Want to Learn About More Important Women in History? Listen to This Podcast

Our editor in chief, Lauren Iannotti, is guest-hosting a full week of the Womanica podcast.



Women's History Month is a great time to learn more about the contributions and accomplishments of women throughout history. You're probably familiar with the stories of Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, RBG, Frida Kahlo, and more. But there's a long list of culturally significant women whose names are less likely to be found in standard history books. These are the stories that the Womanica podcast is committed to telling. Each daily, five-minute episode highlights a fascinating and always inspiring woman subject, and over the next week, our editor in chief, Lauren Iannotti, is taking over as the guest host to help bring these stories to light.

From March 27 to 31, she'll be discussing five different, uniquely fascinating women—including the first human cannonball and a dancer and choreographer who played an important role in changing the perception of African dance in America. Learn more about each episode, and woman, below—and make sure to tune in to the podcast for a quick and fun history lesson.

(In the spirit of recognizing important history-making figures, our recent Game Changers issue also featured several women trailblazers worth getting to know. Read more about them here.)

Movers and Shakers: Pancho Barnes

Pancho Barnes


Airing on Monday, March 27

If you love Amelia Earhart's story, it's worth tuning in to learn about Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (1901-1975), an American aviator who broke Earhart's air-speed record in 1930. She was the first woman stunt pilot in the motion picture industry and founded the first union for other stunt pilots in the industry. She also owned a bar and restaurant in Southern California called the Happy Bottom Riding Club, which catered to test pilots and aviators who worked in the area.

Movers and Shakers: Pearl Primus

Pearl Primus


Airing on Tuesday, March 28

Pearl Primus (1919-1994) was a dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist. She was born in Trinidad and moved with her family to New York City when she was 2 years old. While she studied biology and premedical sciences, racial discrimination deterred her from getting a career in the medical research field. She shifted her focus to dance, where she made waves, performing and choreographing powerful pieces about racism in America and altering the Western perception of African dance.

Movers and Shakers: Rossa Matilda Richter (Zazel)

Rossa Matilda Richter (Zazel)


Airing on Wednesday, March 29

Born into the circus world, Rossa Matilda Richter (1860-1937) started performing aerial stunts—like tightrope walking and trapeze arts—from a very young age. By the time she was 14, she was well-known by the public under the stage name "Zazel." In 1877, she became the first human cannonball, and traveled around 70 feet through the air before landing in a safety net.

Movers and Shakers: Rukmini Devi Arundale

Rukmini Devi Arundale


Airing on Thursday, March 30

Rukmini Devi Arundale (1904-1986) was an Indian classical dancer known for starting the renaissance of bharata natyam, a type of South Indian classical dance that was traditionally performed in Hindu temples. By resurrecting this dance form, she aimed to reverse the negative connotations attached to it and its typical performers, female temple servants known as devadasis. She also founded the Kalakshetra Foundation, which aimed to preserve and popularize the bharata natyam dance form and other Indian traditions, as well as spread the ideals of theosophy.

Movers and Shakers: Sophie Blanchard

Sophie Blanchard


Airing on Friday, March 31

Sophie Blanchard (1778-1819) took flight in a different form than Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart. She was a French aeronaut involved in some of the early years of hot-air balloon flying. She was married to ballooning pioneer Jean-Pierre Blanchard. After her husband's death, she continued ballooning and became the first woman to work as a professional balloonist. She was famous throughout Europe for her ballooning achievements and was promoted to the role of "Aeronaut of the Official Festivals" by Napoleon Bonaparte, and later, Louis XVIII named her "Official Aeronaut of the Restoration."

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