Phenomenal Women – Dr. Maya Angelou

Our fourth profile needs no introduction Dr. Maya Angelou was a critically acclaimed poet and author, a survivor, a civil rights activist and an inspiration to men and women alike. My introduction to Maya Angelou was at age 13 when I read the first part of her autobiography “I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings.”  The book changed my life, and I was suddenly hyper-aware of the privilege I had through my comfortable home and loving parents.  It made me grateful and determined because her story started with so much pain and yet she overcame this pain and arose as one of the world’s greatest female inspirations.

Born in 1928 to parents who eventually separated Maya was sadly raped at the age of 8 by her mother’s new partner.  She told her brother who raised the alarm with the rest of the family and when the man in question was only imprisoned for one day her relatives meted out their own brand of justice, and he was found murdered.  Convinced that it was her fault that her abuser was dead Maya stopped speaking as she was afraid that her voice caused harm.  As we know from her numerous appearances, she eventually found her voice and went on to use that voice as a force for good.

At Women of Kaieteur, we know that sexual abuse and interference are all too common and we always advocate for women and girls to use their voices to highlight injustice and help break the silence that often haunts victims.  One of our favourite quotes from Dr. Angelou is

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Phenomenal Women – Dr. Faith Harding

Writing this profile was bittersweet for the team at Women of Kaieteur.  Dr. Faith Harding was by far the most prolific and outspoken advocate for Women’s Rights in Guyana.  It is my belief that she was the first true feminist in Guyana.  She worked tirelessly to improve conditions for women and girls and was also a child psychiatrist, educator, and a political activist as well as a wife and mother.

This particular profile is more poignant because for years many of the team knew her as PJ’s mom because she was also the mother of one of our high school friends.  She was warm and kind as well as fiercely committed to the causes that she chose to support.  Her phenomenal journey was cruelly cut short in 2015 but her legacy lives on through all the people both women and men who she helped through her activism.  She is gone but never forgotten and we are proud to hail her as one of our heroines at Women of Kaieteur.