The GAIM 2020 Women 

Every year, GAIM features four great women from history. The comics in our competition are based on the lives of these four women. In GAIM 2020, we are featuring Lina Bo Bardi, Miriam Makeba, Fe Del Mundo, and Hedwig Kohn. 


Lina bo bardi

Born: 1914
Died: 1992
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Ciao! Olá! I was born Achillina Bo in Rome, Italy! As a child, I absolutely loved art and design so the moment I had a chance, I pursued architecture. I graduated from the Rome College of Architecture and moved to Milan shortly thereafter. I opened my own studio at only 28 years old, but then World War II broke out and forced me to close my doors. I turned to illustration for newspapers and magazines until my office was destroyed by an aerial bombing in 1943. This inspired me to become more politically active, and I traveled Italy documenting the destruction the war had created. After the war, I moved to South America with my beloved husband, art critic Pietro Maria Bardi, where we joined the Institute of Brazilian Architects. I re-started my firm in Brazil and was quickly immersed in the architectural community, which pushed my work towards a more expressive style. Some of my most famous works were The São Paolo Museum of Art building conversion and my own home in Brazil, called "Glass House", which I completed the same year I became a naturalized Brazilian citizen. I went on to create many more buildings, furniture, jewelry, costume, and set designs, and taught at the Architecture and Urbanism College at University of São Paolo.


Zenzile Miriam Makeba

Born: 1932
Died: 2008
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Mholweni! Hello! My name is Miriam, but many people know me as Mama Africa! I was born in Prospect, Johannesburg, South Africa in 1932 to Swazi and Xhosa parents. My vocal talent was discovered early, but my father passed away which meant I had to go to work. I found opportunities as a singer jumping around in local harmony and jazz groups, and eventually saw success as a solo artist in 1956 when Gallotone Records put out "Lovely Lies". It charted on the Billboard Top 100 in the United States, kicking off a diverse career in South Africa including a lead role in the jazz opera "King Kong", numerous live performances, and a role in an anti-apartheid film called Come Back, Africa, which brought me to international recognition. I moved to New York with my daughter Bongi, then 9 years old, to pursue a career in America, and soon became an A-list celebrity. I met president Kennedy, and hung out among numerous fellow musicians and Hollywood actors and actresses. I was an active part of the civil rights movement in America, which to me was not much different than apartheid. I pursued activism for the rest of my career, helping many political figures and groups to create change in their communities. My most personal project, though, was the Makeba Centre for Girls, an orphanage for girls.


Fe Del Mundo

Born: 1911
Died: 2011
Birthplace: Manila, Phillippine Islands

Kamusta! My name is Fe, and I was born in Manila, Philippine Islands in 1911. My older sister, who had wanted to become a doctor for the poor, passed away from appendicitis at age eleven. Inspired by and in honor of her, I decided to pursue medicine. I earned my medical degree as valedictorian of my class and placed third in the board examination for medicine the same year. I love children, so I chose pediatrics as my specialization. The President of the University of the Philippines offered to pay for me to further my education at any school in the United States, so I enrolled as one of the first female graduate students at Harvard Medical School and after completing my work there spent short terms in pediatric institutions in the US to round out my training. Ultimately, I wanted to help the children in my home country, so I returned to the Philippines. After working in hospitals appointed by the government, I decided to found my own children's hospital. I funded the building of the hospital by selling everything I owned and lived on the second floor of the hospital, making rounds for the rest of my life.


Hedwig Kohn

Born: 1887
Died: 1964
Birthplace: Breslau, German Empire

Halli hallo! Wie gehts? I was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1887, to German Jews. I attended university before I was allowed to enroll, one of the first women to attend the physics program at Breslau University! I earned my doctorate a mere 6 years later, and started a career studying the relationship between different substances and fire. I then advised and taught the students of Otto Lummer, many of whom received their doctorates under my advisement. Before WWII and seventeen years past my graduation, I was one of only three women to become certified to teach physics at the university level. Once the war broke out, however, I lost my position. I tried my hand at industrial research before fleeing to the United States in 1940 when staying in Germany became too dangerous. Once in the US, I took a position at Women's College of UNC in Greensboro, and eventually Wellesley College, where I worked until my retirement. I continued working after my retirement at Duke University in a flame spectroscopy lab.