People are tweeting lists of inspiring women for International Women’s Day:
On #IWD2014 women past & present who inspire me: Dorothy Parker Frances Partridge Dorothy Wilding Sally Mann @caitlinmoran
— Lou Abercrombie (@LadyGrimdark) March 8, 2014
Love @LadyGrimdark‘s “inspiring women” list for #IWD2014. Mine? The Pankhursts, Hilary Mantel, Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hepburn.
— Lou Morgan (@LouMorgan) March 8, 2014
I think this is a really awesome idea, but it seemed like it would be even better to write something with room to explain why these women are inspiring and important – to let them be more than just names, passed around only by women who already know who these women are. This is especially important for those women who have not made it into our history lessons (which is many of the women who have been amazing and important throughout history). So, today I’m going to write just a little bit about some of the women who have inspired awe and hope in my heart.
I’m working today, so I’m going to be doing a series of posts, rather than one big one, throughout the day.
Let’s start back – way back.
Hatshepsut – Pharaoh of Egypt
Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC), whose name means ‘Foremost of Noble Ladies’, was Great Wife to Thutmose II, and regent to Thutmose III, but she was not content with that. She declared herself pharaoh – king.
Egypt prospered under her rule, and she erected many of Egypt’s most awe-inspiring monuments, including four obelisks, the Chapelle Rouge, and her stunning mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari. For a woman to seize power like this was unprecedented, and for millenia, her achievements were forgotten. Late in Thutmose III’s reign, the project of covering up her entire existence began. Her name was removed from her monuments. Her achievements were attributed to others. Her statues were disfigured and in some cases destroyed. But she existed. She ruled, and ruled well, and she was not content to be Great Wife or step-mother to a king. Ancient Eqypt had no word for a female ruler, so she called herself Pharaoh and insisted she be treated as King.
And millenia later we have found her hidden cartouches, we know once more to whom belonged some of Egypt’s most impressive treasures, and history remembers her again.