4 mums who made history
A mother is a word that no set of other words can ever truly define, and nor do they ever need to. We all know the importance and magnificence of this special lady without needing to see it written down, which can make it hard to explain in a Mother’s Day card!
For most of us, our mum is that magical being who has always been there to support us through chicken pox, school sports days and moving away from home. And for some, their mum is all that and a world-changing leader.
Here are four of those incredible ladies who were both the shining stars in their children’s lives, and a character in the play of world history.
Lady Diana Frances Spencer, or simply, Diana, Princess of Wales, was a mother of two and a patron for more than 100 charities.
She worked with, and helped publicise charities for the homeless, disabled, children, and those infected with HIV/AIDS. She was the president of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and the Royal Marsden Hospital, and in the years before her death, spent a great deal of time campaigning against the manufacture and use of landmines.
The Royal Foundation, a charity set up in Princess Diana’s name, has continued to support people living on the edges long after her death under the care of her children.
Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman – Cathy – was born in Mackay, Queensland, and has been making Australia proud her entire life. In addition to being one of the nation’s most celebrated athletes, she is also mother to Ruby Anne Marie Murch.
Cathy began winning sprint races when she was eight years old, and won her first Olympic medal in 1996 at the Atlanta games, becoming the first Aborigine to win a medal in an individual event. Four years later, she took out the Gold in the 400m on home turf in Sydney, making it the 100th Australian Olympic Gold.
These days Cathy heads up the Cathy Freeman Foundation, an organisation founded in 2007 with the goal of providing Australian indigenous children brighter futures through education.
Born in Liverpool, Kate Sheppard moved to New Zealand in her late teens where she married and had a son, Douglas.
Five years after Douglas was born, Kate was one of the founding members of the New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and soon after she was elected as the national superintendent of the group. Three years later she began organising petitions to parliament for women’s right to vote, eventually rallying almost 32,000 women (about a third of the country’s women at the time) to sign, creating the largest petition to ever reach parliament.
Through her hard work and determination, Kate Sheppard is credited with gaining women the right to vote in New Zealand, and in doing so, making it the first country in the world to allow it in 1893. Australia followed soon after as the second country in 1902.
Marie Curie was an absolute genius. She was the Head of the Physics Lab at Sorbonne, held a Doctor of Science degree and was the first female Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences at the university.
She is credited for discovering the element radium, and won a Nobel Prize – twice. She was actively involved with using radium to reduce suffering in the First World War, and of course, was a loving mum. Her daughter Irene even followed in her footsteps, winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for her work with her husband.
These days, the Marie Curie research fellowship program financially supports countless talented minds around the world in their scientific endeavours.
Exceptional mothers are not hard to come by – some of them just happen to make history as well as raising kids! Say thanks to your incredible mum with a special gift this Mother’s Day.