Use of the term 'Womxn'Many modern-day women prefer to use womxn, using the x to replace the a or e in words female or women, as many of the English gender titles include male, man or men, so to celebrate all womxn, we will be using the x convention throughout this article
Not everyone links the importance of womxn's rights to those of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you are male, femxle, non-binary or genderfluid, both plights serve the same objective and equal importance to the global community. Everyone is treated the same in an equal world, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Even though the womxn's equality movement has come a long way over the past 100 years, womxn have had it hard. It was only 150 years ago that many womxn were able to vote, and just in the last 70 years, many were able to go out in the workforce.
Barriers have been slowly breaking down, enabling womxn to become heads of state, senior politicians, business leaders, and working in all sectors and industries. Even with all of the accomplishments, there are still womxn in some parts of the world with limited rights or who are subject to horrendous practices, rules and rituals. Forced into marriage, genital mutilation, sex trafficked, prohibited from leaving home, and not having access to education, are all realities for some womxn in the 21st century. Womxn are exceptional, intelligent, multi-taskers, brave, fierce, bringers of life, to name but a few. They should not have to fight to get their fundamental human rights, so let us look at the many amazing womxn in history as we celebrate this special month.
Since the dawn of time, womxn have played a significant role, images of the creation depicted within the bible of the first man and womxn, Adam and Eve, to rulers in the ancient world. Some of the oldest and most iconic rulers can be found in modern-day Iran and Egypt. The first known and oldest recorded femxle leader was Queen Kubaba, who ruled over Sumer in Mesopotamia, part of modern-day Iraq. Queen Kubaba, who was worshipped as a goddess, is recorded as having reigned for 100 years, around 2500 to 2330 BC.
Nearly one thousand years later, the femxle ruler, Hatshepsut, became Pharaoh of Egypt and reigned for 21 years. Hatshepsut, a well-educated queen with a strong bloodline, coordinated many military campaigns against Nubia and Canaan during her reign and helped Egypt prosper.
Early at the start of the Gregorian calendar, a date system used in many western countries, you will find a fierce and brave Celtic queen who lived in modern-day Britain. Queen Boudica was the queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe around 60 A.D., who led an uprising against the invading Roman Empire. Queen Boudica's uprising ultimately failed; however, she is considered a British folk hero, given it is believed that she gave her life in defending and protecting Britain.
Though there are many significant femxle rulers and consults throughout the ancient world, many womxn also held professional or high-ranking roles within society. During an excavation, historians discovered evidence of one of the earliest known femxle physicians: Merit Ptah, who lived in Egypt around 2700 B.C. Even though the intelligence quotient (I.Q.) tests did not exist thousands of years ago, it is believed that many of history's womxn would have scored high.
Womxn such as Queen Cleopatra (68-30 B.C.), who was fluent in five languages, is believed would have had an I.Q. of around 180, and Hypatia (350-415 A.D.), the Greek astronomer, philosopher and mathematician, is estimated to have an I.Q. of 170-190. Ancient womxn have also left their mark on the physical world; of the ancient world's seven natural wonders, two were built by womxn. The Assyrian Queen Semiramis planted the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and Artemisia, Queen of Caria, built the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Since 1901, the Nobel prize has awarded 603 prizes to 962 laureates; of that number, 58 have been awarded to womxn for their ground-breaking work in areas such as science and literature. Marie Curie (1867-1934), a Polish physicist and chemist, became the first womxn to win two Nobel prizes; and who is also estimated to have an I.Q. of around 180-200. Interesting fact, of all, I.Q. Scores recorded, two womxn hold the highest (Marilyn Vos Savant and Judit Polgar).
The first independent nation to give womxn the right to vote was New Zealand in 1893; for overseas territories or dependencies, the British Pitcairn Islands gave womxn the right to vote in 1838. Almost 80 or 34% of countries gave womxn the right to vote between 1941 to 1960. The most recent government to pass a law allowing womxn to vote was Saudi Arabia in 2015. Since 1940, there have been 155 womxn appointed to the head of state or government, with 25 currently holding the role.
Moldova (which includes Transnistria) and Lithuania are the two countries with the highest number of womxn holding the most senior posts. In the world of work, it is estimated that 8% of womxn hold the Chief Executive position worldwide, with Thailand having the highest number of femxle executives at 30%, followed by China at 19%.
Many exceptional womxn have achieved a lot and have never allowed themselves to be confined or defined; one such example is the Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr. Hedy was an Austrian-born American film actress who was a huge Hollywood star in the 1940s; however, Hedy is known for more than just her beauty; she also invented a radio-controlled torpedo device which was developed to be used in preventing 'frequency hopping', which works by stopping signals from torpedoes from being jammed. Many womxn over the years have changed the world, none more than Margaret Heafield. Margaret was the Director of Software Engineering for NASA's Apollo Space program. Margaret wrote the mathematical sequence that enabled the Apollo mission to be successful.
Over there years, there have been countless womxn who were brave and fearless in the face of adversity. Those who have stood up for their rights, against injustice and, through their direct actions, changed the world around them. In 1955, a 42-year-old African-American seamstress was returning home from a long day at work when a single moment changed her life. During the 1950s, segregation was still taking place in parts of the USA; Rosa Parks, who was on a Montgomery City Bus, was required to give up her seat should a white passenger board the bus. Exhausted and tired of the injustice, Rosa refused to move, which sparked a series of riots that saw the city's laws repealed and helped strengthen the civil rights movement, which was gaining momentum at that time.
Whether ancient or modern history, there are many examples of exceptional and outstanding womxn. Many womxn have made their mark on the world, not only in breaking down the barriers but also in helping younger womxn push the boundaries for the future femxle generations to come. Gender equality is a constant challenge. A fragile movement that could see hard-fought victories changed simply because a new government or party comes to power.
Equality is about equal treatment for all. For men and womxn, straight or gay, to have the same rights and the protection under the law, to have the ability to receive an education and to earn a fair wage for their work. The choice for some men or womxn to stay at home, to look after their family is also admirable. Equality is not an ideology or a doctrine to force onto people; ultimately, it is about people's right to choose. Suppose a man or womxn wants to advance their studies, to follow a specific profession. In that case, they should be able to do so and not be restricted because of their race, religion, gender or sexuality.
In the words of the LGBTQ+ poet Audre Lorde,
'I am not free while any womxn is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.'