Saturday, 13 November 2010


The release from house arrest (for now) of the incredible Burmese matriot, Aung San Suu Kyi, leads me to tell you of other “matriots” whose biographies I have chosen to read in recent months.

The word “matriot” may not be in any dictionary but I have created it to identify incredible women who have served humanity in courageous, wise and skilful ways.

I have recently read biographies of the following:

1.       Eleanor of Aquitaine 1122-1204 – a powerful woman in an age when men ruled.

2.      Queen Elizabeth I of England  1533-1603 – skilful, cunning and wise monarch – known as “Gloriana”; the “Virgin Queen”  (for whom the American State of Virginia is named); and “Good Queen Bess”

3.      Anne Hutchinson of Boston 1591-1643 - she dared to be a religious teacher and “took on” the male leadership of Church and State in Boston.

4.      Queen Anne of Great Britain 1665-1714.  The last of the Stuart Monarchs; The very first Monarch of the United Kingdoms of Scotland and England; A staunch supporter of the Church of England.

5.      Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815-1902. Brilliant strategist for the rights of women.

6.      Ida Tarbell 1857-1944.  The first “investigative journalist” whose painstaking and accurate reporting led to the break-up of John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust monopoly. 

7.      Gertrude Bell 1868-1926. Courageous explorer and expert on Mesopotamia. If only the “Bullshit Brothers” (Pres. George W Bush and P.M. Tony Blair) had followed her wisdom before the recent ill-fated adventurism in Iraq.

    8. Dorothy Parker 1893-1967.  Known to most as “not much more than a great wit”.  In fact she was a tireless advocate for human rights and justice.

Now I have started to read a biography of Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796).

I need to know about these women lest I fall into the deceitful trap of understanding history as only  a male affair.

Please send me your suggestions for further reading about the women who have changed and shaped our world.

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