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S.H.E. IS: Hypatia of Alexandria, A Martyr for Feminism and Philosophy

Artist rendition of Hypatia

Hypatia of Alexandria, Born Approximately 350-370, Died March of 415

Hypatia of Alexandria (b. fourth century A.D.) is a historical figure born within the wrong era. Her ideologies and scientific achievements reflect the opportunities and success of a woman in the 21st century. She was a scholar and educator of literature and science, who surpassed many philosophers of her own time. Hypatia defined her own life purpose and became an educator in a patriarchal society with the support of her father.  

Hypatia became a symbol of resilience for many different social movements such as philosophy, women’s issues, paganism, and other groups following her murder in March of 415. The reason behind her murder is unknown; however, a popular theory is that her friend Orestes had political enemies who killed Hypatia as they believe she had too much power. Her murder was a gruesome and inhumane experience. Hypatia of Alexandria died because she was doing the work she loved as an educator. Her status as a martyr for social issues is prevalent today as she is often called upon for the feminist movement. Her endurance in a patriarchal society and her ability to overcome gender inequality makes her a hero to feminism. 

Hypatia of Alexandria has asteroids and butterflies named after her among other indicators of her contributions to society. She earned this praise and admiration. Hypatia is a figure who deserves more recognition in history as her work while living and her impact after her death continue to influence our society.  

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