In honour of International Women’s Day, March 8th, I am compiling a list of inspirational women throughout history. Groundbreaking women, they have all achieved amazing things, from fashion, exploration, politics, sports, leaders, there is no area that has not been touched by these ladies. During the tough times, women have always fought hard and tirelessly to assert themselves as individuals in their fields. Obviously, there are way more inspirational women than I will be writing about, but here are just a handful who changed the world in significant ways.
Is there a women throughout history that has inspired you? Tell us in the comments below!
‘All strange and terrible events are welcome, but comforts we despise.’
Much has been written about the Pharaoh’s beauty, but not few have been able to grasp the fieriness in her soul. She has come to define independent strength and utter determination in an age when everything was commanded by men. One Hollywood myth, is that is was her beauty that drove Antony and Caesar to their knees, but rather her wit, charm and intellect.
Source: Cleopatra by J.W. Waterhouse (1888)
‘ I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.’
One simple gesture from this woman, sparked her to become a figurehead for the civil rights movement in the US. By refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on the bus, it would result in a boycott that continued for 381 days, and the abolition on the segregation on public buses law. The day she was arrested will be forever known as Rosa Parks Day.
‘I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.’
At 17 years old, she is already a co-receiver of the Nobel Peace Prize. Her journey till now has been nothing but amazing. October 2012, Malala was shot three times in the head on her school bus. She was targeted because she spoke up for the right of girls go to school and be educated. Since then, she has tirelessly worked hard for equal rights across the globe.
‘If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?’
Valentina was the first woman in space in 1963. A former textile worker from the Soviet Union, she orbited the earth 47 times, putting the previous four male astronauts to shame with their combined total of 36. All this at only 26 years old.
“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
With so many trauma and pain that plagued her life, such as a horrible bus accident that left her crippled unable to conceive, you would think that it would be enough reasons for someone to give up on life. Instead, Frida took her pain and painted her inner truth. Her paintings have gone down in history. Her husband Diego Rivera once said about Frida’s art “paintings that exalted the feminine qualities of endurance and truth, reality, cruelty and suffering.”
’Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’
She won the Nobel Peace Prize, not only once, but twice. Being the recipient of such a prestigious award, you would think that she had an easy time. To the contrary, she had to battle sexism throughout her entire career. Her research contributed to the development of x-rays in surgery. She even helped equip ambulances with x-ray equipment during World War 1, driving them herself to the front lines.
‘ In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.’
Her clothing set the female body free and redesigned it’s silhouette. She took traditional men’s clothing, such as trousers, suits, breton tops … and turned them into an enviable fashion that everyone wanted to have. Coco Chanel challenged the gender norms through her career.
‘I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.’
Romanian gymnast, at the age of 14, she was the first woman to ever score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event at the 1976 Olympic games in Montreal. Her performance changed forever the sport and the audiences’ expectations of female athletes. In 1999, Nadia received a World Sports Award of the Century for being elected “Athlete of the Century”.
Much is know about her famous husband, Winston Churchill, but very little is know about his wife Clementine. She made her husbands career her mission, guiding him with raw honesty and understanding of what he needed for his political survival. She often re-wrote his speeches, toning down his foolish or angry letters and preventing him from making terrible political mistakes.
‘ If not me, who? If not now, when?’
As children of the Harry Potter era, most of us have grown up knowing who Emma Watson is. She impressively got a degree in English literature at Brown University all while continuing her film career. In 2014, she was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, dedicating her efforts towards the empowerment of young women.