Armenia has a rich history of remarkable women who have made a significant impact on society. From writers to humanitarians, these women have defied convention, overcome challenges, and inspired generations. Here are only some of the most inspiring Armenian female heroes that will surely pique your interest.
Inspiring Armenian female heroes:
- Zabel Sibil Asadour
- Anna Der-Vartanian
- Aurora Mardiganian
- Katarine Zalyan-Manukyan
- Shushanik Kurghinyan
In this blog post, I will introduce you to five Armenian female heroes who have made a difference through their remarkable achievements and contributions. Due to a big Armenian diaspora population, most of these women come from countries other than Armenia. Their stories are a testament to the strength, resilience, and determination of women, and they continue to inspire us today. So let’s dive into exploring the lives of these extraordinary women and learn about their inspiring journeys.
Zabel Sibil Asadour
Zabel Sibil Asadour (also known as Zabel Khanjian) was an Armenian feminist, educator, and writer who made a significant impact on Armenian society. She was born in 1863 in Constantinople and grew up during a time when women’s education and rights were severely restricted. Even though Zabel faced many obstacles, she still pursued her education and became a teacher. She used her position to advocate for women’s rights and education.
Throughout her life, Asadour continued to champion women’s rights and education. She founded several orphanages and schools for girls and advocated for their right to pursue higher education. She also played a key role in establishing the “Patriotic Armenian Women’s Association.” This association aimed to provide Western Armenian (modern-day Turkey) provincial women with education and ensure their future.
Asadour’s legacy as a pioneering feminist and writer has inspired generations of Armenian women to pursue their dreams and fight for their rights. She is considered one of the most heroic Armenian women of all time. I also believe that her contributions to Armenian society continue to be celebrated today.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Anna Der-Vartanian was the first woman who got promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer. In fact, this military rank is considered to be the highest in the United States Navy. Anna was exceptional and was awarded lots of military medals for her service and contribution she had in history. She was an exemplary female soldier who paved the way for many women into the US military forces.
There is no controversy that she was a heroic individual and didn’t stop serving the United States despite her age. Anna Der-Vartanian only left her service in 2007 when she was 87 years old. She explains it by saying that everyone around her was already so young that she thought it was time for her to leave. Also, during her life, she played a crucial role during World War II and her bravery never went unnoticed.
Even though she spent most of her life serving in the US military forces, she still remains to be an Armenian female hero. I’m honestly very proud to see her dedication to protecting her people and becoming such an inspiration for many. There are surely more heroes that should be mentioned for their efforts. So, here I have a special post on Armenian female warriors that will give a broader range of people fighting on battlefields.
Source: Gerry J. Gilmore on Wikimedia Commons (Anna Der-Vartanian is the woman on the right)
Aurora Mardiganian was an Armenian genocide survivor who became a leading advocate for human rights and an inspiring figure in the Armenian community. She was born in 1901 in the Ottoman Empire and was one of the few Armenian Genocide survivors.
To share her story and raise awareness about the genocide, she traveled around the world. She also starred in the film called “Ravished Armenia”, which depicted her experiences during the genocide. It was also used as a tool to raise awareness and funds for Armenian relief efforts.
As a result of all of her efforts in activism and advocacy for Armenian rights, Aurora became a heroic figure in Armenian history. She symbolizes strength and resilience and brought the world’s attention to the historic suffering of the Armenian people. Considering all the hardships she went through, speaking publicly about it is really something that requires courage.
As Mardiganian was a heroic Armenian woman who left a lasting impact, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was established in 2015 in her honor. This gave recognition to the individuals and organizations who demonstrated exceptional courage and commitment to humanitarian causes around the world. You can read more about the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and the programs they have at the link.
Also, check out this short YouTube video below presenting the story of the inspiring woman Aurora was. I think it’s a must-watch that will give you a decent introduction to her life.
Katarine Zalyan-Manukyan was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and a physician who dedicated her life to serving refugees and orphans, as well as fighting against epidemics. Also, she was one of the three female members of Armenia’s parliament at a time when the women’s suffrage movement was still ongoing in many countries.
Despite the fact that she lost her husband Aram Manukyan (one of the founders of the First Armenian Republic) two years after their marriage, she stayed firm and continued her service to the public. She was also a part of the Parliamentary Commission on Health, which again shows her devotion to her profession.
After the collapse of the First Republic, she went to Krasnodar, however, in 1927, when Armenia was in desperate need of doctors, Katarine returned to Yerevan. Even though her living conditions were harsh, she devoted herself to medicine either way. As a result of her efforts throughout her life, she left behind a legacy of service and dedication to her country and people.
This is an inspiring story of a physician who truly knew how to care for people and never stopped putting in the effort. Everyone can have their own definition of heroes. But to me being selfless and dedicated to contributing to a good cause is what makes a person heroic.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Shushanik Kurghinian was an outstanding poet and one of the most inspiring Armenian female heroes of all time. She has been known as someone who would give a voice to the voiceless and let the oppressed speak up. Her poems included topics that cover socialism, show her feminist thoughts, and uncover the problems women faced at the time.
Shushanik was a symbol of resistance and courage in Armenian history. That’s why her story has been passed down through generations making her an icon of heroism. It is also important to remember and celebrate the stories of Armenian women who have made significant contributions to Armenian history but have often been overlooked or forgotten. She is certainly one of them.
She was one of the Armenian females who truly shaped our history and played a crucial role. I really hope that future generations will come back to her poetry and be inspired by Shushanik’s courage. So, the contribution she had to literature and Armenian society will be acknowledged and celebrated as needed.
The video below will hopefully help you understand the nature of Shushanik a bit better. Seems like she has been a calm woman with so much say and thoughts that she gave to her readers.
Final thoughts on notable Armenian female heroes
This list of influential Armenian female heroes can continue as there are so many people whose efforts sometimes go unnoticed and forgotten over time. But, let’s also not forget about the heroes who are not even known yet and only future generations will discover them. I believe what’s expected from each of us is to encourage and give enough credit to those around us that try to make a difference. It’s always nice to give space to those who have their say and want to make an impact with their heroic actions.
Speaking of making an impact, it’s important to point out all the Armenian inventions that you use every day but don’t even know the inventors. Read my blog post on famous Armenian inventors. And if you remember a thing or two that’s not listed in the post, I would appreciate it if you reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter with #ArmeniaTravelTips and let me know about it. I will add your discoveries to this list and you will make your small contribution to this post as well. Thank you and I’m looking forward to it!
Featured image credit: Gerry J. Gilmore on Wikimedia Commons
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