bedroom for the cause. During her three weeks in Vichy France she collected "information about timetables, curfews, the papers civilians had to carry, and the extent of bus and railway controls." The administrative documents used in occupied France, such as ration cards that she collected, could be reproduced in London for use by agents on clandestine missions in France. She returned to the United Kingdom through Spain and to the British base at Gibraltar. Her husband organized an escape route for downed airmen, and SOE agents, from France through Spain back to England.
- September 29, 1927 – Barbara Mertz born, American Egyptologist, historian, and popular novelist under the pen names Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels; noted for her Amelia Peabody mystery series.
- September 29, 1939 – Molly Haskell born, American feminist theatre and film critic for the Village Voice in the 1960s, then for New York magazine and Vogue; her influential 1974 book, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, was revised and reissued in 1987.
- September 29, 1942 – Janet Powell born, Australian Democrats and Green party (after 2004) politician; Leader of the Australian Democrats (1990-1991); Senator for Victoria (1986-1993). She was an inaugural appointee to the Victorian Honour Role of Women in 2000 for “services to the community,” and made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012. She died at age 71 in 2013.
- September 29, 1951 – Michelle Bachelet Jeria born, Chilean physician and politician, first woman elected as President of Chile (2006-2010 and returned to office 2014-2018); first Executive Director of UN Women.
- September 29, 1955 – Ann Bancroft born, American author, wilderness instructor and explorer, teacher, and public speaker; first woman to cross both the North and South Poles; she also went on a source-to-sea expedition on the Ganges River, and the first east-west crossing of Greenland. Bancroft is an openly gay advocate for LGBTQ rights. Inducted into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
- September 29, 1955 – Gwen Ifill born, American journalist, television newscaster, political analyst, and author; first African American woman to host a nationally televised public affairs program in the U.S., Washington Week in Review, and was co-managing editor of the PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff. Ifill was awarded the Women in Film and Video Women of Vision Award in 2000. Her best-selling book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009.
- September 29, 1961 – Julia E. Gillard born, Australian Labor Party politician, Prime Minister of Australia (2010-2013), first Australian woman to hold the positions of Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister, and leader of a major party; leader of the Labor Party (2010-2013); Deputy Prime Minister (2007-2010); member of the House of Representatives (1998-2007).
- September 29, 1961 – Stephanie Miller born, American comedian and host of the liberal talk radio program, The Stephanie Miller Show, since 2004.
- September 29, 1977 - Eva Shain became the first woman to officiate at a heavyweight title boxing match. About 70 million people watched Muhammad Ali defeat Ernie Shavers on NBC-TV.
- September 29, 1988 – Stacy Allison becomes the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
- September 29, 1989 – Fatima Lodhi born, Pakistani social activist against Colorism, the prejudice and discrimination against people with darker skin and lighter skin viewed as a standard of attractiveness, especially in women; she launched a campaign with the slogan 'Dark Is Divine' which has garnered international attention.
- September 29, 2011 – In India, a verdict was reached in the Vachathi case. Vachathi, a village in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had often thwarted efforts by forest and revenue officials to search for smuggled sandalwood. It was raided in 1992 by a team of 155 forest service personnel, 108 policemen, and six revenue officials. Under the pretext of conducting a search, the team ransacked the villagers’ property, destroying their houses, killing their cattle, brutally assaulting about 100 men, and gang-raping 18 women. After a court order, the case was finally investigated by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation. The case also came under the oversight of the National Human Rights Commission of India. A special court convicted all 269 accused officials under the Prevention of Atrocities act, and 17 were additionally found guilty of rape. Fifty-four of the original accused had died by the time of the convictions. Twelve of the 17 rapists were sentenced to 17 years in prison. The other five were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. The rest of the accused were sentenced to one to two years in prison. The villagers were denied compensation until 2014 when the state finally offered the rape victims 15,000 rupees each (about $204 USD), and a total compensation to the entire village of ₹12.2 lakh (about $16,539 USD). If not for the determination of the women who were raped to get justice, and the unwavering support of their cause by the Tamil Nadu Tribals Association, the government would not have been forced to acknowledge its responsibility, and no compensation would ever have been paid.
- September 29, 2019 – Cardiologist Dr. Sonya Babu-Narayan warned, “Heart attacks have never been more treatable. Yet women are dying needlessly because heart attacks are often seen as a man’s disease, and women don’t receive the same standard of treatment as men.” The British Heart Foundation, a leading charity, issued a report that inequalities at every stage lead to women being diagnosed late and not getting the prompt treatment and aftercare they need to survive a heart attack. Research funded by the foundation found over 8,000 women who died between 2002 and 2013 in England and Wales because they did not receive the same standard of care as men. “Public understanding of women and heart attacks is beset by misperceptions. These are dangerous when they mean a woman doesn’t recognise the symptoms of her heart attack and delays seeking and receiving medical help,” the BHF report said. “Worldwide, coronary heart disease is the single biggest killer of women.” Women are 50% more likely to get a wrong diagnosis than a man, and are also less likely to be put on medication to prevent a second heart attack. The most common symptoms, for both men and women, are sudden central chest pain or discomfort in the chest that doesn’t go away, which can feel like pressure, tightness, or squeezing. There may be pain that radiates down the left arm, or both arms, or to the neck, jaw, back or stomach. The victim can feel sick, sweaty, light-headed, or short of breath.
- September 29, 2021 – Twelve years ago, conservator Anita Bools first saw the photographs, left at the reception desk of the Nation Trust Sutton Hoo site by a mystery donor. The photographs were laid out on tables for her to see and decide how important they might be. “It was one of those moments you get prickles down the back of your neck. I thought ‘my goodness … this is the genuine thing’. It almost felt like the archaeological discovery itself.” The hundreds of images carefully kept in photo albums were from August 1939. The photographs were taken by Barbara Wagstaff and Mercie Lack, two schoolteachers and friends with a passion for photography and archaeology. They obtained permission from the lead archaeologist Charles Phillips to photograph the excavation of the 89-foot-long Anglo-Saxon ship buried at Sutton Hoo. It contained gold and jeweled treasures, some of the most superb examples of Anglo-Saxon craftmanship ever discovered. Remarkably, Lack and Wagstaff had managed to obtain rolls of 35mm German Agfa colour slide film which became briefly available before WWII broke out. The trust believes the resulting images are among the earliest surviving colour photographs of any major archaeological dig. In fascinating detail they captured the excitement of one of the most extraordinary archaeological digs in British history. The mystery donor of the albums turned out to be Andrew Lack, the great-nephew of Mercie Lack. He later formally gifted the 11 albums of black and white photographs, one colour album, and various other loose prints to the trust. On this day in September, 2021, the trust announced it had completed a painstaking project: every image had been conserved, catalogued and digitized, and can now be viewed online and by visitors to Sutton Hoo.
- September 30, 1814 – Lucinda Hinsdale Stone born, educator, feminist, advocate for suffrage and education for women, abolitionist, and literary club organizer. At Kalamazoo College, she was the head of the Ladies Department; inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.
- September 30, 1832 – Ann Jarvis born, American activist for public health education for women to reduce infant mortality and death from disease. She organized the women in the mothers’ clubs to learn and then teach others the importance of sanitation, and to arrange for communities to help families stricken by illness. In what became West Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union, she urged club members to declare their neutrality, and aid both Union and Confederate soldiers. The women gave food and blankets to men on both sides, and nursed the sick when typhoid fever and measles broke out in the military camps. After the war, she and her club members hosted a ‘Mothers’ Friendship Day’ to bring families from both sides together in reconciliation. She is the mother who inspired Mother's Day (her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis, is the founder of the Mother’s Day holiday in the U.S.).
- September 30, 1847 – Wilhelmina Drucker born, Dutch politician, writer, and editor. Her father was a banker who refused to marry her mother because she was a seamstress, which made life difficult for her, her mother, and her sister. She became a seamstress like her mother, but she also attended meetings of socialist and early woman suffrage groups, and became one of the first major Dutch feminist activists, beginning with a book, published under a pseudonym, which attacked the double standard of her father’s morality in only recognizing children born to him by a richer woman. She also filed a lawsuit against her half-brother, the liberal politician Hendrik Lodewijk Drucker, who had received an inheritance from their father - she won her suit in 1888 and gained financial independence. Immediately after this, she and other women from radical and socialist circles set up De Vrouw (The Woman), a weekly magazine for women and girls. In 1889, Drucker founded the Vrije Vrouwen Vereeniging (VVV, or Free Women's Association), which in 1894 developed into the Vereeniging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht (Women's Rights Association). In 1891, Drucker represented the VVV at the International Socialist Labor Congress in Brussels, where she and delegates from Germany, Austria, and Italy called for a resolution that manifestos of all countries' socialist parties should include a call for full legal and political equality of men and women - this resolution was adopted by the congress. In 1893, she and co-founder Dora Schook-Haver started the weekly magazine Evolutie (Evolution, printed from 1893 to 1926). Drucker also lectured throughout the Netherlands, was involved in establishment of several women's trade unions, and became a member in 1897 of the newly founded Vereeniging Onderlinge Vrouwenbescherming (VOV, or Women's Mutual Protection Society), working for the rights of unmarried mothers and their children. Drucker lobbied for VOV to be a militant organisation uniting all women - married or unmarried, with or without children - to work in the public sphere for women's rights and against unjust laws and outdated morality, inspiring later organizations which set up women’s shelters, and campaigned against rape. She was called Dolle Mina (Mad Mina), especially after she staged a public burning of women’s corsets. The the ‘second wave’ of Dutch feminism after WWII was launched by a group named Dolle Mina in her honor, and their first public act was a bra-burning. Dolle Mina was a left-wing radical feminist activist group that used playful and humorous protest demonstrations to campaign for women's rights to abortion, equal pay for equal work, childcare, and access to public toilets.
- September 30, 1875 – Anne H. Martin born, suffragist, author, and pacifist; first head of the history department of the University of Nevada (1897-1901); president of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society in 1912, and organized a campaign over sparsely populated deserts that convinced male voters to enfranchise Nevada women on November 3, 1914. This success led to her representation of the national movement as a speaker and executive committee member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the Congressional Union. Martin helped organize voting women in the West in 1916 to challenge Democrats. She was one of the Silent Sentinels, the National Woman's Party picketers for suffrage in front of the White House. On July 14, 1917, she was arrested and sentenced to Occoquan Workhouse, but was pardoned less than a week later by President Woodrow Wilson. Back in Nevada, Martin was the first woman to run for the U.S. Senate in 1918. She ran again in 1920, but lost both races.
- September 30, 1883 – Nora Stanton Blatch Barney born in England, American civil engineer, architect, suffragist, and peace activist; in 1905, she was one of the first American women to graduate with a civil engineering degree, and the first junior member of the Society of Civil Engineers. Right after college, she wrote a paper on the water supply of the District of Columbia, which became a reference for studies on the transport of solids in liquids for over 50 years. In 1908, she married Lee De Forest, inventor of the radio vacuum tube, for whom she worked as a laboratory assistant until 1909, when they separated (they divorced in 1912). She was the granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
- September 30, 1897 – Charlotte Wolff born in Prussia, British physician and psychotherapist; her writings on sexology, especially lesbianism and bisexuality, were influential pioneering works in the field.
- September 30, 1901 – Thelma Terry born, American bassist, first woman instrumentalist to lead a notable jazz band, Thelma Terry and Her Playboys, in the 1920s and 1930s.
- September 30, 1918 – President Woodrow Wilson makes a speech before Congress endorsing equal suffrage.
- September 30, 1929 – Carol Fenner born, American children’s author and illustrator; noted for Yolanda’s Genius; Gorilla-Gorilla; and The Skates of Uncle Richard, which was awarded an honor by the Coretta Scott King Awards.
- September 30, 1929 – Leticia Ramos-Shahani born, Filipina diplomat and politician; President Pro Tempore of the Senate (1993-1996); Philippines Senator (1987-1998); UN Assistant Secretary-General for Social and Humanitarian Affairs (1985-1987); Secretary-General of the 1985 World Conference on the UN Decade of Women in Nairobi Kenya; Philippine Ambassador to Australia (1981-1985).
- September 30, 1929 – Dorothee Sölle born, German liberation theologian who coined the term Christofascists to describe fundamentalist Christians. In the 1950s and 1960s, she was an activist against the Cold War arms race, injustices in developing counties, and the Vietnam War. Her many publications include: Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future; Political Theology; Suffering; The Strength of the Weak: Toward a Christian Feminist Identity; and Theology for Skeptics: Reflections on God.
- September 30, 1940 – Claudia Falconer Card born, American ethics and social philosopher and academic; taught at the University of Wisconsin (1969- 2015), and was UW-Madison’s Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy, with teaching affiliations in Women’s Studies, Jewish Studies, Environmental Studies, and LGBT Studies; her published work is regarded as essential to the study of 20th century feminism.
- September 30, 1950 – Laura Esquivel born, Mexican novelist, screenwriter, and Morena Party politician; she served in the Chamber of Deputies (2012-2018); author of the bestseller Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate).
- September 30, 1960 – Julia Adamson born in Canada, British musician, composer, and founder-manager of Invisiblegirl Records and Invisible Girl Music Publishing.
- September 30, 1960 – Nicola Griffith born in England, British-American science fiction and mystery novelist, essayist, and short story writer; her first novel, Ammonite, won the 1993 James Tiptree, Jr and Lambda Awards, and Slow River won the 1997 Nebula Award for best novel.
- September 30, 1960 – Blanche Lincoln born, American Democratic politician; U.S. Senator from Arkansas (1999-2011); Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the first district of Arkansas (1993-1997).
- September 30, 1967 – Emmanuelle Houdart born in Switzerland, but lived and worked in Paris, Swiss artist, illustrator, costume and textile designer, and author; contributor to French newspapers and magazines, including Libération and Le Monde.
- September 30, 1975 – Marion Cotillard born, French actress, film producer, and environmental activist. Her role was as Édith Piaf in the 2007 French biopic La Vie en Rose earned Best Actress awards at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Oscars. She is an active member and spokesperson for Greenpeace, and a patron of the Mauf Fontenoy Foundation, an NGO which teaches children about protecting the oceans. She also supports Association Wayanga, a French group advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples, the preservation of their cultures, and the Amazon Forest they inhabit.
- September 30, 1981 – Cecelia Ahearn born, Irish novelist whose books have sold over 25 million copies; noted for P.S. I Love You, and Where Rainbows End, which won the 2005 Corine Award; she was the co-creator of the TV series Samantha Who?, which starred Christina Applegate (2007-2009).
- September 30, 1985 – Téa Obreht born in Serbia, spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt; her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1997; Serbian-American novelist and short story writer; her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.
- September 30, 2015 – Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the secretly recorded videos which purported to show representatives of the organization negotiating to sell tissue from aborted fetuses were "outrageous ... offensive and categorically untrue." The videos fueled a conservative Republican effort to block Planned Parenthood's $450 million in annual federal funding. Richards told the committee that Planned Parenthood's policies on the use of fetal tissue for medical research "indeed go beyond the requirements of the law." The so-called Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, had secretly recorded and then misleadingly edited the videos. Officials in twelve states initiated investigations into claims made by the videos, but none of them found Planned Parenthood clinics to have sold tissue for profit as alleged by CMP and other anti-abortion groups. An investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. In March 2017, Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden and member Sandra Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California – one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy. In June 2017, all the invasion of privacy charges (but not the criminal conspiracy charge) were dismissed with leave to amend. The State of California re-filed amended charges, and the prosecution on fraud charges continued in May 2019, after the California Supreme Court rejected a petition to halt legal action. In November 2019, a federal jury found the anti-abortion cohort led by David Daleiden had conspired to commit fraud, breach of contract and trespass and to violate federal and state recording laws in Maryland, California, and Florida, causing substantial harm to Planned Parenthood, and awarded punitive damages of $870,000, and $478,000 in compensation for security costs and changes to their vetting procedures. The jury found the defendants had also conspired to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which triples the compensatory damages, bringing the total to $2.275 million.
- September 30, 2019 – Following a staff uprising, and enormous political and public pressure, BBC Director General Tony Hall emailed staff to announce he had overturned the decision (see previous September 28, 2019 report) to sanction BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty for her comment about Donald Trump’s tweet in July that four American women of color in the U.S. House of Representatives should “go home.” When asked by her co-host Dan Walker about Trump’s comment, Munchetty had responded, “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.”
- September 30, 2019 – Amal Clooney, UK special envoy on media freedom, said “there is a glaring gap in the international system of protection when it comes to establishing facts in a cross-section of situations that require proper investigation” including the targeted state killings of human rights defenders and journalists such as Jamal Khashoggi. She also said the UN special rapporteur Agnès Callamard, who undertook the UN’s investigation into Khashoggi’s murder, “had been forced heroically to manage a large-scale investigation with ridiculously few resources.” Callamard’s report accused Saudi Arabia of premeditated murder, but she received no cooperation from Saudi Arabia in compiling her document. She found “every expert interviewed said it was inconceivable that an operation on this scale had been carried out without the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, being aware at a minimum of some sort of mission of a criminal nature directed at Khashoggi was being launched.” As the anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder approached, Callamard said her proposal for a standing UN investigatory mechanism that could act either in support of national actors undertaking investigations of targeted killings or establish an international inquiry was “meeting resistance from within the UN,” largely from leaders determined to defend national sovereignty. She proposed staging a UN session on media freedom at the G20 leaders summit in Riyadh next year. Callamard added, “World leaders have a duty to speak up against those that denigrate press freedom. I am not suggesting that they stop diplomatic relations, I am simply asking them to stand up or simply walk out when there is such a display of the violation of the values the UN stands for.”
- September 30, 2020 –After Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center, turned whistleblower, the human rights group Project South filed a complaint on her behalf with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General which alleged that high rates of hysterectomies — sometimes without what the complaint called “proper informed consent” — had been performed on women detained in the privately owned immigration jail in Georgia. On this date, The New York Times published a report citing additional firsthand accounts of 16 women who told of being treated by the doctor accused of performing forced sterilizations at the private, for-profit detention center, which was used by both the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshall’s Service. The interviews included women who had undergone invasive gynecological surgeries that were likely medically unnecessary. The Times reported that the doctor, who isn’t a board-certified OB-GYN, consistently overstated the risk of cysts or masses on a patient’s reproductive organs and lied about the symptoms some women experienced to justify aggressive surgeries. At least one attorney had complained to Irwin’s warden as far back as 2018, after a woman came forward with concerns about recent gynecological care she had received while imprisoned at Irwin. Several women were deported after speaking out publicly or testifying to federal investigators about their treatment by the gynecologist, who denied the allegations, but has remained under criminal investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice. A group of 35 immigrant women filed a class-action lawsuit against ICE over their medical treatment, and also claimed that they faced retaliation for speaking out. By April, 2021, the facility no longer held any immigrant women. In May, 2021, the Biden administration announced the closing of the Irwin County Detention Center.
- September 30, 2021 – In the UK, police were severely criticised by three Investigatory Powers Tribunal judges in a landmark case involving a woman deceived into a long-term intimate relationship by an undercover officer. The judges ruled overwhelmingly in favour of Kate Wilson, an environmental and social justice activist, who had pursued a decade-long campaign to uncover the truth. The judges ruled that the Metropolitan police violated Wilson’s human rights in five ways, including inflicting degrading treatment on her. In November 2003, Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer who infiltrated leftwing groups for seven years, began a sexual relationship with Wilson lasting almost two years, without telling her that he was a police officer sent to spy on her and the political groups she supported. Kennedy was one of 139 police officers who spied on over 1,000 political groups since 1968, and the Met has admitted that at least a dozen of their officers deceived the women they spied on as part of their cover, and paid them compensation after the women took legal action in civil court. Wilson didn’t discover Kennedy’s true identity until 2010, after he was unmasked by other activists. The IPT judges, in a 158-page ruling, said senior officers appeared to have a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” towards their spies who were deceiving women into sexual relationships. They said the managers had “a lack of interest” in protecting women’s human rights. After the ruling, Wilson said: “The events in my case happened years ago. However, the failure of the police to protect women from sexual predators within their own ranks, and police attempts to criminalise protesters are both still very live issues today. The tribunal has gone some way towards recognising how deep the abuses run.” Colin Boyd, one of the three judges, said, “Were it not for [Wilson’s] tenacity and perseverance, often in the face of formidable difficulties, much of what this case has revealed would not have come to light.” Wilson is the first woman deceived by an undercover officer to take her case to the IPT, which examines allegations of abuses by the state. She fought a large part of case herself as she could not afford lawyers. The judges said she had uncovered a “formidable list” of human rights violations, adding that supervision of the covert operation was “fatally flawed,” could not be justified as necessary in a democratic society, and was characterised by “disturbing and lamentable failings at the most fundamental levels.” In January 2022, she was awarded £229,000 in compensation.
The Feminist Cats Learn About Chicana Feminist Ana Castillo
Ana Castillo was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1953, the daughter of a Chicago-born father and a Mexican Indian mother. She earned an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago in 1979, and a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Bremen in Germany in 1991. Instead of a traditional dissertation, she submitted the essays later collected in her 1994 book Massacre of the Dreamers.
Castillo is a Mexican-American novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, and translator. She is one of the leading voices of the Chicano experience, who proposed Xicanisma in the 1990s. The letter X references the inability of Spanish colonizers to pronounce the Sh sound in Mesoamerican languages (such as Texcoco, pronounced Tesh-KOH-koh), so they represented this sound with a letter X in 16th-century Spanish. The X also represents the crossroads of contact between indigenous people and the Spanish arrivals, and Indigenous survival of hundreds of years of colonization. It acknowledges the moment "where the creative power of woman became deliberately appropriated by the male society." Xicanisma aims to reclaim Indigenous roots and spirituality, and to "reinsert the forsaken feminine into our consciousness" subordinated through colonization. It challenges the masculine-focused aspects of the Chicano Movement and the patriarchal bias of the Spanish language: being Xicanisma instead of Chicanismo.
Castillo argues that using this X as a symbol of a crossroads is important because "language is the vehicle by which we perceive ourselves in relation to the world." Change the language we use, and it changes how we view and act in the world. Not to replace patriarchy with matriarchy, but to create "a nonmaterialistic and nonexploitative society in which feminine principles of nurturing and community prevail" and where the feminine is recovered from its current place of enforced subordination. Resilience is a major theme of Chicana feminism: the strength it takes to not only leave behind old ways of thinking but to discover a new mindset of equality.
Castillo is the author of over 15 books, numerous articles, and poems, with themes of identity, racism, classism, culture, and violence against women. Her novels include So Far from God; Peel My Love Like an Onion; Give It to Me; and The Guardians, and her poetry collections include Otro Canto; Women Are Not Roses; My Father Was a Toltec; and I Ask the Impossible.
For those of you who want to dive deeper, the extended list of this week’s Women Trailblazers and Events in Women’s History is here: