The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BeBoldForChange. It’s a call for women to help themselves make a better, more gender inclusive world. Throughout history women have battled for change and many have succeeded, here’s a look a few who have helped shape the world we live in.
Boudicca (1st Century CE) led several tribes in a revolt against the Romans, she was initially successful and led an army of 100,000.
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) followed in the footsteps of her famous Dad, Henry 8th, as one of the great rulers of England. She turned Britain into one of the world’s most dominant superpowers during her time on the throne. She led the country during a time of great economic and social change and cemented England’s position as a Protestant country.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) wrote the book “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”, which went on to become one of the most significant books in the early feminist movement.
Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) In 1851, Truth gave the speech “Ain’t I a woman?”, which pointed out how women were equal to men.
Queen Victoria (1819–1901) reigned from 1837 to 1901, a total of 63 years, a fete which has only just been beaten by Elizabeth 2nd.
Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) served during the Crimean war and was hugely influential when it came to changing the role and perception of the nursing industry.
Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) dedicated her life to the promotion of women’s rights, her protests took many forms including public demonstrations and hunger strikes. Sadly, she died 3 weeks before a law was granted to give all women over 21 the right to vote.
Marie Curie (1867–1934) was a Polish/French scientist and the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for two separate categories. She also helped develop the first X-Ray machines.
Coco Chanel (1883–1971) was one of the most innovative fashion designers and helped define the style of many women during the 20th century, her legacy lives on today.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), the wife of American President F.D Roosevelt, she made a significant political contribution in her own right. She campaigned for human rights and helped draft the 1948 UN declaration of human rights.
Mother Teresa (1910–1997) devoted her life to helping others and through her missionary charities she personally cared for thousands of people in Calcutta. In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005) by refusing to give up her seat on a bus, Rosa Parks led to some of the most significant changes to the civil rights legislation in American history. She was a peaceful and dignified campaigner.
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) the subject of the film “Hidden Figures”, she is an African-American physicist and mathematician who made huge contributions to NASA’s space programmes. During this time, she calculated the trajectories and these were used in the NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard. In 2015 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Queen Elizabeth II (1926–) The Queen is now the longest reigning British monarch in history. She ascended to the throne in 1952 and since then has been a unifying influence for Britain and the Commonwealth.
Oprah Winfrey (1954–) was the first woman to have her own talk show, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She’s now ranked as the richest African-American and the greatest black philanthropist in American history. In 2013 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Malala Yousafzai (1997–) survived being shot in the head by the Taliban after she defied their threats and campaigned for the right to education. She has since become a global advocate for women’s rights and founded the Mala Fund, she also co-authored the international best-seller “I Am Mala”. At the age of 17, she became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.
This blog only scratches the surface of some of the amazing women that have helped shaped the world we live in and I know there are many I haven’t mentioned, so now it’s over to you.