Words by Emily Nardini
It’s Women’s History Month! To start the month off here at UV, we wanted to know who were the first females to work in a ‘traditionally male field’ or even just ‘breaking the gender barrier’ and the struggles they’ve faced
Alma Dea Morani
I found Alma on Allure’s YouTube Channel ‘100 Years of Plastic Surgery’ (any ‘100 Years of…’ YouTube vids are always interesting). She was widely accepted as being the first female plastic surgeon in the United States. Politically, Morani was active in speaking out in favour of women’s rights. Morani pushed for women to be able to enter the field of medicine as easily as men. The Alma Dea Morani M.D., Renaissance Women Award was created in her name in 2000 to honour women physicians or scientists who made compelling contributions apart from medicine, as well as, facilitating the practice and competency of medicine. You go Alma!
In 2001, Halle was the African American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress (for Monster’s Ball). I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve watched Monster’s Ball, but what I will say is it was her speech when accepting this award that spoke volumes to me. “This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll,” she said. “It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m so honoured. I’m so honoured.” The feminist energy was pouring out of her soul. My favourite Halle Berry film is Dorothy Dandridge, she perfectly fitted Dorothy’s shoes for that role (watch the film for free on YouTube). It is crazy to think it took until 2001 for a black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Halle is also known for being the first African American Miss World entrant in 1986 where she finished sixth and extremely into activism. Jay-Z said it best when he rapped “don’t go Eric Benet.” Being one of the most popular 00’s actress, can’t blame him. Love me some Berry!
Serena is the winner of 23 Major singles titles – Open Era record. She has been playing professional tennis since 1995, has won 72 singles titles, 23 doubles titles and 4 Olympic gold medals. However on her sportswomen journey, she has had to endure match controversies. Most notably, her black skin-tight catsuit getting banned by the French Tennis Federation (so she wore her acclaimed black tu-tu instead) and her overall treatment of being a woman on the court. She has shown us repeatedly that sport has no boundaries. Having a feature in Beyoncé’s Lemonade shows us all what we’re dealing with…Williams, you Queen!
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them”