Only three days to go until Fantastically Great Women Who Made History is published! This time (as the title of the book suggests) we travel a bit further back through history to meet a huge mix of women from different cultures and backgrounds with an array of history making talents and ideas.
This week I’ll be posting some of the most surprising things I discovered about each of the women featured in the book to give you a sneaky preview of the extraordinary line up of women from Fantastically Great Women Who Made History …
- Escaped slave Harriet Tubman was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. I’d hear that phrase before and it conjured up images of some sort of secret train line, it was actually a top secret network of safe houses and hiding places used by slaves escaping from the southern ‘slave states’ of the USA to freedom in the so-called ‘free states’ of the northern USA (and free country of Canada). The term ‘railroad’ was used to describe the network because rail travel was an emerging form of transport at the time. And ‘underground’ referred to the secretive nature of the network – it had to be top secret because anyone caught helping slaves to escape was severely punished. Despite this Harriet risked her own safety many times to make the perilous journey south, guiding slaves to freedom and a better life.
- The Celtic people of Britain (who lived a thousand or so years ago) were very forward thinking and had the right idea about women making excellent leaders. They didn’t consider a female leader of a tribe to be odd at all. With her wild hair and merciless battle skills Boudicca, queen of the Celtic Icini tribe struck terror into the hearts of all who met her. (The invading Roman army were not so down with a woman making a good leader and COMPLETELY misjudged who they were messing with when they attempted to overthrow Boudicca.)
- There was a suffragette leader commonly referred to as ‘The General’, her name was Flora Drummond. Flora took ‘leading her troops’ very seriously indeed. At suffragette demonstrations she would wear military style clothing and ride a horse, as if heading into battle with her army of suffragettes to achieve Votes for Women. (And a battle it certainly was for women like Flora and her fellow soldiers in petticoats).
- Chinese revolutionary Qiu Jin was a leading voice in bringing an end to the age old and debilitating tradition of foot binding. (Small feet were considered beautiful so a girl’s feet would be tightly bound until they measured as little as 10cm long.)