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It’s amazing how quickly times change, and it’s really easy to forget how much has changed over the last 50 years or so, especially when it comes to women’s issues.
As the saying goes, well-behaved women rarely make history, and looking through the pictures below, it’s hard to argue against that statement.
Take a look back at some of these images of women from yesteryear, who are taking a stand against the system in various different ways. Although they seem commonplace now, a lot of this was considered radical at the time!
1. “Do those legs go all the way up?”
This is a picture of two young women walking down the street in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1965. What’s so remarkable about this image? Well, these two would have been among the first in the city to ever wear miniskirts. Just look at the queue of people at the bus stop gawping at them! You can tell they’d never seen this much leg in public before.
This striking lady is Maud Wagner, who is widely regarded as the first ever female tattooist. This picture was taken in 1907. As you can see, Maud herself was also covered from head to toe in tattoos – this was unheard of at the time, especially for a woman. Go Maud!
3. Run like a girl
As you might be able to tell, this is a photograph taken from the Boston marathon. The contention is that, when this picture was taken in 1967, women were not allowed to run in this race, for whatever reason. Amazingly, it wasn’t until 5 years after this that women were allowed to compete. I guess the boys were scared of the competition!
4. A righteous cause
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The fact that women wanted an equal say in the way that they were governed was seen as a radical position until as recently as the 1960s. This picture was taken in 1906. We’ve come a long way, girls, and we’re still soproud of you.
5. A victim of moral panic
The woman in this picture is Annette Kellerman, a professional swimmer, film actress, and writer, who poses here in a swimsuit.
Amazingly, this photo shoot caused her to be arrested and charged with indecent behaviour in 1907. It’s literally the most modest and conservative swimsuit I can imagine.
6. Striving for a better future
The woman at the centre of this photo is Elizabeth Eckford. She was one of the first group of African-Americans who turned up to take mixed-race classes at school, after the US Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal and unconstitutional to segregate pupils based on race.
As you can see from others in the photograph, she received a lot of abuse from cruel onlookers. It’s almost impossible to imagine what these brave people went through when attitudes around race were still this bad.
7. Serving up some equality
This is Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player who held the record for most wins at Wimbledon, and after her playing career came to an end, she stayed involved with tennis, and is seen as the founder of the equality movement between players in the men’s game and the women’s game. As you can imagine, she had more than a few critics.
8. Zooming past the boys
This is Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis, a female racing driver, which was almost unheard of at the time. She had a successful career, and was the first female driver to compete in Formula One.
9. Squad goals
This is Senda Berenson, the founder of women’s basketball, and her team. She also ended up modifying the rules to men’s basketball, which were set in place in 1891. A real trailblazer in the world of sport.
10. Beauty and brains
This is Heddy Lamar, an American film actress and inventor. As you can see, she was incredibly beautiful, but also surpassed everyone’s expectations by being one of the finest scientific minds of the time. It’s thanks to her that we now have cellular communication.