Remembering our heroines

Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” in accordance with the Armistice,signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919  – source via Wikipedia

As part of the revolution , for lack of a better word, we want to capture and remember 3 women that have contributed to this day yet failed to be recognized as they have always been expected to stand behind the lines only because they were born women and doing a man’s job was simply…not expected of them. Let’s shed a light on the heroines who deserve to be recognized for their devoted commitments to freedom just as much as their male counterparts are. 

Please note: These women who are profiled here are not only heroines because of one war but throughout history. The women profiled are also recognized for their contribution of that not only as soldiers but also as their contribution as a whole which helped the men and women who were involved in sacrificing their lives during the war.

1. Elsie Macgill = Queen Of The Huricanes 

It is only fair we start with a Canadian heroine who contributed as being the first woman to design an aircraft. During that time she was recognized as top aeronautical engineers, a field dominated by men. She holds the title of a heroine in this field to many of us today. She worked as an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War and did much to make Canada a powerhouse of aircraft construction during her years at Canadian Car and Foundry (CC&F) in Fort William, Ontario. Between 1967–1970 she was a commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, published in 1970. More on her story here.

2. Mary Seacole Legendary Doctress And War Heroine 

Mary was born in Kingston Jamaica to a Scottish father and a free black women who ran a boarding house and used herbal medicine to treat people who were ill. Mary inherited her knowledge of herbal medicine from her mother and became a doctress herself. Although she was denied her healing services by the British Army, Mary founded a business called British Hotel selling food and drinks to British soldiers and using her revenue to finance the medical treatments she gave to soldiers. On several occasions she was found treating wounded soldiers from both sides while the battle was still going on. Read more on this story here

3. Eileen Nearne – Heroine of World War II 

Eileen Nearne was parachuted into France in 1944, days before her 23rd birthday, where she worked undercover for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a radio operator and courier in Paris. On July 25, 1944, the Gestapo arrived at her hide-out just after she had transmitted a message and arrested her. She was taken to the local Gestapo HQ, where she told them she was a French woman called Jacqueline Duterte. She told them she was working for a businessman and that she did not understand the messages she sent. Elaine’s report reveals: “He said: ‘Liar, Spy’, and hit me on the face. He said: ‘We have ways of making people who don’t want to talk, talk. Come with us’.”  When asked how she kept up hope, Eileen said: “The will to live. Will power. That’s the most important. You should not let yourself go. It seemed that the end would never come, but I have always believed in destiny and I had a hope.”  More on this story here 

Bonus heroine: Malala Yousafzai – Today’s Advocate To Access To Education For Girls Worldwide

Malala was shot in the head by Taleban  for her bravery to speaking up as her right to education.  Malala and her father’s work at the UN includes a target to inspire organizations, government agencies and individuals to join those committed in getting 61 million children to start, or stay put in, primary school education worldwide. Advocates working toward this goal hope to reach this incredible number of children in primary schools worldwide by the start of 2015. We want all children to attend primary school and to progress to secondary school and relevant higher education. When Malala began writing for the public in 2009 at the age of 11 for BBC News in Pakistan she used a  pseudonym. Her name for her writing was Gul Makai, a pen name used for her protection. During months of blogging she went deep to describe how she was afraid of going to school. And how the increased presence of religious extremists became more and more commonplace in the Swat Valley. It was a time when restrictions on schoolgirls became part of everyday life as she outlined how girls in the region were told “not to wear colourful clothes as the Taleban would object to it.” They also began to threaten those who spoke out about education freedom, including Malala. Along with the drum for education Malala also brought the issue in the fight for women’s equality to the floor. As she traveled from Europe to the United States she is building steam in a dizzying flurry of activity as she continues to go head-to-head with those who stubbornly believe that girls and women worldwide must be censured from education, especially from schools that include topics like the study of science, math or the humanities. Read the full story here

Who are your heroines and why? 

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