Maria Grech Ganado (profile; interview)
Preaching was forbidden women, but Pope Eugene III requested she travel widely to preach the visionary theology she wrote 3 volumes of, was consulted by both religious and social personages, invented a new language, composed the first musical morality play, Ordo Virtutum. Her liturgical chants still enchant many, including me, and her natural medicine influenced that of the New Movement.
‘Woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman’—Hildegard’s writing exalts woman and God’s creation of beauty, recommends beer to give her nuns rosy cheeks. She refers openly to the joys of sex, scorning concepts of woman’s ‘uncleanness’. She challenged authority, obviously male, and got her way. I suspect her insistence that she was an unlearned member of the weaker sex was tactical rather than humble, crucial at the time to ensure her power. A woman after my own heart.
Regina de Búrca (twitter; TFF)
Salic Law forbade women to become leaders, however this did not deter Granuaile from becoming chieftain of the O’Malley clan, leading an army of 200 men and being captain of a fleet of ships. Famous for leading an army against the English, by 1593, she had a catalogue of treasonous activities levelled against her by the English Court. This didn’t stop her from travelling to Greenwich Palace to negotiate successfully with Queen Elizabeth I for the release of her two sons and half-brother.
For me, Granuaile personifies tearing down limitations imposed by gender and societal expectations, and her memory inspires me never to take no for an answer.
Djibril al-Ayad (TFF)
Omi Wilde (story; story)
|Hide Hyodo photograph, [ca. 1935].|
City of Richmond Archives and
Richmond Retired Teachers Association,
photograph # 2014 6 5.
Your turn! Please give us your recommendations of kick-ass women from history in the comments.