International Women’s Day: #ladymafia and @AlltheWomen

While we at Acro Collective believe that every day is a day for celebrating women’s accomplishments, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves to tell the women around us that we love and admire them. It’s also a chance to reassert the amazing achievements by women in history, which all too often fall through the cracks.

Today, we want to highlight @AlltheWomen, an instagram account dedicated to showcasing the beloved, celebrated, and often forgotten women of history. This feed is chock full of badass babes and is a great addition to our #ladymafia. Check out a couple of our favorite stories below (with writing by @AlltheWomen). Then, read on for a brief chat with @AlltheWomen founder Pam.


PauliMurray

Dr. Pauli Murray graduated top of her law school class in 1944, despite being the only woman in her cohort. She was one of the first lawyers to argue that the Equal Protection Clause on racial discrimination should apply to gender discrimination. After Harvard denied her based on her gender, she went to Yale and became the first black person to earn a JSD. SC Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg credits Murray’s work as the driver behind one of her briefs, while the NAACP borrowed from her approach and arguments for Brown v. Board – she was a key strategist behind Brown v. Board! Why didn’t she make the history textbook cut?! Brittney Cooper hits the nail on the head: “The civil rights struggle demanded respectable performances” which “meant being educated, heterosexual, married and Christian…Murray’s nonconforming identity disrupted the dictates of respectability, making it easier to erase her five decades of important intellectual and political contributions from our broader narrative of civil rights.”


AdaLovelace

Let’s celebrate this trailblazer: Ada Lovelace. She wrote the first computer program in 1842, more than a century before the general-purpose computer was even created. Ada’s mom was a #girlboss too. After Ada’s dad (famous poet Lord Byron!) abandonded them for a life of poetry and decadence, Isabella, Ada’s mother, made sure she received an education in mathematics and logic. Ada’s love for mathematics later evolved into an intellectual obsession with primitive computer machines. So she wrote instructions for one of those machines, her “notes” are now considered to be the first computer program. Her vision was so ahead of the times she focused on the greater possibilities of computers beyond mere number-crunching (which is something the inventor of that [pre-]computer himself, Charles Babbage, failed to see at the time).


StevieNicks

Stevie Nicks, The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll –Rolling Stone (1981)

In the early 70’s, Stevie was writing and recording with her then-boyfriend. Their record label dropped them after 2 album flops. On a trip to Aspen, Stevie was looking over the Rocky Mountains from someone’s living room, unsure about whether to keep fighting to make it as an artist or go back to school. “I realized that everything could tumble. And when you’re in Colorado and you’re surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche.” 3 months later, Mick Fleetwood called them and Fleetwood Mac was formed. Stevie has produced a whopping 40 top-50 hits (with the band and individually) and won 8 grammies on her own.
P.S. At 5’1, Stevie felt absurd next to Mick on stage (he’s 6’6). So 6 inch platform boots became part of her staple look “even after they went out of style.”



Acro Collective: 
What’s the origin story for this account and your interest in the trailblazing women of history?

AlltheWomen: Whenever I read stories about badass women, I can’t help but think that most people out there don’t know about them. History has a selective memory. Pauli Murray is the perfect example of that; she was arrested for refusing to sit in the back of a bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did the same thing. That doesn’t detract from Rosa Parks’ own feat 15 years later, but it does beg the question about what kids are learning everyday in history class. Rosa Parks is perhaps the single most recognized woman in history books – I honestly can’t think of another woman’s story that was visited and revisited as much in school. But we can spend hours talking about men because we learned about so many of them ad nauseam.
I found out about Ada Lovelace while reading “The Innovators” by Walter Isaacson. He opens with an in-depth look at Ada’s trailblazing life (praise him). I couldn’t believe every little girl didn’t know about her. And I wanted to change that (or try). The platform has been a way for me to start putting some of these stories out there. It would be great to see my social media project evolve into something greater over time. I want the Pauli Murrays, Ada Lovelaces, and Gloria Steinems of history to emerge from the shadows and into history lessons.

Acro Collective
: How do you go about finding new subjects and stories?

AlltheWomen: 
I don’t have a method yet. I have a knack for surfing the internet and seeing what I stumble upon. So far, this has yielded some great ones. To put the spontaneity of my account into context, I’ll tell you about how I found out Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston marathon. I had actually initially intended to post about Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run Boston registered. I had seen another awesome Instagram account [Stone Fox Bride] post about Kathrine. They had posted an inspiring picture of her getting held back by race officials who were trying to prevent her from continuing the race. She kept running with her coach and finished the race. While researching Kathrine, though, I was fixated on the phrase that came after the first woman to run Boston: “as a numbered entry.” I thought, so who ran it before Kathrine without a number?! That’s how I came upon Bobbi Gibb. It turns out Bobbi Gibb is less well-known because she has less of a media personality and has been more under-the-radar. But her story was amazing! She was the first woman to run Boston in 1966. And she did it entirely alone. She made friends along the way once she started running but she had no officially coach or running buddy.
Outside of my meandering research (non-)method, my main resources are: 1) kickass friends who provide leads and 2) the #FilmHerStory hashtag from Twitter. Other people seem to be as discontent as I am about the lack of women in mainstream outlets, so a movement has started to get women featured in more major films. The statistics about the overwhelming male representation in films are staggering. I hope this hashtag revolution changes that.

Acro Collective:
 Are there any upcoming subjects you’re particularly excited about?

AlltheWomen: 
The Night Witches. They are a little controversial and that’s why I’m excited. Look them up to find out why.

Are you as inspired as we are by AlltheWomen? Share your favorite women from history and leave a comment below! 

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