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Pioneering Females: A Continuous List

You may have seen our Iconic Women spotlight series on our social media channels, all throughout Women’s History Month. We want to carry this on within our articles, so today we’re featuring some fantastic females. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and we will keep adding to it.

Alison Bechdel - The Creator of the Bechdel Test

You may have studied Alison Bechdel at school if you studied Media or Film Studies. She created the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test is a framework that can be used to ultimately conclude how women are represented and perceived in films. Below is the criteria for the Bechdel Test:

The film has to have at least two [named] women in it who

1. Who talk to each other...

2. About something besides a man

It is surprising that in 2023, some films do not fulfil this criteria. The is a fantastic and regularly updated resource to follow how Bechdel’s framework is applied to recently released films. For a theory that was created in 1985, it still allows us to contemplate, contest and challenge why films do not pass this test, and what that means for wider society. Feminist Frequency also provide an excellent video introduction to the Bechdel Test.

Dorothy Hodgkin – Built the First Insulin Model

After gaining a PhD at Cambridge, Dorothy built the first model of the insulin molecule. She was the third woman to have won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Hodgkin forged the path for female scientists in an era where women were a small minority in the scientific community.

The Royal Society provide more information about Hodgkin if you would like to know more. We love this quote from their video: ‘She solved problems through dialogue, not confrontation.’ (Style of communication is key!)

Bernardine Evaristo - Booker Prize Winner and Theatre Pioneer

Most well-known for her Booker Prize winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, Evaristo also helped to set up the Theatre of Black Women in 1982. This pioneering theatre group aimed to highlight the lack of space black women had to present their identities in the theatre. The group had many successful performances. Jackie Kay’s Chiaroscuro was first performed by this group and was performed as late as 2019 at the Bush Theatre.

Radia Perlman - Creator of The Spanning Protocol

Scientists and computer programmers were working to create the internet we take for granted today, but naturally they ran into some issues. Radia Perlam invented The Spanning Tree Protocol, which helped to forge connections between links in the background of the working internet. The processes behind this protocol are still in place today. Perlman was named as one of the 20 most influential people in IT by the Data Communications Magazine.

Let us know through our social media channels who some of your favourite female role models are. Girls in Charge was founded in 2018 by women who wanted to make a change, so we love reflecting on trailblazing women all year round!


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