The first woman to…

For our December meeting we undertook a little research about a woman who was the first woman to do or achieve something, whilst finding plenty of time for a chat and to get to know each other.

Stephanie Kurlow – the world’s first Hijabi Ballerina

Stephanie, who grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, began dancing at the age of two. She stopped at the age of nine in 2010 after being rejected from dance studios that didn’t cater to her beliefs. This led to her mother, Alsu Kurlow, opening in 2012 a performance arts academy for girls from diverse backgrounds to enable her daughter to continue dancing.

Beryl Swain – the first woman to compete in a TT on the Isle of Man

After competing in 1962 she faced criticism due to the perception that the sport was too dangerous for women. The male-dominated world of motorcycle racing revoked her licence by introducing a minimum weight limit which she could not meet. This ban was not lifted until 1978.

Helen Sharman – the first European woman in space

Helen was one of two Britons selected for astronaut training out of almost 13,000 applicants, and went up into space in 1981. Following this she led a team that invented the Mars ice cream bar. She goes into schools to talk to children about careers in science, technology, engineerng and maths, which is where one of our members met her recently.

Bertha von Suttner – the first woman to be awarded the Nobel peace prize.

Bertha overcome financial hardship, exclusion from society and a bumpy journey before finally finding a happy marriage. Her story is a remarkable one.