Educational

7 Underrated Women in History

Women’s History Month is ending, but before it is too far out the door, I need to pay homage to some women who have made history for us, but are not credited as they should be. 

Below is a list of 7 underrated women in history. Please do more research on them if you’d like

1. Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker was a bad-ass feminist poet in the 1800s! This is what I know her for. Beyond that, she was also a civil rights activist. Her poetry and general quotes are full of wit and sarcasm toward the typical patriarchal society. She wrote about things that were taboo for women during that time, such as women’s infidelity as a response to a man’s infidelity.

In “A Certain Lady” (poem), she wrote,

“And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ….
And what goes on, my love, while you’re away,
You’ll never know.”

Translation: “I know you’re cheating on me. I’ll give you the sweetest kiss as you leave, and I’ll cheat too while you are away”

Understand this is bold for a woman during this time period. She was bad ass! Read more of her poetry here

2. Dorothy Dandridge

She was a breathtakingly gorgeous actress in the 1950s. She is the first African American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. That nomination was for the film Carmen Jones, which was re-imagined in 2001 with Beyonce playing Carmen Brown. 

3. Nikki Minaj

As controversial as Nikki Minaj is, the woman has made history. In 2018, she became the first woman to make 100 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100. Whether you like her or not, her props is due. You go girl!

I cannot speak for the recent actions of Nikki, but when she came out, she portrayed herself as a true feminist:

“All the girls will commend
As long as they understand
That I’m Fighting for the girls
That never thought they could win”

– “I’m The Best” lyrics, 2010

 

Nikki Minaj has also paid tuition for college students. However, one thing that I love most about her is that she put her clothing line in K Mart. She said that she wanted her fans to be able to afford her clothing. Unlike other celebrities who charge ridiculous prices, she stayed true to her fans and her community by keeping her prices affordable.

4. Hypatia of Alexandria

In around 500AD, she did what most women dared not to do. She remained unmarried, and she indulged in math and astronomy and anti-christian philosophies. She even taught these subjects from her home .

5. Mary Edwards Walker

I am not in the Army, but I do wonder if Army soldiers learn about her at all. She was the first woman physician in the United States Army. She was also the only woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Reportedly, she was initially denied entrance into the Army as a medical officer. After volunteering and being taken prisoner by confederate soldiers, she was finally released. Upon her release she was given the Medal of Honor and was accepted as a acting assistant surgeon.

6. Sybil Ludington

I’m willing to bet money that you know Paul Revere, but NOT Sybil Ludington. She essentially completed the same task as Paul Revere on the same night as Paul Revere, but she is not discussed with the same fervor. 

When the red coats were coming, she rode 40+ miles to tell her dad and his men. Her alert allowed her dad to gather an entire regiment to fight. She does not get the credit that she deserves, however.

7. Rosalind Franklin

Behind every successful man is probably a woman who he got the idea from. Rosalind Franklin was an X-Ray crystallographer who studied at King’s College London. She was the person who took x-ray diffraction images of DNA which allowed Watson, Crick and Wilkins to discover the DNA double helix. Without her images they would not have been able to make the discovery at the time that they had. She however, was not awarded with the Nobel Prize as the three aforementioned men were.

Question of the Week

Who is an underrated woman in history?

Answer by Vanessa Oden, Blogger | Website Twitter 
I think Madam CJ Walker does not get as much credit as she deserves. She was more than just hair products. she paved the way for women to actually be agents of her products and gave them tips on etiquette and self-esteem building. She taught women to really care for their scalps and hair, and did so much more than what we hear.

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Final Thoughts

Here are just 7 women who are not given the credit that they deserve. There are many more such as Simone Biles who I mentioned in the article, “Alive or Dead: 7 Underrated Black People in History.” I challenge you to always ask the question “What women contributed to this” when discussing advances in history, because women are far too often left out.

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