Today on International Women’s Day (the best day of the year!) The Mix – Up is celebrating three forgotten women who have achieved amazing things in the face of adversity.
Anna Julia Cooper
Anna Julia Cooper, the child of a slave and a white slave-owner, fiercely fought for the equality of women of all races in the US since the late 1800’s.
From a young age she was shutting down society’s expectations by petitioning to study ‘boys’ subjects at school, going on to become president of Freinghuysen University, and the fourth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D
In 1892 Cooper founded the Colored Women’s League of Washington with Harriet Tubman and others to protect the rights of African-American women and children, secure civil/political rights, raise living standards and improve interracial relations.
Cooper gave this heart-felt speech a year later at the World’s Congress of Representative Women:
“The colored woman feels that woman’s cause is one and universal; and that not till the image of God, whether in parian or ebony, is sacred and inviolable; not till race, color, sex, and condition are seen as the accidents, and not the substance of life; not till the universal title of humanity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is conceded to be inalienable to all; not till then is woman’s lesson taught and woman’s cause won—not the white woman’s, nor the black woman’s, not the red woman’s, but the cause of every man and of every woman who has writhed silently under a mighty wrong.”
Soong Ching-ling, also known as the ‘Mother of China’ was technically the very first female president/prime minister ever. Born in 1893, her and sisters were the very first Chinese girls to be educated in the US. At 18 Ching-ling protested against the treatment of women in China, fighting for liberty and equality.
Breaking out of the tradition of women staying at home once they had married, she became her politician husband Sum Yat-sen’s colleague.
Back then women were meant to be invisible; but Ching-ling accompanied her husband’s social gatherings as China’s very first ‘First Lady’.
Ching-ling founded the Women’s Political Training School in 1927 to help other women in to political careers. In 1949 the headstrong politician created the All – China Women’s Federation which still leads the women’s movement in China today.
Shortly before her death in 1981 Ching-ling was given the title of Honorary President of China.
Sophia Duleep Singh
Sophia Duleep Singh was born in Norfolk in 1876 to German and Ethiopian mother Bamba Müller and Indian king, Maharaja Duleep Singh.
Singh devoted her life to securing women’s rights in England, becoming a prominent member of the suffragette movement. Alongside the better known suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst and Elizabeth Anderson, Singh took part in the first ‘Black Friday’ protest outside the House of Commons.
As a member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, Singh was arrested countless times for refusing to pay tax. Rightly so, the suffragette protested that women shouldn’t have to pay taxes when they don’t have the power to choose how their money is even used.
The courts took away many of Singh’s belongings to pay for the tax by selling them in auctions, but the suffragettes fooled the authorities by buying them back for her. HA.
Not only did she advocate for women’s rights, she also helped wounded Indian soldiers in Britain during WWI.