Think about the women in WW2. Does Rosie the Riveter come to mind? With her red handkerchief and ‘You Can Do It’ slogan, Rosie is arguably one of the most iconic images of female empowerment and serves as a reminder of the important role women played during the war. But what about the thousands of other women who served their countries? Their roles were vital but often individuals were forgotten. Take Simone Segouin for example.
At just 18 years old, Simone Segouin was inspired by her veteran father to join the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans–a combat group made up of militant communists and French nationalists.
Going undercover as Nicole Minet, she stole a bike from German military administrators, repainted it, then used it to carry secret messages and stake out potential targets. Eventually, she was formally trained for battle and helped with dangerous missions such as capturing German soldiers, attacks against enemy detachments and other acts of sabotage against the Germans.
One of her most iconic missions involved assisting in the liberation of Chartres, helping kill 2 Germans and capturing 25 as prisoners of war. She was also involved in the liberation of Paris, which was still a battle zone when she joined in the fight.
Simone notes how, “One of the best days was when we arrested 25 German soldiers towards the end of the war. It felt good as we knew we would soon have our country back from occupation.” She added, “I was not the only woman who joined the Resistance. I was proud of what we all did as a team.”
Simone showed daring in so many ways. Not only did she pursue a role in WW2 that was ‘typically male’, but she showed bravery on the battlefield and was willing to do whatever it took to help her country out of occupation.
At 91, Simone is currently retired as a pediatric nurse and lives in Chartres, France.
Our history is filled with stories of groundbreaking, inspirational and daring women. Women who were persistent or even audacious enough to define what success looked like—no matter the obstacles, no matter the time period. Popular culture and history books don’t always honor these women or tell their stories correctly or fully—and that’s where HERdacity comes in. Our aim is to highlight these women to illustrate how far a bit of daring can take you if you have the audacity to define success for yourself. Go ahead, read it, take it in and see how it fits with your own daring. What are you waiting for?