MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN
If it had only contributed by men, this world would not have been on the position where it is right now. History has given birth to thousands of women who, by changing the course of history proved that they stand equal to men. From the field of science to politics, from making their way into Olympic podiums to discovering new fields, here is a list of 15 of the most influential women who broke the glass ceilings and changed the world for the better.
- Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Rosa Parks was an American African woman who in 1955, challenged racism by refusing to give up her seat for a white man when asked by the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama. Her this act of courage inspired all American African women around the US who started the Civil Rights Movement to fight for their cause. The movement turned out to be an achievement when they finally earned equal rights in the 1960s.
- Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
Margaret Thatcher was the first and longest-serving female prime minister of Britain who took hold of government when the country was unstable. Despite this, she managed to run government successfully which earned her the title of “Iron Lady”.
- Princess Dianna (1961-97)
The main reason why Princess Diana attracted the media’s attention was her marriage with a prince of whales, Prince Charles. It was; however, her works of charity that continued to make it to the news even after her divorce. She had a lot of sympathy for children, which she showed by doing charitable works for sick people. She raised awareness about HIV by telling people that it does not pass through by touch only. She had also played a crucial role in banning landmines. She argued that they result in post-conflict deaths, which led to the Ottawa treaty banning the use of landmines.
- Mother Teresa (1910-97)
Born in Albania, Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who spent most of her life in India. She dedicated her whole life to services of humanity by helping poor children, aged people as well as those suffering from diseases. In 1950, she established Missionaries of Charity, which took the responsibility of taking care of poor and sick and abandoned children, those who are mentally ill and those suffering from serious illness including AIDs and leprosy. In 1952, she opened her first hospice, which provided medical facilities to the needy and allowed them to die with dignity. It is due to such efforts that she received many honors including Nobel Price for Peace, Bharat Ratna and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Marie Curie (1867-1934) (MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN)
Marie Curie marked her presence in the field of science. Her most prominent achievements include the discovery of a new field of science: radioactivity. She, along with her husband Pierre Curie coined the term radioactivity and discovered two elements named Radium and Polonium. Her discoveries led her to win two noble prizes in separate disciplines of science: physics and chemistry, which made her the first woman to win Noble Prize and the only human to date to have won two Noble Prize.
Apart from this, Marie played an important role in World War I. To heal wounded soldiers as soon as possible, she developed mobile radiology machines, which helped over millions of soldiers during the war. Her discovery of radioactivity was also useful in finding a cure to cancer by radiation therapy. Due to this, she has become known as the “Most Inspirational Woman in Science”.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) (MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN)
Coming to the throne at an early age of 18, Queen Victoria proved herself a great political figure. Victorian Era extends over a long period of 63 years in which the British Empire expanded to include places of Asia and Africa. It was during her era that the empire evolved politically, technologically, economically as well as industrially, reaching new heights of success.
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)( MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN)
Taking up aviation at the age of 24, Amelia Earhart became the first American female aviator who made in numerous records as a pilot. In 1932, she became the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic and in 1937, became the first woman to fly from Red sea to India. She was one of the founders of Ninety-Nines: an international organization for women pilots. Due to her extraordinary achievements in aerial flights, she received many honors.
Ada Lovelace (1815-52)
A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is regarded as the first computer programmer and is known for her collaboration with Charles Babbage. Her skills in mathematical logarithms and analytical engineering contributed a lot to the computer age.
Billie Jean King (1943-95)
Billie Jean King is the most celebrated as well as the most respected tennis player in history who accomplished a lot in sports as well as for women. She won 39 grand slam doubles, singles and mixed titles and 13 US titles in singles and doubles match. Another great achievement of Billie was making her way into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of Billie was “Battle of the Sexes”. She played this match against Bobby Riggs in 1973, who claimed that he could defeat any female player. However, it was Billie Jean won this most-watched match. This success proved to be a turning point for not just her but also for all women in athletics, proving that skill is independent of the gender.
King also fought for equal prize money for women, arguing that men and women should receive equal pay for the same tournaments. Her accomplishments inspired many around the world.
10. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
Florence nightingale served to humanity by forming the basis of modern nursing. She led the first official British nursing team to Turkey during the Crimean wars between British and Russia. She claimed that more soldiers die out of infections than battle-wounds and pointed out the need for better hygiene in British Army hospitals. She was named as “the lady with the lamp” for her rounds during the war in search of wounded and sick. In times when nursing was not considered as a respectable profession, Florence Nightingale laid a strong foundation for nursing to be adopted as a profession and hence, gave a new meaning to the word nursing. In her honor, the nightingale pledge is taken by new nurses before they start performing their services.
11. Katherine Graham (1917-2001)
Katherine Graham is known as the first female publisher of the American newspaper. After having served as publisher, she became the Board Chair and CEO of the company when she formed a team of reporters who took the newspapers into top ranks. She was committed to giving readers full information and therefore published pentagon papers. This earned her the title of a thorough journalist. Due to her courageous acts, she received countless awards as a publisher, journalist, and entrepreneur.
12. Junko Tabei (1939-2016)
Junko Tabei, the Japanese mountaineer, became the world’s first woman to reach the world’s tallest peak: Mount Everest in 1975. By 1992, she had become the first woman to reach all seven summits. She also made an attempt to reach the highest mountain of each country and succeeded in reaching 70 peaks. The fact that women of Japan, at that time were considered a little more than homme makers made it even more difficult for her to accomplish her goal, but she, being a determined woman did not let anything come in her path. Realizing the troubles women faced, she came up with her own climbing club for women in 1969 so that they could pursue their dreams.
13. Gertrude Ederle (1906-2003) (MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN)
Gertrude Ederle became an international star by becoming the first woman to swim across English Chanel. After training herself in freezing water, the time she set for her swim across cross-channel was 14 hours and 31 minutes and beat all previous male swimmers by 2 hours. She won two bronze medals and a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics. Her records erased the misconception that women were weaker than men and could not become great athletes and her victories served as an inspiration for women around the globe.
14. Katia Krafft (1942-1991) (MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN)
Katia Krafft was a French volcanologist who, along with her husband strived for human survival by dedicating her life to the study of volcanoes. She is known as a pioneer in filming and photographing volcanoes who was not afraid of getting within feet of a volcanic eruption to study and analyze lava. It was the struggles of Katia that we have close-up data and a better understanding of volcanoes. Her work was effective in encouraging people to abandon areas around active lava. She and her husband died in 1991 while filming the eruption of lava in mount Unzen, Japan. Her works proved that women could be bold too and there is nothing that they can not achieve.
15. Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)
Wangari Maathai was the first East-African woman to earn a doctorate degree. She was a Kenyan environmental activist who is widely known for her contribution to sustainable development. Maathai felt the need to end deforestation in Kenya and sought to minimize the negative impacts of deforestation as much as possible. The problem was finally solved when in 1977, her Green Belt Movement turned out to be a huge success by planting more than 30 million trees and providing 30,000 women with new opportunities. She continued to serve for her country when she was elected as assistant minister of environment and natural resources from 2003-2005. Her work came to be recognized internationally when she won the Noble Prize for her contribution to sustainable development and peace in the region.
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