What Are Little Girls Made Of?

  What does it mean to you to be a girl? Is it the same to be a girl and be ‘girly’? What does being ‘girly’ even mean? What does it mean to be feminine? Tori Cann works with girls in her home town of Norwich, providing workshops and events to bring them together and offer them a space to explore what being a girl means to them, and what issues they sometimes face in being a girl. In talking to girls, Tori has found that a lot of girls are rejecting what they view as ‘girly’. Rom coms, chick flicks, bubble gum TV shows, pop bands are all seen as something to be...

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Flora Sandes

Flora Sandes (22 January 1876 – 24 November 1956) was a very interesting woman in the First World War. Although she was British, she enlisted into the allied Serbian army and consequently was the first British woman to fight as a soldier during the war. Flora was born in Yorkshire in 1876 but moved to Suffolk at the age of nine. Flora always dreamed as a child of being a soldier and was always yearning for that bit of adventure that came with it. However as a British woman this was not going to happen. Before WWI she did, however, find herself exploring the world, first working in Cairo,...

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Rosa Luxemburg

During WWI, Germany was having complex political problems on its home front. We don’t often hear much about German women during the war, but Rosa Luxemburg (5th March 1871 – 15th January 1919) was a heroine, standing up and dying for her political views in Germany. Rosa was born in Poland in 1871 to Jewish parents. From an early age, she knew the world had to change and she wanted to be involved with that. So she studied hard at school and moved to Zurich, Switzerland to go to university there; a place that allowed women to study. Her degree was in philosophy, but she also attended extra...

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Mairi Chisholm

Thoughts of the First World War often conjure up images of men in the trenches, fighting over no man’s land, and men travelling in ambulances, cars, or motorbikes. However, men were not the only people who utilized motorbike transport during WWI. The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) also used motorbike messengers. Another daring and inspirational woman who rod a motorbike was Mairi Chisholm (1896–1981), a nurse and worker at a first aid station behind enemy lines in Belgium. Mairi left for France in September 1914 at the age of 18, and set up a relief and first-aid station in the bombed-out...

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Helen Fairchild

Helen Fairchild (November 21, 1885 – January 18, 1918) was an American nurse who served as part of the American Expeditionary Force. Like many brave women who went to the frontline, Helen put her life on the line to help the soldiers injured in combat. For America, the First World War began on the 6th April, 1917, after Germany began using submarine warfare on any ship close to Britain. Up to that point, America remained neutral. Helen Fairchild had just graduated from nursing school in 1913, and a month after the war was declared in America she decided to help. In May 1917, Helen was...

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Alice Isaacson

Alice Isaacson was born in Ireland in 1874 and emigrated to America with her family shortly after her birth. Alice received her nursing training at St. Luke’s Hospital, Iowa and the Chicago Lying-In Hospital. Until the start of World War One in 1914, little is known about Alice’s work as a nurse or how she eventually joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in 1914. However, we do know that in 1916 she was transferred to the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) to work in hospitals in England and France. This is where Alice’s story really begins, as she left behind two diaries that detail...

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Marietta Victorina van Aerde

Marietta Victorina van Aerde was born on the 2nd December 1888 or 1889 to Frans Joename van Aerde and Celestine van Aerde. Marietta was the eldest of five; Marietta, Terese, Seraphine, Pauline and little brother Alexander. Little is known of the van Aerde children’s early life but it may be presumed that Marietta and her three sisters were taught at home by governesses as her father was a wealthy man. We next hear of Marietta on a birth certificate for her son, Victor Adolphus Francois Somers on the 28th October 1908. It is easy to work out that after finishing her education, Marietta came...

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Aileen Cole Stewart

In 1917, Aileen Cole received her nursing certificate from Washington D.C.’s Freedman Hospital School of Nursing. At this time Cole did not think that she would be sent to the front in Europe to serve as a nurse, as many other American woman had. Instead, she thought she would be relegated to hospital and private nursing care. However, this was to change when she was instrumental in saving the lives of miners in West Virginia during the Spanish Flu Epidemic in 1918. Two days after the Armistice on 11th November 1918, Aileen Cole Stewart was approached by the American Red Cross about her...

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Edith Wharton

When war broke out in 1914, American novelist Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937) didn’t even think about going home or to England, she wanted to stay in Paris to help the many refugees coming from Belgium. Edith was born in New York City in 1862 and became one of the most notable novelists and short story writers of her time. She loved to travel, and Edith and her husband would spend some months every year in Italy, and from 1907 decided to base themselves in Paris. Just before the First World War broke out, Edith was planning to go on holiday again but decided to stay in...

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Margaret Maule

In a University in the Scottish city of Dundee, researchers found a battered old suitcase containing WWI memorabilia belonging to a mysterious nurse called Margaret Maule. The researchers looked through her belongings, which contained photographs, letters, autographs, newspaper articles, syringes, and other medical equipment. What they had found was a veritable gold mine of WWI nursing ephemera. However, what they did not know was how the suitcase got to the university or who Margaret Maule really was or where she served in the First World War. The researchers were able to pinpoint some key...

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