Unless you were living under a rock, it’s unlikely you missed the fact it was International Women’s Day last week. However, as one day isn’t enough to celebrate the fairer sex, we’re fortunate to have International Women’s History Month to recognise the many impressive, innovative and inspirational women who have made an impact.
To mark this important month and all those with an XX chromosome, we’ve summarised some of the leading ladies in the media landscape and their achievements.
Nellie Bly (1867–1922) - when women first entered the world of journalism, they were mostly pigeon-holed into writing about domestic topics. Bly was different and regularly wrote about the poor and oppressed in society. She once faked her own insanity to expose conditions within mental institutions and she recreated her own 80 Days Around the World challenge, unchaperoned, completing it in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds and setting a new world record in the process.
Clare Hollingworth, OBE (1911-2017) was an English journalist and author. She was the first war correspondent to report the outbreak of World War II when, as a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in 1939, she spotted and reported German forces massed on the Polish border. The story was described as “the scoop of the century”. The New York Times described her as “the undisputed doyenne of war correspondents”.
Katharine Graham (1917–2001) became the first female publisher of a major American newspaper after she took the helm of the Washington Post Company in 1963 following the death of her husband, which she manned from 1969-79. During her reign she oversaw the publication of the Pentagon Papers and coverage of the Watergate scandal that toppled President Nixon.
Marie Colvin (1956 – 2012) was an award-winning Sunday Times journalist who died whilst covering the siege of Homs in Syria. She lost the sight in her left eye while reporting in Sri Lanka and became renowned for her eye-patch. In 1999 in East Timor she was credited with saving the lives of 1,500 women and children from a compound besieged by Indonesian-backed forces. Refusing to abandon them, she stayed with a United Nations force, reporting in her newspaper and on television. They were evacuated after four days.
Veronica Guerin (1958 –1996) began her career as an accountant and later ran her own PR agency. She then worked in politics as an election agent before turning to journalism. She became a crime reporter and continued investigating, despite numerous death threats. She was killed in 1996 by Irish drug lords and is immortalised in a film.