It’s no secret that women have played a pivotal role in shaping history. But during the Victorian era in particular, women were breaking down barriers and asserting their power like never before. Here are just a few of the incredible women who made their mark on the Victorian era.
Mary Seacole was a Jamaican nurse who gained fame for her work during the Crimean War. She established a “hospital” near the front lines, where she tended to wounded soldiers regardless of their nationality.
Florence Nightingale is perhaps the most famous Victorian woman of all. She was a nurse during the Crimean War and is credited with dramatically reducing the death rate among British soldiers. After the war, she founded a training school for nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British suffragette who fought for women’s right to vote. She was arrested and jailed numerous times, but she never gave up the fight. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed, giving women over the age of 30 the right to vote.
Jane Austen is one of the most beloved authors in history. Her novels, which include Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, are known for their wit, humor, and sharp social commentary.
Queen Victoria was the second longest-reigning monarch in British history. She came to the throne in 1837 at the age of 18 and ruled for more than 63 years. During her reign, Britain became a leading world power.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Britain. She faced considerable opposition from the male-dominated medical establishment, but she persevered and went on to have a successful career.
Josephine Butler was a feminist and social reformer from Northumberland. She campaigned against the Contagious Diseases Acts, which required women suspected of being prostitutes to undergo medical examinations.
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England and went on to become the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. After graduation, she opened a medical practice in New York City and later founded a hospital for women.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist, best known for her Gothic horror novel Frankenstein. She was married to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the two were part of a close circle of intellectuals and artists. Her mother Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which argued that women should be allowed to participate in society on an equal footing with men.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Famous Victorian Women" https://englishhistory.net/victorian/famous-victorian-women/, March 15, 2022