You’ve heard of Simon Bolivar, but have you heard of the bold Manuelita Saenz? Diana Burbano tells the story of this South American revolutionary, spy and soldier who fought to free her country from colonial power. An illegitimate mixed-race child raised by radical nuns, Manuelita refused to be oppressed by customs of the day, living life on her own terms. Fierce, romantic, cunning, unconstrained. A wild woman.
Gwen Miller tells the story of “poetical scientist” and all around cool gal Ada Lovelace, creator of the first computer algorithm… in the 1840’s! Ada was the only person of her day to fully grasp the possibilities for computers, or what were called then “analytical engines.” She realized they could be used not only for crunching numbers, but for music, images, communication… while others only saw limits, this young woman saw the future because of her open and curious mind. Meet the remarkable Ada Lovelace.
Zehra Fazal tells the story of a band of Wellesley seniors who secretly became codebreakers in WWII, credited with shortening the war by at least a year. When asked what they were doing in the Department of Defense they were told to say, “Sharpening pencils and emptying trash cans.” No one doubted it. Check out this clandestine tale about these brilliant, brave young women.
Sonia Sanchez laid down the cadence that evolved into poetry slams and Hamilton, influencing multiple generations. Reading her poetry like jazz, she inhabited the work and set a style that still resonates. She also pioneered teaching Black Studies at white universities and was the first woman in America to teach Black Women Studies at the university level. This is Baddddd Sonia Sanchez and you will want to hear actor Joyce Guy tell you her story.
Smarita Sengupta, a quiet, business-minded young woman from India decided to do something about sex trafficking and created Destiny Foundation/Reflection. Tanya Monsef Bunger, Board Chair for Global Women’s Leadership Network, tells the story of her friend Smarita’s courage and persistence in the face of great odds, as well as the brilliance of Smarita’s economic ideas about what to do to bring women out of this modern-day slavery.
“Courage is contagious.” TED star Brené Brown has spent decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, giving us insight to a healthier, more joyful life. Screenwriter Brittany Ashley takes us on her own personal journey learning from Brené.
Meet serpentine dancer Loie Fuller! She pioneered modern dance using fabric, cutting-edge lighting technology and her own genius to revolutionize dance. Choreographer Deb Slater tells us about Loie’s lasting impact.
The shocking story of Phoolan Devi, the Bandit Queen, who started as an abused child bride, became a notorious criminal fugitive and eventually was elected to India’s Parliament. Though she was assassinated in 2001 the legend of the Bandit Queen lives on. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Neetu Badhan-Smith, tells the story of this powerful female avenger. Be advised, video includes mention of sexual assault.
Madam C.J. Walker was born into slavery as Sarah Breedlove, but became the first self-made female millionaire in the US, creating a beauty empire that helped African-American women celebrate their natural beauty. Using her influence to push for anti-lynching laws before the Civil Rights Movement, she also became a model entrepreneur. Listen to writer Wendy Calhoun tell Madam C.J.’s story.
This month we’re proud to offer this interview with the beautiful and brilliant poet Jane Hirshfield. I met Jane through the Philosophical Club in San Francisco, a meeting place for artists and scientists convened by Lucia Jacobs (both artist and scientist). I am always impressed with Jane’s comments at these gatherings— both scholarly and humanist, an irresistible combination. I know you will enjoy her insightful interview and I hope it will inspire you to read Jane’s work as well as that of her subject, Ono no Komachi. We have so much to learn from the women who came before us. From Komachi: Wash the cheater’s book and his lies will fade away…
Award-winning poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield tells us about ancient Japanese poet Ono no Komachi, a woman whose work feels so contemporary that it speaks to Jane as if it is her own experience. Komachi is one of the very few women in the Japanese Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry. She wrote brilliantly with a mastery of language that made her a legend in her own time… and for the next two millennia. Jane Hirshfield brings to life the work of this astonishing woman.