A student of history would be forgiven for thinking that for the vast majority of the course of world history the earth was populated almost entirely by men. In any list of the greatest leaders, scientists, explorers, entrepreneurs, etc nearly all of them are men.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, many great women have been rather successfully written out of history. My own experience of undertaking research on the history of women in the Labour Party has demonstrated this all too clearly – while women were at the forefront of change and pioneering action, the men were the ones mentioned in the history books.
The second is that the work women have often done has been of the kind that is largely invisible, but without which the world would not exist as we know it. I have always liked George Eliot’s (one of the greatest female writers in the English language but condemned forever to be remembered as a man) ending to Middlemarch:
“the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs”
For this reason I am delighted to have discovered that this October One World Action will be holding an event to celebrate the achievements of the unseen powerful women who change the world, called “One Hundred Women”.
These hundred women’s actions have been of great benefit to the world within their chosen spheres, be they entrepreneurs, or involved in media and the arts, human rights, public services, or business. The full list can be accessed here.
So, for what I am sure will be an excellent night where women who really have made a difference will be honoured, go to The King’s Fund, 11 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0AN at 6.30pm on Thursday 27th October.