It’s March, which means it is Women’s History Month, so let’s hear it for ten of Swansea’s wonder women and their achievements, which are an inspiration to us all.
Headmistress of girl’s secondary school, feminist and inspirational campaigner who fought for women’s suffrage and equality of opportunity for girls. Incredibly, Emily found time to study law and received her call to the Bar in 1925, leaving Swansea for London, where she continued her fight to improve the education and status of women.
Lived in Georgian Swansea, where she became a prolific writer of poems and several popular novels using the pen name ‘Ann of Swansea’.
Escaped Nazi Germany and settled in Swansea. Mastering Welsh, she wrote numerous poems and stories in the language. As curator of the Wellcome Museum at Swansea University, Kate catalogued and researched Egyptian artefacts.
The daughters of Mumbles lighthouse keeper, Abraham Ace, who heroically risked their lives attempting to save the crew of the local lifeboat, Wolverhampton, which itself was struggling to assist the barque, Admiral Priz Adalbert, in the ‘Great Storm’ of Saturday 27 January 1883.
The first woman to be honoured with a purple plaque in Wales, Val was the founder and director of Shelter Cymru from 1981 until 1989. She went on to represent Swansea East in the Welsh Assembly and work with the Equal Opportunities Commission Wales to promote the rights of women and minority groups.
Born into one of Victorian Swansea’s industrial families, Amy inherited the debt-ridden Llansamlet Spelter Works, which she managed herself and returned to profit. She was eccentric, living frugally, often seen wearing male clothing and smoking a cigar. Driven by her concern for the poor, Amy entered local politics. Despite this, she managed to find time to write, and authored several novels, including The Rebecca Rioter, a story of Killay life.
Born in Swansea, Jessie Donaldson was an anit-slavery campaigner who travelled to Cincinnati in 1856, where she opened a safehouse for escapee slaves, risking personal fines and incarceration.
A teacher and professional archaeologist who excavated famous historical sites across the UK. During her career, Audrey Williams became increasingly involved with the work of Swansea Museum, leading to her appointment as the first woman president of the Royal Institute of South Wales. She worked on the Temple of Mithras site with her colleague, Professor William Grimes. However, the site does not feature her name, just that his.
The Welsh composer, pianist, and mezzo-soprano whose life was cut short in mysterious circumstances during stay in Mumbles. Already a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards, one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a musician in Wales, Morfydd Owen and her music had a promising future when her life was cut short whilst holidaying in Mumbles. She failed to recover from a sudden illness and hasty operation. She leaves a legacy of some 250 scores from just 10 years’ work composing beautiful music.
These are just ten of the outstanding women who have helped shape Swansea. Who would you like to see on the list? Tweet us @EnjoySwansea.