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This conversation is closed.


I'd like people to share about the extraordinary women through out history, any facts, anecdotes; so we can all get to know a little more about them and maybe inspire and motivate the extraordinary women yet to come.


Closing Statement from Helena Ripoll Hazell

Thank you to you all for your contributions to this conversation. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the extraordinary women who have come forward.

I look forward to enganging with you all in future conversations.

Best wishes,


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    Jul 9 2011: A woman who has inspired me because of her courage in tackling a taboo topic in order to bring solace to many is Elizabeth Kubler Ross. She brought the issues of grief into the mainstream for study and discussion.

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      Jul 11 2011: Hi Debra,
      I first came across Dr. Kubler Ross when watching the movie 'All that Jazz' many years ago. I don't know if you have ever watched it but there is this comedian, who appears through out the movie, that does a sketch on her model of coping with dying. I have to admit, I find it rather funny, however I still have great respect for her work.
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    Jul 18 2011: Tracy Chapman
    Singer-songwriter, musician and activist.

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    Jul 12 2011: Here is the list of all the women who have been acknowledged:

    PART 1

    1.Harriet Tubman
    2.Minnie Vautrin
    3.Lucy Stone
    4.Fanny Kemble
    5.Irena Sendler
    6.Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz
    7.Fatima Al Zahra
    8.Aisha bint Abu Bakr
    9.Lisa Randall
    10.Maria Goeppert Mayer
    11.Marie Curie
    12.Ada E. Yonath
    13.Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
    14.Irène Joliot-Curie
    15.Elizabeth H. Blackburn
    16.Carol W. Greider
    17.Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
    18.Linda B. Buck
    19.Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
    20.Gertrude B. Elion
    21.Rita Levi-Montalcini
    22.Barbara McClintock
    23.Rosalyn Yalow
    24.Gerty Cori
    25.Herta Müller
    26.Doris Lessing
    27.Elfriede Jelinek
    28.Wislawa Szymborska
    29.Toni Morrison
    30.Nadine Gordimer
    31.Nelly Sachs
    32.Gabriela Mistral
    33.Pearl Buck
    34.Sigrid Undset
    35.Grazia Deledda
    36.Selma Lagerlöf
    37.Wangari Maathai
    38.Shirin Ebadi
    39.Jody Williams
    40.Rigoberta Menchú Tum
    41.Aung San Suu Kyi
    42.Alva Myrdal
    43.Mother Teresa
    44.Betty Williams
    45.Mairead Corrigan
    46.Emily Greene Balch
    47.Jane Addams
    48.Bertha von Suttner
    49.Elinor Ostrom
    50.Charlotte Brontë
    51.Margot Fonteyn
    52.María Montessori
    53.Coco Chanel
    54.Doña Mariana Pineda
    55.Leona Vicario
    56.Gertrudis Bocanegra
    57.Ethel McDonald
    58.Dorothy Day
    59.Dr.Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali
    60.Eleonor Rooselvelt
    61.Meryl Streep
    62.Maria Antonieta D'Haspburgo
    63.Carolina D'Hapsburgo de las dos Sicilias
    64.Isabel La Catolica, De Castilla y Aragon
    65.Maria Estuardo de Escocia
    66.Eleanora D'Aquitania
    67.Margarita de Saboya
    68.Isabel de Portugal
    69.Twyla Tharp
    70.Iris Chang
    72. Simonetta Vespucci
    73.Grace O'Malley
    74.Mona Lisa
    75.Dr.Kiran Bedi
    76.Kalpana Chawla
    77.Neerja Bhanot.
    79.Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
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    Jul 12 2011: Helena,

    A few more. Hope you don't already have these:

    German Philosopher Hannah Arendt,
    American Artist Georgia O'Keefe
    French Artist Louise Bourgeois
    Afghani activist Malalai Joya
    English writer Augusta Ada King, known as first computer programmer
    US Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper programmer behind COBOL language

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    Jul 11 2011: Jaycee Dugard.

    I just read her story in yahoo news & it realy hurt me. The way she has gone thru 18 years in abduction & survived is amazing. I think she is the latest extra ordinary woman in my opinion. Please go thru the link for the full story.

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      Jul 11 2011: Hi Rafi,

      Yes, her story is very disturbing. Giving birth for the first time can be scary let alone at 14 years old, alone and in your abductor's back yard.

      I wish her all the best in her new life.
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    Jul 8 2011: Helena,

    Indira Ghandi is high on my list. As are two women closer to my world:

    -- Burnsville Minnesota Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.

    Who just finished her term as President of the US Council of Mayors. Mayors are not known as change agents, they tend to policy pass-through agents. But she has influenced very impressive evolutions at the local, national and global level. All in her spiked-heels and sassy suits.

    Though I disagree with some of her leadership decisions, I am awestruck by her unstoppable energy and efforts to seriously listen to all sides. Her capacities as a "civic enabler" who sees and encourages the unique gifts of all around her to solve problems are remarkable.

    She works equally as respectfully with diverse groups. Everyone from scruffy young skateboarders, immigrants, aging white CEOs, to President Obama and other heads of state receives her engaged attention and often, her interests in learning from them.

    She is a consummate professional, so humble few are aware how she suffered with her husband, who died last Fall. She sat beside him in his fight against cancer, and has fought two serious bouts with cancer herself. Though she very much still grieves, she graciously declines focus on her losses, in favor of focusing equally as much on others. Always energized by discussions and work that seek to uplift culture and build big picture futures.

    -- Liz Kohagen, another Burnsville woman suffering deep loss. Her mother died this past January. Though only 27, LIz remains a quiet stalwart for her younger sisters and many people in the community, who visit her coffee shop (called: The Buzz.) Where everyone from motliest of the motley to richest of rich somehow feel so comfortable its unclear who is who.

    Liz has launched local artists and musicians (including some on clear path to national scene) by showcasing their fledgling work. Many sense something magical about her colorful coffee-shop and her peaceful, connective presence.

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      Jul 9 2011: Can you tell me who's Betty Ford? I heard that she died today and that she was a remarkable lady.You're an American,so can you tell me who she was? Maybe she too can be in this long list of extraordinary women. =)
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        Jul 9 2011: I'm not American but I'm passionately curious and here is what I found on Betty Ford:

        She was the wife of former United States President Gerald Ford and served as the First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977.
        Ford was noted for raising breast cancer awareness following her 1974 mastectomy and was a passionate supporter of, and activist for, the Equal Rights Amendment. Pro-choice on abortion and a leader in the Women's Movement, she gained fame as one of the most candid first ladies in history, commenting on every hot-button issue of the time, including feminism, equal pay, ERA, sex, drugs, abortion, and gun control. She also raised awareness of addiction when she announced her long-running battle with alcoholism in the 1970s.

        You can read more about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_ford

        Reading about her led me to include too Alice Paul, an American suffragist and activist, who along with Lucy Burns, who I already mentioned right at the start of this conversation, led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
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        Jul 9 2011: Correction:

        It was actually Lucy Stone who I had already mentioned, not Lucy Burns. However, I'm glad Lucy Burns turned up too.
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      Jul 9 2011: Hi Andrea,

      They sound like two incredible ladies. Thank you for including them here.
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      Jul 12 2011: I had it Indira Gandhi had already been mentioned but she hadn't. Shocking she hadn't come up yet!
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    Jul 8 2011: Helena, I have to thank you for this thread. I have returned here often.

    At lunch today in a small local restaurant, I sat at a table next to what appeared to be two sisters with their handicapped child. The love and tenderness that they showed to the profoundly handicapped child as they tube fed her through her abdomen and worked diligently to communicate with her was absolutely inspiring to me.
    Women are fantastic creatures in their capacity for love and caring, in their intellect and stamina. I am most proud to be a woman when I think of our contribution to the planet in these terms.

    While many famous women have inspired me, it is now and always has been the women in the trenches, those of great courage in real life who will never see any accolades that inspire and humble me most.
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      Jul 8 2011: Debra, it's so nice to see you here and thank you for your interest in this conversation.

      "While many famous women have inspired me, it is now and always has been the women in the trenches, those of great courage in real life who will never see any accolades that inspire and humble me most"...

      ...I feel the same way and in this conversation there is room to acknowledge all these extraordinary women too, the ones who may not appear on Google or Wikipedia but who, nevertheless, continue to be an example to follow by all, men and women.
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    Jul 8 2011: Alisa Miller

    Our modern day heroine helping to keep the 4th estate alive even if she has to rebuild it herself!!! Please check out her Ted E-book and the blog on it and also her tsill in process website www.mediamakeover.org. Without a 4th estate democracy will die.

    Thank you Alisa
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    Jul 5 2011: Another local favorite (she summered here on my island) and a truly gracious and grand lady

    Julia Child

    Bon Appetit
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    Jul 3 2011: Eleanor Roosevelt

    "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."
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      Jul 3 2011: Yes, Eleanor was an extraordinary woman, I agree. If you scroll down you'll find Lyndsay already mentioned her.
      Thanks for the quote.
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        Jul 3 2011: Helena, thanks.... Here at TED (as in life, too) I have a tendency to not keep pace with the steam of comments!
        In my eyes, women are mentors to men... And muses. I cringe when I see a woman "re-wire" herself to be accepted in the "man's world". Some very long-overdue societal changes will come when women are able to acquire the power to make them, I think.
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    Jul 1 2011: Here comes other two ladies from my country who are more contemporary


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      Jul 1 2011: I think I'm in love with Jahanara Imam.
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        Jul 1 2011: Hi Aizat
        She made a huge number of people to fall in love with her movement for trial of "war criminal" & she lead it until she lost to cancer.
        Good news is the preparation for that trial now going on.......but lot of politics around though.
        Thanks for your interest in reading those links.
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      Jul 1 2011: I read Sufia Kamal had a real talent for languages:
      "During her childhood, women's education was prohibited and she could not afford to get academic education. But she learnt Bangla, Hindi, English, Urdu, Arabic, Kurdish and Persian language from her house tutors".

      When I read about Jahanara Imam I was moved by her determination to overcome her illness and continue to do her work.
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        Jul 1 2011: Sufia Kamal was more than a literary figure. She become the MOTHER in 90's to the democracy seeking of people , when they were fighting the military autocrate and all the tyranny of that time in Bangladesh.

        Jahanara Imam became prolific with her movement to bring "war criminals" under trial while she herself was fighting against cancer!!! She was a mother, who sent her son to die for country , for freedom in her youth , lost her husband in that war as well but never gave up !Thanks for your interest in reading those links.
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    Jul 24 2011: Gloria Richardson

    Best known as the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a civil rights struggle in Cambridge, Maryland in the 1960s. The movement made significant strides against institutionalized racial discrimination in Cambridge by bringing attention to social injustices such as inadequate wages, poor housing, and poor health care.
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    Jul 23 2011: Here comes another one courtasy Birdia Tak Wai Chan in my thread


    Please ignore if Birdia has already mentioned it here and if it's already in your list, Helena.
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      Jul 23 2011: Wow, what a life story! And her twin babies! Incredible that the dead one revived and sad that the other died eventually.

      No, unfortunately Birdia Tak Wai Chan ( you are misspelling her name and I know, from my own experience, she will forgive you but would appreciate it if you corrected it) has not appeared in this conversation yet. I wish she did because her comments and contributions are always so refreshing and interesting.
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        Jul 23 2011: Thanks Helena , I corrected already. Sorry for that mis-spell though I am over cautious about spelling of name , it happened , that says "Error is Humane"
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    Jul 21 2011: Mary Shelley

    British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein. Daughter of the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
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    Jul 21 2011: Alice Walker
    African American author, poet, and activist. She has written both fiction and essays about race and gender. She is best-known for the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
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    Jul 21 2011: The elegant, ethereal, eternal

    Carmen deLavallade

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    Jul 20 2011: Helena--

    Another came to mind, I imagine you have her, but, just in case: Carol Gilligan. Author of "In Another Voice."

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      Jul 22 2011: Hi Andrea,

      She hadn't come up yet. Thank you for mentioning her. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Gilligan
      I've just been reading about her in wikipedia and I'm impressed with her versatility; she played piano and pursued a career in modern dance during her graduate studies, received her B.A. summa cum laude in English literature from Swarthmore College, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe College, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.
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    Jul 20 2011: You are welcome Helen, it's my pleasure if can add any value to your effort
    Here is another one

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      Jul 19 2011: Hi Salim,

      Again great contributions, thank you.

      Reading about Sylvia's young death made my heart turn, thinking about how much she must have been suffering to reach to that point.

      Razia sounds like a real character; like someone I would've liked to get to meet. Something that stayed with me when reading about her is how she refused to be addressed as Sultana because it meant "wife or mistress of a sultan". She would answer only to the title "Sultan".

      I like this extract from the inscription on the tomb of Jahanara:
      'Let no one cover my grave except with greenery,
      for this very grass suffices as a tomb cover for the poor'.

      Shabana is such a beautiful lady and from what I read, so good natured too.
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    Jul 18 2011: Kseniya Simonova

    Performance artist in sand animation and a philanthropist.

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    Jul 16 2011: If I have correctly read your list, possibly following ladies yet to be in your list, they are Florence Nightingale, Oriana Fallaci, Arundhati Roy

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      Jul 17 2011: Hi Salim,

      Florence Nightingale is already on the list however OrianaFallaci and Arundhati Roy aren't. Thank you for including them.

      That interview Oriana Fallaci did with Ayatollah Khomeini must have been really something:

      During her 1979 interview with Ayatollah Khomeini, she addressed him as a "tyrant" and managed to unveil herself from the chador:
      OF- I still have to ask you a lot of things. About the "chador," for example, which I was obliged to wear to come and interview you, and which you impose on Iranian women. [...] I am not only referring to the dress but to what it represents, I mean the apartheid Iranian women have been forced into after the revolution. They cannot study at the university with men, they cannot work with men, they cannot swim in the sea or in a swimming-pool with men. They have to do everything separately, wearing their "chador." By the way, how can you swim wearing a "chador"?
      AK- None of this concerns you, our customs do not concern you. If you don't like the islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it, since it is for young women and respectable ladies.
      OF- This is very kind of you, Imam, since you tell me that, I'm going to immediately rid myself of this stupid medieval rag. There !
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        Jul 17 2011: You are welcome.
        I read that interview right after it was published , in that early age I became her fan. Was amazed by her tenacity, courage in journalism though I have some reservation about some of her views ... thats different issue. I consider her to be one of the great lady journalism ever had .
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        Jul 17 2011: A very courageous lady she was!!!
  • Jul 15 2011: UK Activist Margaret Simey and MP Mo Molem
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    Jul 12 2011: PART 2

    80.Frida Kahlo
    81.Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
    82. Astrid Lindgren
    83.Svetlana Geier
    84.Karen Armstrong
    85.Monserrat Caballé
    86.Augusta Ada King
    87.Harriet Beecher Stowe
    88.Florence Nightingale
    89.Maria Zambrano
    91.Rabi'a Brasi - Rabi'a al-Adawiyya
    92.Mary Wollstonecraft
    93.Khertek Anchimaa-Toka
    94.Helen Keller
    95.Anne Frank
    96.Aung San Suu Kyi
    97.Gloria Steinem
    98.Shei Shonagon
    99.Leni Rienfenstahl
    100.Malalai Joya
    101.Santa Hildegarda Von Bingen,
    102.Artemisia Gentilleschi
    103.Gillian Lynne
    104.Isadora Duncan
    105.Martha Graham
    106.Roquia Sakhawat Hussain
    107.Sufia Kamal
    108.Jahanara Imam
    109.George Sand ---Armandine Aurore Lucile Dupin
    110.Virginia Woolf
    111. Simone de Beauvoir
    112.Eva Braun
    113.Safo di Mitilene
    114.Sophia Loren
    116.Elaina Smith
    117.Mum Shirl [Shirley Smith]
    118.May Gibbs
    119. Dorothea MacKellor
    120.Raden Ajeng Kartini
    121.Putlibai Gandhi
    122.Kasturba Gandhi
    123.Cristina Trivulzio Belgioioso
    124.Yingluck Shinawatra
    125.Josephine Baker
    126.Tun Fatimah
    127.Hypatia of Alexandria
    128.Rachel Louise Carson
    129.Julia Child
    132.Jeannette Rankin
    133.Kate Richards O'Hare
    134.Emma Goldman
    135.Gale Cincotta
    136.Alisa Miller
    137.Vanessa Gould
    138.Deepa Mehta
    139.Mariyn Monroe.
    141.Little Red Ridinghood
    143.Édith Piaf
    144.Paula Benavides
    145.Indira Gandhi
    146.Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.
    147.Liz Kohagen
    148.Betty Ford
    149.Alice Paul
    150.Lucy Burns
    151.Louise Arbour
    152.Mother A. Mangalam
    153.Elizabeth Kubler Ross.
    154.Flora Tristan
    155.Manuela Saenz
    156.Agatha Christe
    157.Jaycee Dugard.
    158.Charlotte Corday
    159.Margaret Mead
    160.Ella Baker
    161.Mary Catherine Bateson,
    162.Coleen Rowley
    163.Lucrezia Borgia
    164.Hannah Arendt
    165.Georgia O'Keefe
    166.Louise Bourgeois
    167.US Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
    168.Margaret Simey
    169.Mo Mowlem
    170.Oriana Fallaci
    171.Arundhati Roy
    172.Zana Muhsen
    173.Nadia Muhsen
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    Jul 11 2011: Carissima Helena...Lucrezia Borgia ....refinada, definitivamente astuta y con muy mala prensa.
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    Jul 11 2011: Helena,

    Anthropologist Margaret Mead
    US Civil Rights Leader Ella Baker
    Writer Mary Catherine Bateson, author of "Composing a Life"
    French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir
    and FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley
    are among other favorites of mine.

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    Jul 10 2011: Helena, Flora Tristan, abuela de Paul Gaugin fue una mujer luchadora y precursora de las renovaciones ideologicas en Peru en el siglo XIX. Manuela Saenz fue amante de Simon Bolivar y precursora de las gesta de reivindicacion femenina en Latinoamerica, tambien conocida como "La Libertadora del Libertador"
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    Jul 9 2011: Helena puede ustedconsiderar a Charlotte Corday, heroìna francesa que muriò en la guillotina por haber liberado a Francia de la tiranìa sangrienta de Marat. Le apuñalò mientras se bañaba. Y en esa linea esta la heroina del antiguo Testamento
    Judith quien acabò con Holofernes.
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      Jul 11 2011: Hola Luigi,

      Charlotte Corday, vaya personaje¡ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Corday
      Puede que sea un poco macabra pero me gusta el cuadro de Jacques-Louis David 'Death of Marat'
      Una vez hice una copia en carboncillo para un trabajo de clase, y creo que quizás me guste el cuadro porque me pusieron buena nota!
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        Jul 11 2011: Helena existe una pleyade de mujeres que en una dimension "macabra" aun causan sorpresa. No todas pueden ser madres amorosas o hermosas jovenes dispuestas al heroismo. Es interesante incluirlas en tu elenco ya que de todo hay, como en botica. Seguire presentandote ejemplos de mujeres especiales o diferentes y extraordinarias, si asi se puede decir.
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          Jul 11 2011: No Luigi, me refería a que yo era un poco macabra no Charlotte! Porque me gusta el cuadro de Jacques-Louis. Igualmente, en esta conversación hay espacio para todas las proposiciones, aunque yo pueda o no estar deacuerdo con el criterio de algunos/as.
          Estarê encantada de leer sobre las mujeres que propongas, sean las que sean. Siempre hay algo por aprender!
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    Jul 9 2011: For sheer guts, I would nominate Louise Arbour. former UN high Commissioner of human rights.
    She is a personal hero.

    Learn more about her here:

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    Jul 9 2011: Helena, te sugiero a Agatha Christie , escritora de novelas de misterio. El rasgo particular y genial de Agatha es que lavaba platos como forma de inspiracion, miles de platos, tenia en su casa cajas de vajillas solo para lavarlas una y otra vez y al hacerlo y mantener las manos ocupadas dejaba su imaginacion volando para construir las tramas y misterios de Poirot y otros personajes. En su segundo matrimonio se caso con un arqueologo, lo que a decir de ella, le parecia formidable ya que mientras mas envejecia, mas le interesaba.
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      Jul 11 2011: Hola Jaime,
      Agatha Christie, divina. Gracias por las anécdotas. ¿Cómo las conoces?
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        Jul 11 2011: Helena afortunadamente he logrado reunir una biblioteca de mas de cincomil titulos que me permiten conocer, revisar , confrontar y comprobar la informacion que puedo compartir ademas de contar con el acceso a las bibliotecas Vaticanas, por las investigaciones de la historiografia de los siglos virreinales en Mexico. En los cruces de datos encuentro miles de anecdotas, ademas de que soy coleccionista de libros y documentos antiguos viejos y curiosos.
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    Jul 8 2011: Helena, es muy importante y ademas desconocida la labor de Paula Benavides, la primera mujer impresora en la Nueva España en el siglo XVII, naciò en 1609 en la ciudad de Mèxico y fundo un linaje de mujeres impresoras. Paula publicò y promoviò la lectura y la escritura en la Nueva España editando y publicando las cartillas de aprendizaje del castellano y en lenguas originales durante mas de 40 años. Ademas fue la editora de mas de 300 volùmenes entre los que se encuentran los Villancicos de SorJuana Ines de la Cruz y el Catecismo en Lengua mexicana de Alonso Molina