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International Women's Day - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I'm not sure when International Women's Day became a 'thing' but clearly it now is, with hashtags and everything!

This morning, as other people have been identify women they consider inspiring, I've thought very briefly about some of the women who pioneered in the two areas of my adult life... nuclear physics/engineering and ordained ministry.

Marie Curie, discoverer or co-discoverer of assorted radioactive elements, physicist, wife, mother seems to have maintained a benevolent and philanthropic approach through her life.  It is fitting that she, and her husband, are honoured with having a unit (the Curie, Ci)  and an element (Curium) named after them, and also that her name is linked with work on oncology and, in the UK, care of terminally ill people.  Whatever your views on all things radioactive and nuclear, Marie Curie was certainly a pioneering woman whose aims were, so far as I can ascertain, peaceable.

Violet Hedger is not a well known name unless you are a Baptist.  She was the first woman who trained for Baptist ministry at Regent's Park College.  She must have been one determined person because her story is full of obstacles overcome at a time when women had virtually no rights and no voice.  Her name, along with that of Edith Gates, another pioneering woman Baptist minister, form a mantra that I recite to myself on days when the going is tough and attitudes towards women in ministry are ungracious.

There are plenty of other women upon whose shoulders I am privileged to stand, most of whose names I will never know, but today I choose to honour Marie, Violet and Edith, three women whose courage and tenacity I really admire.

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