How we know history depends on the people who write it.
The books name many men who have molded today’s world into what it is now but seldom do we hear about the women without whom the version of today’s present would not exist.
And, believe us, women are responsible for many leaps mankind has taken in the fields dominated by men: medicine, technology, science, aviation, and even warfare.
Here are five women in history who have proved their power and capabilities in the fields that were unconventional to women during their time:
1. Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale is best known as the founder of modern nursing. Also called “the Lady with the Lamp,” she led the first official team of British military nurses to Turkey during the Crimean War where she noticed that more soldiers died from disease than wounds. She realized that a big part of it was because of sanitation. She then reformed healthcare and influenced the quality of the care in tending to the wounded and the sick—improving nursing care in the 19th and 20th centuries.
2. Ada Lovelace
Computers and programming is an industry normally dominated by the male species but can you believe that the first computer programmer was a woman?
That woman was Ada Lovelace, a brilliant mathematician with a fascination for science and the kind of foresight that saw early on the unique potential of computers. She had insights about the analytical engine that even Charles Babbage, the father of the computer, might have even lacked.
Lovelace saw beyond what everyone thought was a machine that could only do calculations. She foresaw that eventually the computer could also carry out all kinds of processes and had the potential to manage all kinds of applications.
3. Marie Curie
Marie Curie was the first of many impressive things, among them were the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first female professor of the University of Paris. Not only that, but she was also the first person to win a Nobel prize—not once—but twice and each in different fields: one for Physics while the other for Chemistry.
She invented the word radioactivity as the founder of the new science wherein her discoveries were the doorway to effective treatment for cancer. She fell ill from the radioactive materials she handled, but her contributions continue to help those diagnosed with the disease until today.
4. Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart shaped history in the aviation industry and was celebrated for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart also helped found an organization of female pilots and became its first president, encouraging women to pursue what was considered at the time as unconventional for them.
During her flight around the world, she was the first person to fly from the Red Sea to India but was later on reported missing somewhere in the Pacific. Her disappearance is still one of the greatest mysteries in history today.
5. Gabriela Silang
Last but not least is a Filipina who shaped our country’s history as the first female leader of the Philippine Revolution. The name Gabriela Silang incites respect and inspiration among Filipinos who fight against imperialism.
After the death of her husband, a rebel leader, Gabriela took matters into her own hands and led the resistance and the team of rebels he left behind. She launched guerilla attacks and sustained one of the longest battles against the Spanish colonizers for months before finally getting captured and executed with about a hundred other resistance fighters.
History may be told by books, but it is made by people. For Women’s Month in March, we salute all the women, especially those who continue to break the glass ceiling and push the boundaries of what a woman is deemed capable of.
Ladies, continue to make your mark in history. Let them hear us roar.