Wonder Woman - Women the children have chosen to learn about

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Frida Kahlo

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, pain and passion, and bold, vibrant colors. She is celebrated in Mexico for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and by feminists for her depiction of the female experience and form. 

Kahlo, who suffered from polio as a child, nearly died in a bus accident as a teenager. She suffered multiple fractures of her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, broken foot and dislocated shoulder. She began to focus heavily on painting while recovering in a body cast. In her lifetime, she had 30 operations. 

Life experience is a common theme in Kahlo's approximately 200 paintings, sketches and drawings. Her physical and emotional pain are depicted starkly on canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, who she married twice. Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits. 

External Link Icon www.fridakahlo.org
External Link Icon BBC Radio Four - 13 things you didn't know about Frida Kahlo

Marie Curie

Born Maria Sklodowska on 7 November 1867 in Warsaw, Poland, she was the youngest of five children of poor school teachers.

After her mother died and her father could no longer support her she became a governess, reading and studying in her own time to quench her thirst for knowledge. She never lost this passion.

To become a teacher – the only alternative which would allow her to be independent – was never a possibility because a lack of money prevented her from a formal higher education. However, when her sister offered her lodgings in Paris with a view to going to university, she grasped the opportunity and moved to France in 1891.

She immediately entered Sorbonne University in Paris where she read physics and mathematics – she had naturally discovered a love of the subjects through her insatiable appetite for learning.

It was in Paris, in 1894, that she met Pierre Curie – a scientist working in the city – and who she married a year later. It was also around this time that she adopted the French spelling of her name – Marie.   The Curies became research workers at the School of Chemistry and Physics in Paris and there they began their pioneering work into invisible rays given off by uranium – a new phenomenon which had recently been discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.

In 1903 Marie and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with Henri Becquerel for their combined, though separate, work on radioactivity.  Her determination and remarkable endeavours led to a second Nobel Prize in 1911, this time in chemistry for creating a means of measuring radioactivity. Not long after, Sorbonne built the first radium institute with two laboratories; one for study of radioactivity under Marie Curie's direction, and the other for biological research into the treatment of cancer.  

During the First World War, Marie Curie worked to develop small, mobile X-ray units that could be used to diagnose injuries near the battlefront. As Director of the Red Cross Radiological Service, she toured Paris, asking for money, supplies and vehicles which could be converted.

In October 1914, the first machines, known as "Petits Curies", were ready, and Marie set off to the front. She worked with her daughter Irene, then aged 17, at casualty clearing stations close to the front line, X-raying wounded men to locate fractures, bullets and shrapnel.

External Link Icon BBC History - Marie Curie (1867 - 1934)
External Link Icon BBC Two - Icons - Marie Curie

Amelia Earheart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviator who set many flying records and championed the advancement of women in aviation. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During a flight to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific in July 1937. Her plane wreckage was never found, and she was officially declared lost at sea. Her disappearance remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century.

External Link Icon www.ameliaearhart.com
External Link Icon BBC World Service - The Forum - A very modern heroine

Malala Yousefzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education advocate who, at the age of 17, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Born on July 12, 1997, Yousafzai became an advocate for girls' education when she herself was still a child, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. In 2013, she gave a speech to the United Nations and published her first book, I Am Malala. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

External Link Icon www.malala.org - Malala's Story