Women… none of us would be here without them. Whether it’s our mother, sister, wife, daughter or niece, women play a monumental role in all our lives. 2019 marks the one-hundred-and-one-years since women received the right to vote in the UK, and while we have made considerable progress, there is still some way to go before achieving true equality.
Although we are free to practice any religion we choose to, we aren’t bound by sexually oppressive norms or laws and we can criticise government freely, we fall behind many other nations, somewhat surprisingly, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018. Rwanda, Nicaragua, Philippines and Namibia all rank inside the top 10 while the UK don’t even feature.
Heroines who have triumphed over inequality
- Emmeline Pankhurst, 1858 – 1928: a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote.
- Constance Markievicz, 1868 – 1927: first woman to be elected into the House of Commons, but she didn’t take her seat out of protest.
- Marie Stopes, 1880 – 1958: opened the UK’s first birth control clinic in 1921.
- Hattie McDaniel, 1895 – 1952: the first African-American actor to receive an Oscar for her portrayal of ‘Mammy’ in Gone With The Wind.
- Rosa Parks, 1913 – 2005: NAACP Secretary, civil rights activist best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- Indira Gandhi, 1917 – 1984: She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India.
- Rosalind Franklin, 1920 – 1958: achieved notoriety for her work on X-ray diffraction images of DNA which would eventually lead to the discovery of the DNA double helix.
- Marilyn vos Savant, 1942 – present: recorded the highest ever IQ to date of 228 and remains an intellectual and feminist icon.
- Diane Abbott, 1953 – present: elected into the House of Commons as the first black female MP.
- Alison Hargreaves, 1962 – 1995: became the first female and third person to reach the top of Mount Everest without a partner or extra oxygen in 1995.
- Clare Smyth, 1978 – present: became the first British female chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars.
- Serena Williams, 1981 – present: regarded as one the greatest athletes of all time, she has 23 tennis grand-slams to her name and even managed to win the 2017 Australian Open while 2 months pregnant!
However, despite the immense achievements of these women, women remain largely absent from our history books. There is a shortage of women commemorated with public statues and Jane Austin is the only woman to appear on any British bank note (after a DRAWING of her was given a necessary modern-day photoshop treatment). Professional women still have a hard time gaining equal recognition among their male counterparts – from actresses, to news correspondents, to athletes, women are routinely undervalued for their work.
As a creative marketing agency, we are proud to boast of a truly representative workforce – nearly half of our staff are women and many of them occupy senior roles. As Jo Waddington, a Managing Partner at OTB notes, “Women are the lifeblood of the OTB office. Women here are recognised by male colleagues for their invaluable contribution, and if that weren’t the case, they’d certainly have something to say about it!”
So, go out today and celebrate the heroic women of the past, those who are bringing a male-dominated world to its knees today, and those who will pave the way for women of the future!
Tweet us @otbtweeter to let us know who your favourite female heroines are that history books may have forgotten to credit.