Something seems to be missing…
There is little or no reference to successful women in the history books. Interestingly enough few seem to be celebrated with the same importance as their male contemporaries, yet there are a number that should be remembered.
Fallingwater, the house that floats over a waterfall is one of his most famous designs, Frank Lloyd Wright is synonymous with contemporary architecture. Monet’s Water Lilies still attracts a crowd, people come from around the world to see this masterpiece. This year is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven birth and his music still sells out concert halls. Cecil B. DeMille is often regarded as one of the pioneer directors of cinema with many of his works referenced as influences for modern filmmakers. The likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton are still celebrated politicians years after their deaths. All these individuals are celebrated men,
Zaha Hahdid was an incredible female architect, born in Baghdad, studied architecture in London, she was known as the “Queen of the curve” or to quote the Guardian, [Hahdid] liberated architectural geometry giving it a whole new expressive identity.
Some of Hahdid’s recognizable works including the Aquatics Center for the 2012 Olympics, the Beijing International Airport and the stunning Guangzhou Opera House.
Louise Bourgeois was an avant-garde artist who specialized in sculpture that was heavily influenced by the traumatic psychological events from her childhood. Her works have often been described as highly personal thematic content involving the unconscious, sexual desire and the body.
Bourgeois is often called the most successful female artists of the 20th century and her large scale sculptures and art installations are still scattered around the globe in public spaces to be enjoyed.
The name Felix Mendelssohn should sounds familiar due to his success as a composer, but he had a sister who was equally as successful. Fanny Mendelssohn composed over 460 pieces of music with some of them being published under her brother’s name. She is often recognized by her unique composition style that is sometimes called Songs without Words, some historians say her genre influenced her brother’s successful compositions.
Maria P. Williams was an accomplished producer, writer and actor who created her own film in 1923 called, The Flames of Wrath. Williams is often credited as the first woman of color to be a successful film producer. Coincidentally the film is a silent crime drama that was shot entirely in Kansas City.
Victoria Woodhull is remembered as the leader of the women’s suffrage movement, but she is also recognized as the first woman to run for the President of the United States. Her running mate and nomination for Vice President was black abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass. Two days before the election she was arrested with her husband with the charge of “publishing an obscene newspaper”, Woodhull received no votes in the election of 1872. The charges were eventually dropped and Woodhull tried in 1884 and 1892 to gain the nomination for presidency, but was unsuccessful in both attempts.
There have been some incredible successful and influential women over the last two centuries. Some of of these women equally as successful as their male contemporaries. As with most minorities without strong voice or an equal platform, their success stories will disappear into history, to be forgotten.
As many of us have some free time due to the Covid-19 lockdown, do some research, buy a second hand book and learn about some of these amazing women and their stories. So many incredible people that need to be remembered.