Happy Women’s History Month! We wanted to amplify the work and achievements of BAME women throughout history and celebrate the incredible impact they have had on their families, local communities and wider society as a whole – as such figures are often hidden over time.
What is Women’s History Month?
- It is an annual month focused on raising awareness of women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society, and empowering women by discovering, documenting and celebrating women’s lives.
- Celebrated during March in the UK, US and Australia, it corresponds with International Women’s Day on March 8th which is celebrated globally.
- Every IWD has a campaign theme, with the theme for 2021 being ‘Choose to Challenge’.
- This year’s campaign highlights calling out gender bias and inequality, and seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements, in order to help create an inclusive world.
Why are we focusing on BAME women?
- Too often in history, the stories of BAME individuals, and BAME women in particular, are unrecognised, uncelebrated and ultimately, forgotten.
- Their accomplishments and memories have been whitewashed from history, as shown by the lack of BAME women in the national curriculum taught at schools, blue heritage plaques across the country and monuments in UK cities.
Angela Davis (1944-Present)
- An African-American political activist, philosopher, academic and author, she is best known for her involvement in the US Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s, and is a former member of the Communist and Black Panther Parties.
- Sometimes viewed as a controversial figure, she was the 3rd woman ever featured on the FBI’s most-wanted list on charges she ultimately was acquitted for.
- Having received her Bachelor’s and PhD in philosophy, she is a distinguished philosophy professor and has written numerous award-winning books on subjects including racism, sexism and prison reform.
Imtiaz Dharker (1954-Present)
- A British-Pakistani poet, artist and documentary film-maker, she is best known for her English poetry, for which she won the Queen’s Gold Medal in 2014 among other awards, and is currently the appointed Chancellor of Newcastle University.
- Her works are featured on the GCSE and A-Level English syllabus, and cover art, history and politics, through which she brings her pieces to life by performing them in a witty, profound and moving way through the Poetry Live! schools programme.
- Carol Ann Duffy, UK Poet Laureate from 2009-2019, stated that if there was to be a world laureate, it could only be Dharker – a role that Dharker herself is said to have turned down to focus on her work.
Mary Seacole (1805-1881)
- A British-Jamaican nurse, healer and businesswoman, she is best known for establishing the ‘British Hotel’ during the Crimean War, garnering her nickname ‘Mother Seacole’, by which her reputation rivals that of Florence Nightingale.
- Having grown up learning nursing skills from her Jamaican mother, who ran a boarding house for invalid soldiers, she combined her knowledge of traditional medicine with European medical ideas.
- Originally refused as an army nurse, she travelled to Crimea herself and provided housing for sick and convalescent officers, alongside nursing those wounded under fire.
Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944)
- A wartime British secret agent of Indian descent, she is best known as the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France, and was posthumorusly awarded the George Cross and French Crois de Guerre for her valiant efforts.
- After escaping to England in 1940, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and later in 1942 was recruited to join the Special Operations Executive.
- Having been flown to France to complete a task, the undercover network she was part of collapsed and she was held hostage, where she refused to reveal any information and ultimately was executed.
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948)
- A British-Indian Princess, campaigner and fundraiser, she is best known as one of several Indian women pioneering the suffragette movement nationally across the UK, and locally in Richmond and Kingston-Upon-Thames.
- During the 1900s, she championed the cause for women’s rights, including leading roles in the Women’s Tax Resistance League and Women’s Social and Political Union.
- Most notably, on November 18th 1910 she led a demonstration of 400 women to the Houses of Parliament, in what is now known as the ‘Black Friday’ protests.
For more information and resources about Women’s History Month, we suggest:
For more information and resources about the historical BAME women mentioned, we suggest:
Noor Inayat Khan:
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh:
For charities, good causes and organisations that provide support for, education on and work in communities focusing on Women’s History and BAME Women, we suggest:
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