Female Geek Heroes

Boudica and Her Daughters statue near Westminster Pier, London, commissioned by Prince Albert and executed by Thomas Thornycroft.
© Copyright Oxyman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Sally Ride, the first US woman to go in to space, died at the end of July this year after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61. Her name being in the news reminded about why I started this blog. In part it was to speak up for those of us women who appreciate things that are supposed to be the interest of men. Space travel, science, math, science fiction, video games, fantasy books, all these are things women and girls aren’t supposed to like. But yet, here we are. I thought I would highlight a few women who have inspired the rest of us throughout history.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride was an astronaut, the first woman in space. NASA, from its inception, was a boys club. I don’t doubt that The Right Stuff was an exaggeration at all. Yet she broke the barrier, made it in, and made it to space.

Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree.

Dian Fossey

An American zoologist who studied gorillas in the jungles of Africa. She was famously portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the movie, Gorillas in the Mist. Sadly, she was murdered in 1985, possibly by poachers she tried to protect the gorillas from. The case remains open.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is a British scientist, considered by most to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.

Boudica, Queen of the Iceni

There’s several different spellings of Boudica’s name, but her history is this: In the mid 1st century A.D. Queen Boudica lead an uprising against the Roman empire. Unfortunately, she lost, but her memory lives on to inspire other women to fight on even when the odds are against you.

Ada Byron

Daughter of the poet Lord Byron and born in the early 19th century, Ada was the world’s first computer programmer. No, really.

Felicia Day

The geek woman, though in pop culture. Created, writes, and stars in the web series The Guild, and created her own Geek video channel, Geek & Sundry. Now, I am by no means saying that Felicia Day’s accomplishments are the same as the other women on this list. Yes it’s awesome that she’s done well for herself, but as awesome as that is, she’s not curing cancer, and I’m sure even she would agree on that count.

There are many, many other women out there that inspire the rest of us every day. It’s important to remember that there are many sources of inspiration and that we should continue to encourage women and girls to not let anyone tell them they can’t do something just because of their chromosomes.

What woman, living or dead, inspires you?