Each year, March 8th is known as the International Women's Day. This is a day where accomplishments toward women rights and gender equality are celebrated and pondered. When it comes to the world of toy soldiers, we see few women collectors here and there, but we must admit that this passion seems to mostly interest men. Nonetheless, it’s a day that we can commemorate by looking at some of the best female toy soldiers (and I’m not talking of The Hussar Hussie #1 'Monique' here).


AE061 - Cleopatra

This Cleopatra figure by King and Country represents not only one of the mightiest rulers of Egypt, but it also shows one of the greatests movie stars of all times. This toy soldier is in fact Elisabeth Taylor as seen in the 1963 movie Cleopatra. Liz was a praised actress known for many excellent movies such as Raintree County (1957), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She is also the first actress to get paid one million dollars for a movie. When negotiating her contract, Burt Reynolds suggested her to ask for one million. She was not sure about it, but gave it a try and it worked. Such high salaries were not common, but they were standards for male actors of the same rank as her in a lead role. For comparaison, John Wayne was paid one million in 1968 for the movie The War Wagon. The sad thing is that it’s not the norm, even today. Recent studies have shown that the top actresses are paid on average 38% of their male counterparts.


RnB028 - Boadicea, Queen Of The Iceni

Cleopatra was not the only woman ruler in history leading to a nice toy soldier figure. Here we have a good example of a battle ready female leader by King and Country. Boadicea was the Queen of the Iceni, a tribe of Great Britain during the Roman conquests. She led a massive army to push back the invaders and unwanted settlers. Her campaign was excessively bloody and forced Nero to consider retreating totally from Britain. Eventually, the Roman managed to rally their forces and defeated her army. In the early 1900’s, she became a national symbol of the women's determination for the Suffragettes and was found on banners of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.


JJ-BGC-32 - The Rescued Pilot

With the pressure for equity from the Suffragettes and the arrival of the Great War came new job access for the women of England. With most of the capable men fighting actively to the front, the society had no other choice but to let women work in what were considered as jobs for men. This vignette from John Jenkins shows one of the female bikers from the Women’s Royal Flying Corps. The WRAF was created to provide female mechanics and free men for combat missions. The women volunteered in such quantities that the WRAF was able to go beyond its original assignment, providing special taxi services. In this case, a rescued pilot is going back to his airfield. Of course, we can’t talk of equity yet in such a case, but it was a big step for the very conservative European society of the early 1900’s.


VN103 - Female Viet Cong W/M16

The WRAF was a big milestone for the women in the modern army, but some women took an even more active role in combat when the conflict required it. Such was the case with the Vietnam war, where female fighters fought along with the men. Of course, the majority of combattants were men, but it was still a war where the whole country could be participating. This figure from King and Country represents no particular woman, but all women who fought in that conflict. Interestingly enough, she kept very feminin clothes. This might not bethe best option for combat and was mostly forced by the circumstances. In the context of the International Women's Day, maybe we can see this figure as a symbol that shows that women can be the equal of men while being themselves.


Of course, politics and wars are two aspects mostly linked to toy soldiers and those put on the spotlight in this blog. However, women's rights and the quest for gender equity is a war on every front. A war that everybody should do their part if we want this to end. So, to all my fellow female collectors, you might not be legions in the world of toy soldiers, but are an important part and therefore this blog entry is for you. I now leave you with a link to all the female characters on our website in case you now feel like adding a bit of woman power in your collection.