A Promotion of Historical Efficacy: How Six Overlooked Women Shaped the Course of History Through Their Individual Pursuits
This paper is composed of six micro-biographies of inspiring female figures from history: Ziniada Portnova, Nancy Wake, Katherine Johnson, Sunitha Krishnan, Huda Shaarawi, and Fe del Mundo. Traditionally, historians have failed to portray the value of ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. In attempting to change this, the purpose of this project is to educate the public on the role that one person can play in the course of historical events and inspire others to follow the example of these women. Irrespective of geographic location, time period, or social position, each of these women have individually overcame the prevailing sentiment that their voices did not matter and maintained a desire to make a difference in their worlds in defense of their convictions. They made selfless sacrifices of action in order to advance their causes when the role of women was often overlooked. Despite the existing social boundaries and barriers, their confidence in themselves and the faith that they maintained in their convictions allowed them to successfully make a difference. The biographies will highlight the individual power of women who exercised their historical efficacy in the face of adversity. Beyond this written thesis, I am practicing public history by presenting these women at my defense as live women in costume. Similar to a museum exhibit, this use of visuals will further emphasize the reality of their lives, existence, and accomplishments. In narrating and presenting their stories, I hope to do two things. First, to give these women proper recognition for their courage, achievements, and strength. Second, to encourage you, the reader and audience, to believe in your power as an individual and to exercise your historical efficacy.