Jane Baret (1740-1807)
The first woman to go around the world
Jeanne Barett She was a French botanist and the first woman to circumnavigate the world. It was between 1767 and 1776 and she had to do it disguised as a man.
Jeanne was born in 1740 in La Comelle, a small French town where she grew up and lived, helping her father on the family farm, but when he died her destiny would take a turn. Thus, she ended up working as a governess for the son of a scientist, Philibert Commerson, who would later be appointed botanist to King Louis XVI. With him she began to learn botany, became his assistant and they fell in love.
In 1767, Commerson was called to participate in the first French expedition that would go around the world, a trip that was made aboard two warships and in which a catalog of species from all over the planet was made. Jeanne Baret accompanied him as an assistant, but concealing the fact that she was a woman, since they were prohibited from boarding ships of the Marine Royale. No one discovered their deception until they arrived in Tahiti, where some natives found out. However, they were allowed to continue the journey to Mauritius, where they would marry and, a few years later, Commerson would die. Jeanne Baret was forced to remarry a military man in order to return to France.
Finally, Baret arrived in Paris in 1776 with a collection of more than 5,000 species of plants, being the first woman to go around the world. In her time she was recognized, even by King Louis XVI, who congratulated her and described her as an "extraordinary woman", assigning her a life annuity. However, it later fell into oblivion until recently.
Jeanne Villepreux (1794-1871)
He invented aquariums to study marine fauna
jeanne villepreux He was born in a small French town in 1794, in the midst of the French Revolution. There he learned to read and write in a self-taught way, before leaving for Paris, which he did when he turned 18. She worked as a seamstress for a while until, thanks to a dress she knitted for a princess, she met an Irish merchant whom she married and went to Sicily. It was on this Italian island that his interest in the natural sciences awoke. He explored Sicily on foot for years, collecting shells, butterflies, fossils, minerals… and wrote a complete guide on the natural and cultural history of the island.
His special interest and curiosity for marine life led him to invent one of the most basic and fundamental tools in marine science: aquariums. And not only did he invent them, but he found some of their greatest uses: on the one hand, they were used to observe marine fauna and study their behavior; on the other, he used them to repopulate fish in rivers where they had almost disappeared. Thus, he raised young specimens in his aquariums and released them in areas where there were no longer any.
One of his greatest discoveries was to show that it was false that the nautilus, a mollusk very similar to octopuses but with a shell, stole their shells from other animals, as hermit crabs do, but instead built its own. He also observed common octopuses and showed that they were capable of using tools, something that few animals – marine or terrestrial – do.
Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Pioneer in the field of radioactivity
Marie Curie was a scientist of Polish origin (nationalized French) who completely revolutionized the world of science with her work and discoveries. A pioneer in the field of radioactivity —she discovered two new elements: Polonium and Radium—, she was the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different specialties (physics and chemistry). And the first woman to hold the position of professor at the University of Paris.
Marie Curie had to fight to become a scientist, since in Poland women could not access university studies. She had to combine the care of her two daughters with her scientific career.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
Symbol of the 20th century feminist movement
Virginia Woolf was a British novelist, essayist, editor and feminist, considered one of the most outstanding figures of literary modernism of the 20th century. The high quality of his works and the recognition and fame he achieved in life earned him a position of great relevance in that movement. This made him establish himself as one of the most significant figures in London society during the interwar period.
All her rehearsals, and especially one of them, called A Room of Her Own, helped her become one of the main promoters and a great symbol of the 20th century feminist movement. Virginia Woolf marked a before and after in the thinking of her contemporaries and later writers.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971)
It completely revolutionized the world of fashion
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel known as Coco Chanel was one of the most influential European designers in the history of fashion in the 1920s. She was born in 1883 in Saumur, France and spent her childhood in an orphanage.
She was a singer in cafes, a saleswoman in a clothing store until in 1909 she began designing hats in her apartment. The following year, he opened a shop where he sold his hats that were elegant, functional and simple as opposed to the ostentatious hats of the time.
Coco Chanel sought comfort and simplicity in her designs, but without forgetting elegance. In the 1920s, she incorporated garments that were only used by men into the women's wardrobe. He dressed the woman in trousers, trench coats, tweed vests, wool sweaters, and sailor's berets. We could say that she introduced the androgynous look among women.
The designer stood out for being an innovative woman creating numerous designs that broke the schemes of the time. It introduced the use of new fabrics such as wool and tweed in jackets, skirts, vests or suits; highlighting the wool set formed by a straight jacket and a short straight skirt. It also revolutionized the world of accessories with collections of costume jewelry or costume jewelery as opposed to the ornate jewelry worn by women of the time. He introduced pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets created from metals replacing gold or chain belts. She was also the first designer to launch her own fragrance, Coco Chane No. 5 perfume.
He managed to break with the corseted clothes of the Belle Époque . It gave a new twist to women's clothing, which, from its emergence in fashion, began to be more comfortable and informal. Thus, it freed women from corsets (literally and metaphorically) and cumbersome adornments that limited their movements.