Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo and their one hundred girls, daily heroines, girls who have never lost the confidence to assert themselves against gender prejudices and stereotypes, have been the protagonists of an immense crowdfunding which, thanks to Kickstarter, has raised over one million dollars from 70 different countries in just 28 days, for a total of one million and 300 thousand dollars from the launch of the campaign in April 2016 until October of the same year.
It is a book for children, but especially for adults. Because we are the ones who wanted to lose the ability to believe in the possibility of the impossible. They have collected 100 of these female events. They are all different from each other, but in common they have the quality of making us understand how much courage is not an innate talent, but a practice.
We humans have so much to learn. For example, that it is not a question of superiority or inferiority, when we speak of gender, but of diversity, which is a virtue. Reading this volume, I thought that in the sciences, when “biodiversity” is discussed, it is rightly attributed an extraordinary value. When will we be able to understand that in all of life, diversity, and only it, will help us?
I’m reading about the story of Ann Makosinski, a Canadian girl from 1997 who, to help a friend who couldn’t study after dark because she had no light, after trial and error invented a torch that feeds on the heat of the human body. It won first prize at the Google Science Fair. He says he would like his inventions to help anyone in need for free. I am thinking of Alfonsina Strada, the cyclist who wanted to participate in the Giro d’Italia but was not allowed to, she did not give up and continued to race, setting a speed record unsurpassed for 26 years, with a bicycle weighing twenty kilos and only one gear. I read about Alicia Alonso, a blind Cuban dancer who performed an acclaimed version of Swan Lake and founded the National Ballet of Cuba in Havana.
We talk about women like Wilma Rudolph, who as a child fell ill with polio just as she was falling in love with sport. The doctors told her flatly that it would be difficult to walk again, while her mother told her that she would be able to. Every day he accompanied her to train, to rehab. Wilma at the 1960 Olympics made 3 world records. She stated: “The doctors told me I would not walk. My mother told me I would make it. I believed my mother.”
We are talking about Irena Sendlerowa, a girl from Warsaw who at the outbreak of war helped Jewish children by entrusting them to Christian families and giving them Christian names. The real ones he kept in jam jars that he buried in a garden. In the end he saved 2500. Many of them managed to find their real parents thanks to those slips of paper in the jam. When asked why she did it, she replied that her father, when she was a child, had told her: “Irena, if you see someone drowning, you have to dive in to save him, whatever his religion or nationality.” Reading these stories one has a clear, almost physical sensation of touching the incandescent core of free will. “No one can tell me what I can and cannot do. When things get tough, you get even stronger,” says Amna Al Haddad, a weightlifter.
The book mentions 100 stories, but there are many more. I think of Samia Yusuf Omar, her story was told in an excellent way in the novel Don’t tell me you’re afraid. I think of Isabella Bird, of whom I have already spoken on these pages. It could go on for pages and pages. Michaela Deprince, a dancer from Sierra Leone, says: “Never be afraid to be a poppy in a field of daffodils.” And we, how many rebel girls do we know?