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Girl Bosses of History: Nellie Bly

Illustration by: August Kay


Nellie Bly was an incredible investigative journalist in 1864. Here are 4 reasons that show how Nellie Bly essentially wore 'Girl Power' as crown!

1. When Nellie Bly was 18-years-old, she wrote a letter in response to an editorial publication that reinforced gender roles and refuted their attack on the working woman. Bly’s piece was so impressive that the editor offered her a position as a reporter. With this position, Bly fought against the traditional expectations of women to remain in a domestic role, which is quite different from what we are used to now.

2. In order to expose the unethical treatments that occurred in mental wards, Bly went undercover as a patient and spent 10 days in an asylum. After she was discharged, she exposed the institution for a number of offenses through her writing and paved the way for improvement and reform in such systems.

3. Inspired by Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, Bly, ever so adventurous, sought to beat a world record set by fictional characters in this book. In the book the characters travel around the world in 80 days, but Bly made history by finishing her journey in roughly 72 days. To say she was a bit ambitious would be a vast understatement.

4. Much of her writing as a journalist focused on progress, such as the movement for women’s suffrage and better working conditions for labourers. Bly used her platform to talk about what matters, in a time in when women were silenced. Bly was an inspiration to many female writers, including myself.

Fun Fact: Nellie's nicknames were Pink or Pinky!



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