Revision is hard. It can seem long, endless, and simply a monster that can consume all your time. So, it’s natural when revising, that you might end up feeling a little lack in motivation. We hear you. You’re looking for something to restore your inspiration, and wondering where it could be? Well, don’t panic. At TopperQ we love strong women. So, we’ve thrown together three of our favourites, to throw a little coal in your revision fire.
Malala is the youngest person ever to have won a Nobel Peace Prize, at the tender age of 17. That’s pretty much the only thing tender about Malala though, who’s spirit and strength in her advocacy for human rights is mind-blowingly inspirational.
Malala’s story is an incredible one. She’s born to proud parents in 1997, who are determined to offer their daughter every opportunity a boy would have. Malala has a happy childhood, and loves to read; but her education is soon to take a hit. In 2007 her district is taken over by the Taliban. They restrict much of society, and tell girls they cannot attend school. In the last days before her school is set to close, Malala writes a blog for the BBC (under a pen name, to protect her identity) which details her thoughts in the run up to the close of the school.
The blog continues till 2009, when Malala and her family flee her district due to growing tension. The New York times picks up on Malala’s BBC blog, and makes a documentary about her fight to protect the education of the girls in her district. This brings Malala widespread recognition. She fears retaliation from the Taliban, but continues to campaign for the rights of the girls in her district.
The next year, due to her high profile, Malala becomes a Taliban target. A gunman boards her school bus, asks for her by name, and shoots her in the face. Luckily, Malala survives, and eventually stabilizes enough for her to be moved to a hospital in the UK, where she is finally safe.
The reaction to Malala’s attempted murder is widespread. She makes a full recovery and begins to meet with various world leaders, and speaks at many a summit and unions. She also writes a book about her experiences, which experts consider second only to Anne Frank’s diary.
Josephine Baker was the first person of colour to become a world-wide entertainer. She began her performance life as a burlesque dancer in a chorus line, where she was frequent in embodying the comic-role of ‘the dancer who could not remember how to dance’. Baker was quick to tire of American venues, and their different treatment of her due to her race. When she toured Europe, she found that in Paris lied liberation; and broke her US contract to stay in the city.
Famous for her habit of taking to a dance almost-naked, she began to perform in a fake banana skirt. This would become synonymous with her image for years to come. Baker found fame in France due to the Art Deco fascination with non-western forms of art, and could often be seen on stage performing with her pet Cheetah, Chiquita.
During the war, she was able to gather as much information as she could from officials she met at parties, and would deliver it back to French intelligence. Her performances enabled her to move about Europe freely, and while she did so, she carried information for transmission to England about airfields, harbors and German troop concentrations. This information would often be written in invisible ink on the back of her lyric sheets!
Later, using her health as a reason, Baker made a tour of the French colonies of north Africa, where she would pin notes with information inside her underwear, safe in the knowledge that her celebrity status would allow her to skip the strip-search.
Nancy Wake was a secret agent during the second world war. She earnt herself the nickname “the white mouse” by the French Gestapo, due to the fact that she seemed impossible to catch. Wake found motivation to join the resistance after she saw the brutal Nazi treatment of the Jews, during her work as a European correspondent for Hearst newspaper.
Wake left France with force in 1940, as a price of five million francs was put on her head. When she finally was able to reach Britain, she would join the Special Operations Executive, and train in many different programs. She was quick to become known as a very good and fast shot, as well as a great beauty. She was also infamous for her smart mouth. On one occasion, after she made her descent by parachute into Auvergne, she was caught in the trees. When she was found, the French Captain was heard to remark “I hope all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year”. Wake responded “Don’t give me that French sh*t.”
Another anecdote sees Wake kill a SS sentry with her bare hands, in a bid to prevent him in his attempts to raise the alarm. Wake, when a journalist was bold enough to ask about this, was to convey a sense of surprise. “They’d taught this judo-chop stuff with the flat of the hand at SOE, and I practised away at it. But this was the only time I used it - whack - and it killed him all right. I was really surprised.”
Got another? Let us know your favourite inspirational women from history. Then if you’re feeling inspired, try TopperQ, the new revision App. View bite-sized chunks, take practice exams, and aid yourself in ultimate exam excellence.