In Praise of Nasty Women

a poem for the IWD ‘Be Bold For Change’ Conference, Life Rooms
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust – International Women’s Day 2017


Victoria Wood, Emily Bronte, Bernadette Devlin – we praise you

Emmeline Pankhurst, Marlene Dietrich, Andrea Dworkin – we praise you


Margaret Clitheroe, Mary Peters, Rosalind Franklin – we praise you

Jodie Foster, Margaret Rutherford, Dorothy Hodgkin – we praise you


Valerie Singleton, Simone de Beauvoir, Clara Schumann – we praise you

Stevie Smith, Patti Smith, Ethel Smyth, Margox – we praise you

Bessy Braddock, Beryl Bainbridge, Hildegard von Bingham, we praise you


Mary Seacole, Shirley Williams, Joan of Arc, – we praise you

Pauline Collins, Jayne Casey, Eleanor Rathbone – we praise you

Lita, Cilla, Sonia, Natasha, Jackie & Bridie – we praise you


Freda Kahlo, Joni Mitchell, Gwen John, Fanny Mendelssohn – we praise you

Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Wordsworth, Catherine Dickens – we praise you

Annie Kenny, Lee Miller, Anna Freud, Nan Goldin – we praise you

Clara Bow, Rosa Luxembourg, Nell Gwyn, Jane Campion – we praise you


Nellie Bly, Anne Frank, Malala Yousafzai, Jo Cox – we praise you

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Maya Angelou and Julia Margaret Cameron – we praise you

Angela Davies, Angela Carter, Angela Merkel – we praise you


Emma Holt, Anne Williams, Margaret Aspinall, Gee Walker – we praise you

Denise Fergus, Josephine Butler, Margaret Simey, Elaine Feinstein – we praise you


Djuna, Sylvia, Ella and Nina – we praise you

Gloria, Shulamith, Betty, Germaine – we praise you

May, Dorothy, Ada, and Joan – we praise you

Monica, Philippa, Rita and Flo – we praise you


Our mothers and sisters, daughters and friends – we praise you

in loss and grief, and to make amends – we praise you

in our seeking for truth and our patience with men – we praise you

for astonishing women give thanks, give thanks – let us say it again – we praise you


Pauline Rowe



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