In honour of the latest issue of Another Man, which is themed around the Pioneer Spirit, we have selected our top 10 female pioneers. From a multitude of genres, the past and present, record breakers, trend setters and award winners in their fields, these women have set trailblazing examples both for their gender, and for the world at large. Girl Power.
1. Amelia Earhart – The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart is one of the most famous pioneers of aviation in the world. Obsessed with flying from an early age, she made it her aim in life to encourage women to take up the sport. Earhart broke numerous flying records, and documented them, along with her other experiences, in a series of best-selling books. Amelia's death is a mystery to this day, she and her flying partner went missing during their attempt at a world flight in 1937, somewhere around the Nukuman Islands off Papua New Guinea. After a year of countless searches and theories as to their disappearance, Earhart was declared dead in absentia in 1938. She remains a source of fascination worldwide, as a role model for both women and the world of aviation.
2. Patti Smith – Musician, poet, author, visual artist and activist, Patti Smith is most famous for being a hugely influential part of the 1970's New York Punk Rock Movement. Nicknamed the Godmother of Punk, she spent her younger years hanging out at The Chelsea hotel and Andy Warhol's Factory, living a life dedicated to music and art. At 66 years old she is now a prominent political rights activist, campaigning against the Iraq war and for the Green Party, performing protest songs and speeches to convey her message. She is also a celebrated author, having received the US National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, a heartfelt tale that recounts her love and lifelong friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
3. Emmeline Pankhurst – A true British pioneer, Emmeline Pankhurst was the leader of the British suffragette movement. Renowned for playing a large part in winning women's rights to vote, Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes resorted to drastic demonstration tactics to achieve their dreams. As well as smashing windows and setting fires, Pankhurst went on a potentially fatal hunger strike that resulted in her being force fed. Her efforts did not go to waste, as in 1928 women were granted equal voting rights with men and a new era began for the female population.
4. Eileen Collins – The first female pilot and commander of a Space Shuttle, Collins had dreamt of space flight since she was a little girl. After becoming an astronaut in 1992, she piloted the STS-63 just three years later. Collins to this day is a keen supporter of space travel, telling Chris Hatherill in latest issue of AnOther Magazine, “It’s such a privilege, and I think we’ll be better off, as a people, if more of us can have the experience.”
5. Wendy Davis – Senator Wendy Davis shot to public notice earlier this year when she stayed standing in a 14 hour filibuster in order to get a Texas bill lifted that bans abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy. Davis recounted her own personal experience of having a child as a teenager and going on to graduate from Harvard Law School, as well as the experiences of others in order to stage the filibuster (all whilst wearing pink running trainers for comfort). Although ultimately the bill was enstated a month after the filibuster, Davis's stamina and courage has made her a figurehead for women.
6. Lena Dunham – At just 27 years old, Lena Dunham is the first woman to ever win a Directors Guild Award for Outstaning Director in a Comedy Series for her work on Girls, which she writes, directs and stars in. Making her first feature film, Tiny Furniture by the time she was 23, she went on to win over Judd Apatow, HBO and subsequently the world with her extraordinarily funny and honest depiction of the young female experience. Recognised for her work and outspoken feminist nature, she has become a voice of our generation, regulary discussing her opinons on politics, feminism and society in general in a witty, endearing way.
7. Angelina Jolie – No longer considered just an actress, Angelina Jolie has used her global fame to become one of the greatest humanitarian campaigners of our generation. A pioneer in the protection of women and children in particular, she has launched multiple foundations, schools and centres across the globe to promote her causes. She has won numerous awards for her work with the UNHCR for whom she is a Goodwill Ambassador, and has recently been campaigning against sexual violence in military conflict zones alongside foriegn secretary William Hague. Jolie also set an astonishing example for women worldwide earlier this year, when she underwent a preventive double masectomy after discovering she had a huge risk of developing breast cancer.
8. Zaha Hadid – Dame Zaha Hadid is one of the greatest architects of the century. Of Iraqi-British origin, she is the first women ever to win the prestigious Prtizker Architecture Prize, which she received in 2004 alongside numerous other accolades. Her futuristic designs are in locations all over the world, the most recent being the futuristic style Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London – her first permanent design in Britain. Her London based architecture company employs over 400 people, engaged on more than 950 projects.
9. Coco Chanel – Inventor of the LBD and the doyenne of monochrome, Coco Chanel changed the way women dressed forever. The only fashion designer to feature on TIME Magazines 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century, she famously designed clothes that "gave women the ability to laugh and to eat without doing themselves an injury". Chanel personified the theory that hard work pays off; after spending her early years living in a female convent she began her fashion career as a hat designer before opening her own boutique and beginning to create her legendary designs. She is said to have worked 6 days a week until the day she died, sculpting what is now an all encompassing fashion empire.
10. Rosa Parks – The first lady of civil rights, Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat in the coloured section of a bus in 1950's Alabama. This act led to her campaigning for civil rights alongside the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. She became nationally recognised for her efforts and was a mascot of the movement, winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom alongside other awards throughout her lifetime. After her death in 2005 she was buried 'lying in honor' at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, the first woman, and second non U.S. government official, to do so.
Text by Rhiannon Wastell