To mark International Women's Day, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite female academics, writers, novelists, scientists and all round awesome people, and a few reasons why they’re completely badass.
1. Mary Beard
Professor of Classics at The University of Cambridge, author of a bunch of books and a TV presenter. Took a man who trolled her on Twitter out for lunch, and gave him a reference as she was concerned that the name-and-shame response would affect his job prospects.
2. Baroness Haleh Afshar
Grew up in Iran, is now a professor of women’s studies at The University of York and is a visiting professor of Islamic law at Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg, France. A prominent feminist, Muslim and socialist, she is also a life peer in the House of Lords.
3. Roxane Gay
A famous novelist, Gay was born in Nebraska and is of Haitian descent. She has written several feminist works, including the collection of essays ‘Bad Feminist’ which received critical acclaim. She also co-wrote Black Panther: World of Wakanda, which has been praised for it’s portrayal of LGBTQ characters.
4. Margaret Atwood
If you haven’t yet read The Handmaid’s Tale, or seen the TV show of the same name, then I suggest you do. Written by Atwood in the 80’s, it’s a clear premonition of the world that we live in today and a scary foreshadowing of our worst fears of life under Trump’s regime.
5. DR Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist who wrote poetry, essays, autobiographies, plays, TV shows and more. She had worked as a cook, a dancer and as a sex worker, and was widely regarded as one of the most important spokespeople for black people and women. She was also good friends with Oprah Winfrey. Of course.
6. Alice Walker
Walker is a writer and activist, most known for her exceptional novel The Colour Purple. She was arrested outside the White House at an anti-war rally on the eve of the Iraq war, and has frequently travelled to Gaza to deliver aid.
7. Mae C. Jemison
Jemison is the first African American woman to travel in space. She’s an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut, and conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew of the Endeavour, spending a total of 190 hours in space.
8. Dr Alice Roberts
Roberts is a Professor of Public Engagement in Science at Birmingham University, and is an all-round awesome person. She’s studied anthropology, anatomy, embryology, osteoarchaeology and paleopathology and is also a television presenter. She’s also written eight books.
9. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has suddenly been thrown into the limelight as she sentenced disgraced USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar to 175 years in prison. Nassar complained that listening to the stories of over 150 women who testified against him was causing him emotional distress, and Aquilina’s GIF-able response made her an instant social media hit. In her spare time, she writes crime novels.
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