While Nigeria insists on being stuck in the Stone Age and remains relentless in the pursuit of prejudice, punishment and oppression against women, certain civilisations liberated women years ago – applauded them, elevated them, recognised them and rewarded them. Caroline Herschel is one such woman, a German astronomer who broke boundaries and today we celebrate her on what would have been her 266th birthday.
Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) was a German astronomer and the sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, with whom she worked throughout both of their careers. Her most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets and in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name.
She was the first woman to be paid for her contribution to science, to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science, on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).
We are more than second class citizens. More than cooks, cleaners, and ready holes for debauchery. We are leaders, warriors, queens and survivors.
The genie is out of the bottle and Bwacha and his misogynistic cronies can fight it all they want, but a new dawn is here. There are too many Nigerian women reading, getting educated and seeing the light to be ignored.
We will get emancipation – woman by woman, from one village to the next, from one triumph to the next till we get what we want.
Emmeline Pankhurst was just 150 years ago, and look at the UK today.
Change is a-comin’ but till it does, let us celebrate the women who blazed a trail – through the sky as it were.
Thank you, Caroline Herschel
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