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Heroines Yesterday, Heroines Today, and Heroines Tomorrow

Bessica Raiche (1875-1932) Pioneer Pilot, Aviation Inventor, Dentist, Doctor

Bessica or Bessie Raiche was an American woman who distinguished herself shortly after the turn of the 20th century in terms of versatility.

She was not only a dentist and a doctor, but is also accredited by the Aeronautical Society as being the first woman to fly an airplane in a solo flight.  She had no flight instruction or experience before taking to the sky alone. Bessie was  a woman before her time who loved to shoot guns and drive fast cars right alongside the boys.

Her and her husband built their airplane in their living room and assembled it in the yard. She flew the biplane in 1910. Bessie would live another 22 years, most of which she devoted to women’s health care as a distinguished specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the US.

The heroines of agriculture aren’t just working out in the fields, they’re developing, and founding organizations that raise agriculture’s profile in the world and helping other women achieve their potential. Here are three women we’d love to celebrate with you.

Heroines of Agriculture

Fiona Gower and Rural Women New Zealand

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has been around since 1925. The women who established this charitable organization wanted better social and economic conditions for rural people.

RWNZ has groups all over New Zealand, and supports rural women by providing training, job opportunities and advocacy.

In its Women in Farming program, women set up farming groups to share knowledge and develop new farm-based skills, and attend workshops, training sessions and field trips focusing on a variety of topics. These topics include growing native trees, breeding and raising poultry, calf rearing and dog training, cheese making and biodynamic agriculture.

Fiona Gower was recently celebrated by the organization for her new position on the New Zealand Landcare Trust’s Board of Trustees. She said: “With the growing importance, emphasis and pressure on freshwater in New Zealand, organizations such as NZ Landcare Trust will play an increasingly important role in achieving positive outcomes for our land and water resources, and I am looking forward to being a part of that journey.”

Fiona is currently the Vice President & National Councillor for the Top of the North Island with Rural Women New Zealand, and has been on their National Council since 2013; she is also a graduate of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust Escalator program, and was a Kellogg’s rural leadership scholar in 2009. She has a diploma in wool technology. When not fulfilling her community duties and running after her school-aged children, she works as a casual farm worker on her land at Port Waikato.

Laurie Adams and Women for Women International

Women for Women International (WfWI) give women the resources they need to support themselves financial, and hold courses on raising poultry for egg production, growing vegetables in greenhouses and beekeeping, among other topics.

Laurie Adams is the President of WfWI. She has more than 25 years of experience working in international development and human rights with organizations like Oxfam and ActionAid. When asked what inspires her about the organizations’s work she said: “One of the first things I did when I joined WfWI was to visit our country offices in Afghanistan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, participants and graduates told me about the newfound confidence and connections they have gained. Caritas, a Rwandan beekeeper, told me the greatest change in her life has been gaining the power to solve problems.”

Are you one of the heroines of agriculture? Regardless of the size of your contribution, we would love to promote you on your websites. Get in touch!

Caroline Lucas and Women’s Environmental Network (WEN)

The capacity to adapt to climate change largely depends on a balanced strategy that uses resources, education, technology and basic services for all—but it also needs women!

WEN has been fighting for environmental justice for more than two decades, by ensuring that women have the resources they need to make informed decisions. The organization is composed of a number of women-led groups working in areas such as women’s health and reproduction, climate change and local food systems across the UK.

One of WEN’s ambassadors is Caroline Lucas. She was elected as the only Green MP in the UK in 2010. Caroline’s areas of focus include food and animal welfare. In December, 2015, she held a special surgery at the Food Bank run by the City Mission, to talk about the pervasive problem of food poverty. She said: “It should not be left to the wonderful staff and volunteers at food banks and charities to do the work of the welfare state. The government need to do all that they can to tackle this challenge as the social security safety net is failing to catch a frightening amount of vulnerable people.”