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.
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.