To celebrate Women's History Month, Changemaker Chats commissioned a series of illustrations celebrating changemaking women. The year before, the organization had featured a series of quotes and portraits of well-known women, so this year, in the spirit of Hidden Figures, we decided to highlight the women who did incredible things but didn't get the time they deserved in the limelight and the space they deserve in the history books. 


    To learn a little more about each women, hover over her image, but for a longer read, check out this incredible series by the New York Times, called Overlooked

    Katherine Johnson   She was a freshman in high school at the age of 10, and graduated from college at just 18. In her role on NASA's Space Task Group, Johnson calculated astronaut Alan Shepard's trajectory, allowing the US to successfully put a man into orbit around the Earth. Not only that, but Johnson also worked on the calculations that allowed the Apollo astronauts to return home from the Moon. 

    Katherine Johnson

    She was a freshman in high school at the age of 10, and graduated from college at just 18. In her role on NASA's Space Task Group, Johnson calculated astronaut Alan Shepard's trajectory, allowing the US to successfully put a man into orbit around the Earth. Not only that, but Johnson also worked on the calculations that allowed the Apollo astronauts to return home from the Moon. 

    Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman    Called the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution,” Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician, and human rights activist. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.

    Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman

    Called the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution,” Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician, and human rights activist. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.

    Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị    It can be said that the existence of Vietnam today is due almost wholly to the efforts of the Trưng sisters. Prior to 40 A.D., the Chinese conquered Vietnam, leaving the country under the brutal rule of Chinese governor To Dinh. Elder sister Trắc decided to mobilize a rebellion against the Chinese rule, choosing 36 women to be generals, and successfully driving the Chinese out in 40 A.D. Trắc became queen.

    Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị

    It can be said that the existence of Vietnam today is due almost wholly to the efforts of the Trưng sisters. Prior to 40 A.D., the Chinese conquered Vietnam, leaving the country under the brutal rule of Chinese governor To Dinh. Elder sister Trắc decided to mobilize a rebellion against the Chinese rule, choosing 36 women to be generals, and successfully driving the Chinese out in 40 A.D. Trắc became queen.

    Mary Temple Grandin    Mary Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism, and invented the "hug box" device to calm those on the autism spectrum.

    Mary Temple Grandin

    Mary Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism, and invented the "hug box" device to calm those on the autism spectrum.

    Sylvia Ray Rivera    Transgender activist and civil rights pioneer Sylvia Rae Rivera was on the front lines of the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969, which many credit with sparking the modern LGBTQ rights movement. She continued to work to promote rights and visibility for gender nonconforming people, especially those in the community who were young or at risk.

    Sylvia Ray Rivera

    Transgender activist and civil rights pioneer Sylvia Rae Rivera was on the front lines of the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969, which many credit with sparking the modern LGBTQ rights movement. She continued to work to promote rights and visibility for gender nonconforming people, especially those in the community who were young or at risk.

    Shirley Chisholm   Before Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm: the first African American congresswoman (male OR female). During her tenure in Congress, Chisholm  fought for the underprivileged and minorities, pushing forward a bill for domestic worker benefits, advocating for improved access to education, and fighting for immigrant rights. She then decided to break the biggest of boundaries by running for president. So why isn't Chisholm in our history textbooks??

    Shirley Chisholm

    Before Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm: the first African American congresswoman (male OR female). During her tenure in Congress, Chisholm  fought for the underprivileged and minorities, pushing forward a bill for domestic worker benefits, advocating for improved access to education, and fighting for immigrant rights. She then decided to break the biggest of boundaries by running for president. So why isn't Chisholm in our history textbooks??

    “If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  —Shirley Chisholm

    Tammy Baldwin   In a slew of firsts, Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay member of the Wisconsin Assembly and was the first openly gay woman elected to the House. She later became the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Congress and the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history. A true trailblazer.

    Tammy Baldwin

    In a slew of firsts, Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay member of the Wisconsin Assembly and was the first openly gay woman elected to the House. She later became the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Congress and the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history. A true trailblazer.

    Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit   At a time when a political career was non-existent for women, the late Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was way ahead of her times. Pandit became the first female president of the UN General Assembly in 1953, and was the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post, serving twice as the president of Indian Congress.

    Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

    At a time when a political career was non-existent for women, the late Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was way ahead of her times. Pandit became the first female president of the UN General Assembly in 1953, and was the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post, serving twice as the president of Indian Congress.

    Rose Marie McCoy   As an African-American woman living in the 1960s, McCoy accomplished remarkable feats: her song “Tryin’ to Get to You” was performed by Elvis Presley on his debut album and soared to the top of the charts, and she went on to write for the likes of James Brown, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Mathis. In total, she wrote approximately 850 songs, a shocking number for someone so few have heard of.

    Rose Marie McCoy

    As an African-American woman living in the 1960s, McCoy accomplished remarkable feats: her song “Tryin’ to Get to You” was performed by Elvis Presley on his debut album and soared to the top of the charts, and she went on to write for the likes of James Brown, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Mathis. In total, she wrote approximately 850 songs, a shocking number for someone so few have heard of.

        Rani Lakshmibai   Rani Lakshmibai was the Queen of Jhansi, north-central India, and a central figure in the struggle against British rule. Growing up, she learned how to do badass shit like ride elephants, jump over fire-pits on horseback, sword fight, shoot a crossbow, load a musket, read, and write. Raini managed to assemble an ultra-loyal personal bodyguard of mega-tough women courtiers who knew how to fight. Sometimes described as the Indian Joan of Arc, she fought in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.   

     

    Rani Lakshmibai

    Rani Lakshmibai was the Queen of Jhansi, north-central India, and a central figure in the struggle against British rule. Growing up, she learned how to do badass shit like ride elephants, jump over fire-pits on horseback, sword fight, shoot a crossbow, load a musket, read, and write. Raini managed to assemble an ultra-loyal personal bodyguard of mega-tough women courtiers who knew how to fight. Sometimes described as the Indian Joan of Arc, she fought in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

     

    Rosalind Elsie Franklin   In 1951, Rosalind Franklin was the first person to take astonishingly clear images of DNA fibers. These were crucial in determining the structure of DNA. In 1953, her colleague, Maurice Wilkins, secretly showed one of Franklin’s images to James Watson and Frances Crick, who used the image to develop their famous model of DNA. Crick, Watson, and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962. Sadly, Franklin had died of ovarian cancer in 1958, when she was just 37 years old, and the Nobel Committee does not give posthumous awards.After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982.

    Rosalind Elsie Franklin

    In 1951, Rosalind Franklin was the first person to take astonishingly clear images of DNA fibers. These were crucial in determining the structure of DNA. In 1953, her colleague, Maurice Wilkins, secretly showed one of Franklin’s images to James Watson and Frances Crick, who used the image to develop their famous model of DNA. Crick, Watson, and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962. Sadly, Franklin had died of ovarian cancer in 1958, when she was just 37 years old, and the Nobel Committee does not give posthumous awards.After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982.

    Murasaki Shikibu   Historians argue over Murasaki Shikibu's  Tale of Genji. Some say it was the first great novel in world literature; others say it was the first novel, full-stop. Little is known about her, but Genji is considered a masterpiece, even among modern literary critics — and a must-read romance novel.

    Murasaki Shikibu

    Historians argue over Murasaki Shikibu's  Tale of Genji. Some say it was the first great novel in world literature; others say it was the first novel, full-stop. Little is known about her, but Genji is considered a masterpiece, even among modern literary critics — and a must-read romance novel.

    Quintreman Sisters   Faced with the construction of a dam that would displace them from their native land, Berta and Nicolasa Quintreman put up a quiet fight for dignity that launched a new environmental movement. After 10 years of protests, the Quintreman sisters’ resistance eventually didn’t stop the dam, but Chile’s congress strengthened the nation’s environmental protections, and the sisters inspired many other indigenous leaders and activists, who have successfully blocked 20 more environmentally-damaging energy projects. 

    Quintreman Sisters

    Faced with the construction of a dam that would displace them from their native land, Berta and Nicolasa Quintreman put up a quiet fight for dignity that launched a new environmental movement. After 10 years of protests, the Quintreman sisters’ resistance eventually didn’t stop the dam, but Chile’s congress strengthened the nation’s environmental protections, and the sisters inspired many other indigenous leaders and activists, who have successfully blocked 20 more environmentally-damaging energy projects. 

    Patsy Mink   One of the co-authors of Title IX (which works to prevent sex discrimination in education), Patsy Mink was also the first Asian American elected to Congress and the first woman of color in the US House of Representatives. As if that wasn't enough, she was also the Asian American (male or female!) to run for president.

    Patsy Mink

    One of the co-authors of Title IX (which works to prevent sex discrimination in education), Patsy Mink was also the first Asian American elected to Congress and the first woman of color in the US House of Representatives. As if that wasn't enough, she was also the Asian American (male or female!) to run for president.

    Nellie Bly    Arguably the world's first immersion journalist, Bly did a circumnavigation of the world in 72 days just to see if Jules Verne's 80-day limit could possibly be achieved in real life. But the feat for which she's mostly remembered is her terrifying investigation into the conditions in mental hospitals, "Ten Days In A Mad-House," for which she pretended to be insane and had herself committed.

    Nellie Bly

    Arguably the world's first immersion journalist, Bly did a circumnavigation of the world in 72 days just to see if Jules Verne's 80-day limit could possibly be achieved in real life. But the feat for which she's mostly remembered is her terrifying investigation into the conditions in mental hospitals, "Ten Days In A Mad-House," for which she pretended to be insane and had herself committed.

    Maria Tallchief   America's very first prima ballerina, Tallchief was the star of George Balanchine's famous New York City Ballet, and was the first famous Native American ballerina.

    Maria Tallchief

    America's very first prima ballerina, Tallchief was the star of George Balanchine's famous New York City Ballet, and was the first famous Native American ballerina.

    Bessie Coleman   When Coleman was unable to find a mentor or teacher in Chicago to help her get her pilot's license, she went to France, where she became the first African-American woman to earn an international pilot's license. After founding an aviation school. Coleman made it her life's work to inspire other members of the black community to take up an interest in aviation. 

    Bessie Coleman

    When Coleman was unable to find a mentor or teacher in Chicago to help her get her pilot's license, she went to France, where she became the first African-American woman to earn an international pilot's license. After founding an aviation school. Coleman made it her life's work to inspire other members of the black community to take up an interest in aviation. 

    Margaret Hamilton    She was the lead software designer for Project Apollo; her code saved the mission when it almost had to be aborted. Today we celebrate mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, who landed the lunar module, but without Hamilton,  we wouldn’t have reached the moon. She is also responsible for creating the term “software engineering” during the Apollo space mission days to give it legitimacy, just like any other engineering discipline.

    Margaret Hamilton

    She was the lead software designer for Project Apollo; her code saved the mission when it almost had to be aborted. Today we celebrate mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, who landed the lunar module, but without Hamilton,  we wouldn’t have reached the moon. She is also responsible for creating the term “software engineering” during the Apollo space mission days to give it legitimacy, just like any other engineering discipline.

    Lupe Anguiano   Lupe Anguiano has devoted her life to civil rights, social justice, and protecting the environment. A former nun, Anguiano began her crusade to help women trapped in welfare get out of the system. In 1973 she moved into the San Antonio housing projects and within six months, she had helped 500 women get jobs in the private sector, thus taking them off welfare.

    Lupe Anguiano

    Lupe Anguiano has devoted her life to civil rights, social justice, and protecting the environment. A former nun, Anguiano began her crusade to help women trapped in welfare get out of the system. In 1973 she moved into the San Antonio housing projects and within six months, she had helped 500 women get jobs in the private sector, thus taking them off welfare.

    Madame C.J. Walker   When her hair started falling out at nearly 40 years old, Walker began creating at-home remedies, which she later began selling nation-wide. Determined to create opportunities for Black people who she saw working as maids and sharecroppers, Walker began recruiting Black men and women across America to join her growing beauty empire as sales agents. The daughter of former slaves, Walker went on to become the first female self-made millionaire in America, and built a mansion in the same neighborhood as John D. Rockefeller.

    Madame C.J. Walker

    When her hair started falling out at nearly 40 years old, Walker began creating at-home remedies, which she later began selling nation-wide. Determined to create opportunities for Black people who she saw working as maids and sharecroppers, Walker began recruiting Black men and women across America to join her growing beauty empire as sales agents. The daughter of former slaves, Walker went on to become the first female self-made millionaire in America, and built a mansion in the same neighborhood as John D. Rockefeller.

     

    "I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them."  —Madame CJ Walker

     
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell   Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th Century." As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. The discovery was recognised by the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to her thesis supervisor Anthony Hewish and to the astronomer Martin Ryle. Bell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars. For her part, Bell declined to cause a fuss, saying that she was simply glad to have played a part in the first Nobel awarded for astrophysics.

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th Century." As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. The discovery was recognised by the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to her thesis supervisor Anthony Hewish and to the astronomer Martin Ryle. Bell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars. For her part, Bell declined to cause a fuss, saying that she was simply glad to have played a part in the first Nobel awarded for astrophysics.

    Irena Sendler   Sendler is responsible for smuggling approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and providing them with false identity documents and shelter, saving those children from the Holocaust. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual during the Holocaust.

    Irena Sendler

    Sendler is responsible for smuggling approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and providing them with false identity documents and shelter, saving those children from the Holocaust. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual during the Holocaust.

    Ida B. Wells   Born a slave in Mississippi in 1862, she became basically everything: a civil rights reformer, fearless investigative journalist, and serious badass who took on race hatred head-on by writing openly about America's lynching as a way to control African American people. She even refused to give up a spot on a white woman's train car, 71 years before Rosa Parks.

    Ida B. Wells

    Born a slave in Mississippi in 1862, she became basically everything: a civil rights reformer, fearless investigative journalist, and serious badass who took on race hatred head-on by writing openly about America's lynching as a way to control African American people. She even refused to give up a spot on a white woman's train car, 71 years before Rosa Parks.

    Huda Sha’arawi   In 1908, she founded Egypt’s first female-run philanthropic society, which offered services for impoverished women and children. As more education opportunities became available for Egyptian women, Huda planned lectures to educate women, and eventually organized the largest women’s anti-British protest. She continues to have a lasting influence on women not only in the Middle East but also around the world.

    Huda Sha’arawi

    In 1908, she founded Egypt’s first female-run philanthropic society, which offered services for impoverished women and children. As more education opportunities became available for Egyptian women, Huda planned lectures to educate women, and eventually organized the largest women’s anti-British protest. She continues to have a lasting influence on women not only in the Middle East but also around the world.

    Henrietta Lacks   Henrietta was a black tobacco farmer who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 30. Without her knowing, her tumor was sampled and sent to scientists at Johns Hopkins. Much to the scientists’ surprise, her cells never died. Henrietta’s immortal cells were integral in developing the polio vaccine, and were used for cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.

    Henrietta Lacks

    Henrietta was a black tobacco farmer who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 30. Without her knowing, her tumor was sampled and sent to scientists at Johns Hopkins. Much to the scientists’ surprise, her cells never died. Henrietta’s immortal cells were integral in developing the polio vaccine, and were used for cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.

    Wangari Maathai    The first African woman (and first environmentalist) to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai spoke up for democracy and sustainability in her native Kenya. She founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental initiative whose members plant trees in Africa to prevent soil erosion, provide a source for firewood, and store rainwater. On top of that, Maathai also earned the first doctorate awarded to a woman from East and Central Africa, and was also Kenya's first female professor.

    Wangari Maathai

    The first African woman (and first environmentalist) to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai spoke up for democracy and sustainability in her native Kenya. She founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental initiative whose members plant trees in Africa to prevent soil erosion, provide a source for firewood, and store rainwater. On top of that, Maathai also earned the first doctorate awarded to a woman from East and Central Africa, and was also Kenya's first female professor.

     

    “The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.”  —Wangari Maathai

     
    Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya    Fatima Al-Fihriya was an Arab Muslim woman who is credited for founding the oldest existing, continually operating and first degree-awarding educational institution (as well as one of the world's oldest libraries) in the world, The University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fes, Morocco in 859 CE.

    Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya

    Fatima Al-Fihriya was an Arab Muslim woman who is credited for founding the oldest existing, continually operating and first degree-awarding educational institution (as well as one of the world's oldest libraries) in the world, The University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fes, Morocco in 859 CE.

    Edmonia Lewis   Edmonia Lewis was the first African-American and Native-American woman to become a professional artist, and overcame tremendous obstacles to become an artist at a time when few opportunities were open to people of her gender and skin color.

    Edmonia Lewis

    Edmonia Lewis was the first African-American and Native-American woman to become a professional artist, and overcame tremendous obstacles to become an artist at a time when few opportunities were open to people of her gender and skin color.

    Chien-Shiung Wu   Now known as "the First Lady of Physics" "Queen of Nuclear Research," nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu worked with theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, who wanted her help in disproving the law of parity. Although Lee and Yang developed the theory disproving the law of parity, it was Wu who developed and conducted the experiments that actually served as proof. In 1957, Lee and Yang both received the Nobel Prize for their work — but Wu’s contribution was ignored.

    Chien-Shiung Wu

    Now known as "the First Lady of Physics" "Queen of Nuclear Research," nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu worked with theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, who wanted her help in disproving the law of parity. Although Lee and Yang developed the theory disproving the law of parity, it was Wu who developed and conducted the experiments that actually served as proof. In 1957, Lee and Yang both received the Nobel Prize for their work — but Wu’s contribution was ignored.

    Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich   In 1945, Elizabeth (Wanamaker) Peratrovich (Tlingit) was instrumental in gaining passage of America’s FIRST anti-discrimination law. After encountering “No Natives Allowed” signs, she and her husband worked for passage of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act until it finally came before the Senate.

    Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich

    In 1945, Elizabeth (Wanamaker) Peratrovich (Tlingit) was instrumental in gaining passage of America’s FIRST anti-discrimination law. After encountering “No Natives Allowed” signs, she and her husband worked for passage of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act until it finally came before the Senate.

     

    Sen. Allan Shattuck: “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites, with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?”

    Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich: “I would not have expected that I, who am 'barely out of savagery,' would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.”

     
    Ada Lovelace   Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and her mother encouraged her to pursue mathematics in the belief that it would counteract any poetic leanings inherited from her father. She befriended Charles Babbage, inventor of the first programmable computer. While Babbage had conceived his computers as tools for mathematical calculations, but Lovelace was the first to realize that computers could process any data representable by numbers, foreshadowing modern computing. She wrote an algorithm for the Analytical Engine, which is now considered the first computer program. Sadly, Lovelace died at a young age, while Babbage was frustrated in his attempts to build his engines, setting the science of computing back decades.

    Ada Lovelace

    Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and her mother encouraged her to pursue mathematics in the belief that it would counteract any poetic leanings inherited from her father. She befriended Charles Babbage, inventor of the first programmable computer. While Babbage had conceived his computers as tools for mathematical calculations, but Lovelace was the first to realize that computers could process any data representable by numbers, foreshadowing modern computing. She wrote an algorithm for the Analytical Engine, which is now considered the first computer program. Sadly, Lovelace died at a young age, while Babbage was frustrated in his attempts to build his engines, setting the science of computing back decades.


    Issues:
    Gender Equality
    Women-Led Businesses

    Services:
    Illustration


    Here's a related project or three...

    CHANGEMAKER CHATS

    CHANGEMAKER CHATS

    MINDFUL MOVES

    MINDFUL MOVES

    MOTHERS @ WORK

    MOTHERS @ WORK

    ...or if you prefer, view all work.