5 inspiring Women! The artist, the doctor, the civil liberties campaigner, the teacher and her pupil.

©2012-Cathy Read Art - Graffiti Wall at Art in Woodstock - Approx 16ft x 3 ft

Inspiring Women are everywhere but finding them can be hard?

Like all artists, I often feel the need for inspiration. For creative ideas to help me produce the next artwork.

But I also need people who’ll inspire me to do something extraordinary!

These people aren’t all artists. But what inspires me about them is their determination to make a difference. To change things.

There are many men who are classed as influential. But the number of women seems far fewer. That is untrue, there are just many unsung heroines. The emphasis being unsung!

Like most women, I relate better to the achievements of other women.

I’m not being sexist but we all identify with people like ourselves. It’s natural, they seem to have more clout. As a teenager I grew up in an environment where women seemed to aspire no higher than marriage and family.

Not that these are not noble and valuable goals. But I knew there was more I wanted to aspire to.

I want to remember women who’ve influenced and inspired me. Women who opened my eyes to the possibility that there is more to life.

Maybe they will inspire you as well.

Artemisia Gentileschi

In an era where women were usually the subjects of Art. Artemisia broke the mould. She didn’t just paint, she dominated in an era of extreme sexual prejudice.

She overcame deliberate attempts to discredit her and destroy her (most notably the public humiliation she faced at the trial of the man who raped her).

Artemesia was a successful artist with an impressive professional reputation. Despite attempts to suppress her career. Her work continues to be regarded amongst the best of her era. She held her own amongst men.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

The first British Woman to become a doctor and a pioneer of women’s health issues. I remember feeling appalled when reading about her struggles. How women were dying of treatable illnesses because their husbands refused to let them be seen by male doctors. That the medical establishment deliberately blocked opportunities for Women to train in medicine by changing entry requirements!

I can’t help but wonder what other advancements were delayed by this extreme prejudice! And the example that no matter the obstacles the determined will always find a way around them!

Rosa Parks

Reportedly an ordinary woman going about her daily routine who did something extraordinary! But she was more than ordinary. She was educated, in an era when only around 7% of  All African Americans were educated.

She succeeded in registering for the vote, on her 3rd attempt! She dared to challenge the accepted practices of racial prejudice. And was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

She refused to vacate her seat in favour of a white man when ordered to do so by the bus driver. A simple act of defiance which led to her arrest. Later sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott a significant event in the road to racial equality in the USA.


Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller

I can’t really separate these 2 women, their lives are so intertwined.

Watching a film documentary about them years ago. I was amazed by the story of the virtually blind teacher battling with the uncontrollable, deaf, blind child.

By virtue of Anne’s persistence and Helen’s brilliance they were able to overcome the communication barrier which unlocked the potential of a frustrated child.

Helen’s subsequent achievements surpassed the educational heights attained by a majority of more advantaged individuals.

I know there are more inspiring women Mother Teresa, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou.

the list goes on. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

I feel a series of inspirational Women Artists post is due.

After reading of the Emily Temple-Wood who is actively promoting historical female scientists by creating a new Wikipedia entry for a “forgotten” female scientist every time she receives a troll comment. I’m inspired to share some posts about inspiring artists.

I have some ideas to start with, but do you have any suggestions?

Especially artist’s who have paved the way for women. Who’s inspired you? They can be historic or contemporary but they must be extraordinary.

Who do we need to learn about?



*This post was originally post in 2011




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5 Replies to “5 inspiring Women! The artist, the doctor, the civil liberties campaigner, the teacher and her pupil.”

  1. Very thought provoking article, but I need to think before I can add anyone to the list.

    1. Do have a think, I’d love to know who you come up with! No pressure!

  2. An inspiring post. It’s so good to remember these women and see pics because I do tend to forget them. More men continue to be celebrated and too often, alas, men get remembered for waging wars… Here via artbiz.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I agree with you about the men, and yet there are many, many great women as well! Cathy

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