International Women's Day 2017: Breaking down today's Google Doodle

For International Women's Day 2017, Google has a Doodle that takes the opportunity to celebrate again the women memorialised in previous Google Doodles.

For International Women's Day 2017, Google has an interesting Doodle that takes the opportunity to celebrate again the women memorialised in previous Google Doodles. The slideshow is presented as a story within a story, with the first slide showing a grandmother reading out to a young girl about inspiring women from history. The girl then takes an imaginary trip through time and space, visiting her favorite heroines through history.

International Womens Day 2017: Breaking down todays Google Doodle

There are some easter eggs between the slides, like this astronaut between Jupiter and Saturn.

First, the girl visits American civil rights activist Ida Wells and gives her flowers. Then, she flies in the back seat of the first female pilot from Egypt, Lotfia El Nadi. Then she hands over more flowers to Mexican artist and activist Frida Kahlo. After that, she reads a book with Soviet scientist Olga Skorokhodova and helps Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi with her work. In a single slide, she listens to South African singer Miriam Makeba, goes into space with the first woman astronaut Sally Ride, and helps the Turkish archaeologist Halet Çambel explore.

Can you identify all the icons?

Can you identify all the icons?

The penultimate slide commemorates five women at once. The girl interacts with the world’s first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, the Indian classical dancer Rukmini Devi who revived the art, meets the Argentine doctor Cecilia Grierson, helps Lee Tai-young in a case, the Korean lawyer and activist, and plays tennis with the French champion Suzanne Lenglen. After all this travelling, the tired girl returns home to her grandmother, and goes to sleep her head full of the amazing feats of women through history.

The reach of the Google Doodle is almost global, and does not appear only in a handful of countries where women face the most inequality.

Ida Lovelace. Image: Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Ida Wells. Image: Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Ida Wells was a civil rights activist who was a fierce opponent of segregation. At the young age of twenty five, she was the editor of a publication that was known as Free Speech and Headlight and wrote against inequalities faced by people around the world. She organised marches, co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, organised a sustained forty year campaign against lynching, and traveled around the world educating people on how to fight against social injustice.

Lotifa El Nadi

Lotifa El Nadi

Lotifa El Nadi got her pilot's license from Egypt's first flight school at the young age of twenty five. Her father was opposed to the idea, expecting her to marry and become a housewife, but her mother encouraged her to follow her dreams. She worked as a telephone operator and secretary at the flying school itself, to pay the fees for learning to fly. In 1933, El Nadi became the first Egyptian woman to fly from Cairo to Alexandria, a considerable distance at that time. El Nadi famously said "I learned to fly because I love to be free."

Frida Kahlo de Rivera

Frida Kahlo de Rivera

Frida Kahlo de Rivera suffered from a series of setbacks early in her life. She contracted polio at the age of six, and suffered from health problems as a consequence throughout her life. At the age of eighteen, she was involved in a bus accident that left her hospitalised in a full body cast. Her mother got her painting supplies, to help her pass time during the recovery process, and Frida became an artist. During her life she was known as the eccentric wife of Mexican artist Diego Rivera, but the recognition for her paintings grew after her death. In 2002, a biographical movie about her was released, called Frida.

Lina Bo Bardi Image: Instituto Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi Image: Instituto Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi was born in Italy but worked in Italy for most of her life. She graduated from the University of Rome and worked as an illustrator during World War II. Later on, she decided to open up an architectural firm in Brazil, and designed some of the most iconic buildings there, including the São Paulo Museum of Art. The Museum was suspended high above a town square as city officials were worried that the building would block the view of the city. Bardi is considered as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture, and a number of buildings around the world pay homage to her work.


Olga Skorokhodova. Image:

Olga Skorokhodova was affected by meningitis at the young age of five, which left her deaf and blind. Skorokhodova was found in a wooden house, where she was left alone after the death of her mother. Fortunately, she was tutored by the founder of education for the deaf and blind in the USSR, Professor Ivan Sokolianskii, who restored her ability to speak and provided her with quality education. Skorokhodova went on to painstakingly describe her experience of being deaf and blind in the book "How I Perceive, Imagine and Understand the World Around Me". She was one of the most dedicated researchers of deaf and blind communication.

Miriam Makeba. Image:

Miriam Makeba. Image:

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer who used her music to highlight the problems faced by the people in South Africa because of Apartheid. From a young age, she was famous across the country because of her musical talent. After appearing in a documentary that angered South African authorities, she was forced to leave because of the advent of apartheid. She spent her exile in the United States of America, where she found even more fame and success. She won the Grammy award in 1965, and spent the rest of her life singing and fighting for humanitarian causes.

Sally Ride. Image: Nasa.

Sally Ride. Image: Nasa.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on the STS-7 shuttle mission on  June 18, 1983. On the mission, she worked on the robotic arm and helped put satellites into orbit. She was a symbol that women can do anything that they put their mind to, but was more than that. Her experience in space and looking at the planet from a distance converted her into an environmentalist, and she wrote children's book on the fragile climate of the planet. She took efforts to help students, especially girls, maintain their interest in science and technology through their schooling. She also proposed Nasa's EarthKAM project, which allows students to take photos of the planet from the International Space Station, and then study the images.


Halet Çambel. image: Istanbul University.

Halet Çambel was a Turkish archaeologist whose interest in history was piqued by field trips to the ancient sites around Istanbul. She was also accomplished at fencing, and represented Turkey in the 1936 Summer Olympics. Çambel was the first muslim woman to participate in the Olympics. She took efforts to preserve important archeological sites, and established museums so that the public could get closer to their history. One of her most important findings was an ancient phoenician alphabet tablet that unlocked the mysteries of Hittite hieroglyphics. This is the tablet seen in today's Google Doodle.

Ada Lovelace. Image: Alfred Edward Chalon - Science & Society Picture Library.

Ada Lovelace. Image: Science & Society Picture Library.

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and pioneered the field of computer programming without even waiting for the first computers to be built. Charles Babbage was working on an Analytic Engine, which he considered as an advanced calculator. However, Lovelace had other ideas in mind, and recognised that the device could be used for more than crunching numbers, and could be used for solving complex problems. Lovelace saw the potential for use in other applications such as music and words, and wrote first algorithms. She was also perhaps the first person in history to identify a "bug", in one of the programs written by Babbage.


Rukmini Devi. Image: Curricooler.

Rukmini Devi Arundale is credited for reviving the classical Indian dance form of Bharatnatyam. The dance form had almost disappeared, but Arundale modernised the style and rescued the art from obscurity. She choreographed Bharatnatyam and presented it in theatres, where the dance was previously performed exclusively in temples. After a caged monkey tugged at her sari in a railway station, Arundale also became an animal rights activist and went on become the first chair of the Animal Welfare Board of India. She was also a welfare activist throughout her life. Arundale traveled with Annie Besant on various Theosophical missions.

Cecilia Grierson was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina. During the course of her work, she faced harassment for being a female medical student, in a country where women were not expected to even be educated at the secondary level. Her experience made her a militant advocate for women's rights, and became one of the few women in academia to support feminism in Argentina. She established the first nursing school in Argentina, and advanced the studies in gynecology and kinesiology. Grierson was the first person to suggest that medical vehicles have bells, inventing what we now know as the ambulance.

Lee Tai-young. Image: Ramon Magsaysay award foundation.

Lee Tai-young. Image: Ramon Magsaysay award foundation.

Lee Tai-young was the first woman to pass the Korean national judicial examination, a difficult feat for anyone. Tai-young was raising four children at that time, and went on to earn a doctorate from Seoul National University. She would later become the first female lawyer in Korea, as well as the first female Judge. In her capacity as a Judge, Tai-young revised national laws relating to marriages and families, considerably improving the circumstances of women in the country. She traveled around the world advocating peace and human rights. She operated the Legal Aid Center which provided free legal advice to poor and illiterate women.


Suzanne Lenglen. Image: Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Suzanne Lenglen is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players in history, and was the first female tennis celebrity, as well as the first international female sports star. In less than five years after first picking up a racket, Lenglen become the sport's youngest champion and began to dominate the field. Lenglen has won a breathtaking thirty one championship titles over the course of her career. She was a flamboyant and outspoken athelete, who got as much attention as her skill on the court, for her fashion sense. Women tennis players did not get much attention before her, and would turn that around by making women one of the biggest draws of the sport.

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