Throughout history, the actions of countless women have inspired us. Inspired the way the world looks at and treats women for the better. No matter the culture, age or chosen field of work, woman have been leaving their mark and trying to make a difference in the world we live in. Breaking down glass ceilings, overcoming hardships and tackling the obstacles in their way, these women truly are amazing. Below are ten of the most influential and incredible women who changed the world, for the better!
Everyone has heard of the horrendous ordeal that Anne Frank suffered during her short lifetime. The wise words of a young 13-year-old Jewish girl will live on throughout history. Frank wrote her Holocaust diary while hiding in the back room of an office in Amsterdam. Frank and her family were hiding in the room for two years, local non-Jewish people smuggled them food and water but sadly they were discovered in 1944.
Anne Frank and her family were moved to Auschwitz. She unfortunately died only weeks before the camp was liberated. Her diary was discovered in her hiding place and has since won countless awards and even had a play made about it. Anne Frank will always be remembered for her bravery in such a terrible time, and her words of love and forgiveness written in her book.
“The lady with the lamp” or her birth name, Florence Nightingale was a British nurse born in 1820. Today she is considered to be the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. During the Crimean War in Turkey, she was put in charge of nursing the British and allied soldiers that were wounded. She gave up her personal time and spent many hours caring for the wounded soldier’s day and night.
Nightingale is remembered and accredited for her accomplishments during the Crimean war but one of her biggest achievements is her work towards improving nursing standards in the UK. The Nightingale fund was created and spent on the Nightingale School of Nursing in London. It gave women the opportunity to gain the education needed to find employment outside of their home. If it wasn’t for Nightingale and her teachings, we might not have some of the modern nursing practices that save so many lives today.
Amelia Earhart was an American pilot, one of the most influential and spoken about female pilots in history. She was an incredible pilot who won many flying records and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Sadly, during her most ambitious flight, a flight around the globe she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. Her body and plane was never recovered, and she was declared lost at sea.
Earhart set many records during her flight career and was even awarded a military decoration award for her heroism for aerial flight. She worked hard to promote opportunities for women in air-flight and organized events for female pilots only. Earhart died doing what she loved and has since inspired many women to become pilots and travel, she has even been depicted in many movies.
Marie Curie was the first woman Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Science at the Sorbonne. She was incredibly smart, gaining her master’s degree in Mathematics and Physic sciences as well as being the first woman to ever obtain a Doctor of Science Degree. Her main line of work was in Chemistry, she discovered the elements of polonium and radium and focused on radioactivity and radiation. This won her two noble prizes and made her the first woman to win a noble prize, let alone two.
Curie was a truly amazing woman who inspired thousands of women to pursue an education in the sciences. Before Curie, the science was very male-dominated but through her achievements, many women have been encouraged to follow their passions and go into science related work fields.
Mother Teresa, most remembered for her charity work and drive to help those in need. Teresa was a Roman Catholic Nun who devoted her life to serving others. She traveled the world helping the poor. Born in Macedonia, Teresa knew she was destined to help others and waited to become a nun. She moved to Ireland and was given training. At the age of 18, she traveled to India and founded the Missionaries of Charity. This was a religious congregation devoted to helping those in need.
Teresa also opened up a home for dying patients, here they could die in dignity and she would spend their last hours with them, so they were not alone. Although some of her medical work has been criticized, you can not deny her selfless work. Today Teresa’s fund, The Missionaries of Charity has expanded throughout the world and has helped people who are homeless, poor or suffering from AIDs.
Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to help overcome distress and poverty and to help bring peace to the people. Her selfless acts and kindness will be remembered throughout time.
Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher is definitely a woman who will always be remembered. Thatcher was the first female British Prime Minister and came into power a huge 61 years after women were legally allowed to vote. She spent 11 years serving as Prime Minister from 1978 till 1990, which makes her the longest-serving Prime Minister in British History.
Thatcher was always interested in politics, during her time at the University of Oxford she became the first female president of the Universities Conservative Association. Over the years she served in a different position in the House of Commons, she caused a lot of controversy during her time for example ending the scheme to give school children free milk. This gained her the nickname “Thatcher the milk snatcher”. She created a more comprehensive school to provide more rigorous academic education available to working-class children. She remains undoubtedly one of the most divisive figures in British political history.
Born in France, Coco Chanel was a fashion designer who rules over the world of haute couture. Her sophisticated but casual designs changed the face of fashion with women opting for a simpler look and more comfortable type of clothes. Women ditched the tight corsets and started favoring Chanel suits and the much loved “little black dress” that every woman has in her wardrobe today.
Coco Chanel was born into poverty, she started her fashion career by taking old jersey sweaters and turning them into a “poor girl” look. This design took off with wealthy women loving the relaxed style. Chanel started creating more and more designs all as popular as the last for their simplicity and comfort while still looking classy. By the 1920s the Chanel Company was worth millions, even expending into perfume and jewelry.
No. 5 perfume is one of the most successful perfumes ever created, it was introduced in 1922 and is still wildly popular today. Coco Chanel followed her passions and became a success and inspiring rags to riches story for many in the fashion industry.
Rosa Parks was a Pioneer of civil rights in Alabama in 1955. At this time the county was still heavily racially segregated. In 1955 after work, Parks boarded a bus to go home, the buses at this time were segregated and the bus driver had the “power of a police officer while in charge of the bus”. Normally white passengers would sit at the front and black passengers would be seated at the back of the bus. The bus Parks was on began to fill with people, so the bus driver moved the seating signs, so the black passengers had to stand up and move to the back of the bus to let the white people sit down at the front. At this point Parks was already seated at the front of the bus, she refused to move, and the driver called the police which leads to her being arrested.
Rosa Park's arrest sparked the boycott of Montgomery’s city buses which was a huge success and lasted for an astonishing 381 days. This launched nationwide efforts to end the racial segregation that separated the counties. Parks is also known as “the first lady of civil rights” and her bravery is remembered and taught even today.
Princess Diana of Wales
Princess Diana was the people’s princess, she devoted her life to charity work and helping the less fortunate. She modernized people’s ideas of the made the perfect princess and made the British Royal family more popular. Diana said what was on her mind and took on causes that the royal family refused too. She wasn’t scared to get hands-on when it came to charity work, shaking hands and speaking to everyone she met. Diana was incredibly brave and would do what she thought was right, even if it landed her in trouble with the Royal Family.
Diana spoke again the British government's use landmines, eventually leading to the agreement from every country to no longer use them. She worked very closely with AIDs charities, a disease not well known at the time where people were often scared to touch those affected by it. She would hug or touch AIDs patients openly which helped to clear the misunderstanding that AIDs was spread through contact. She inspired her son, Prince Harry to fund his own Charity that is focused on helping AIDs sufferers in African countries.
Diana also brought more awareness to mental health issues, as she suffered from depression and bulimia herself. This helped the stigma people hard with regard to mental health issues and showed people that anyone can be affected. Diana was a beautiful lady inside and out who was loved not just in Britain but around the world. She thought for what she believed to be right and her bravery and charitable acts will not be forgotten.
Oprah Winfrey overcame a lot of difficulties in her life to become one of the most influential media stars of the 21st century. When she was young, she had to deal with her fair share of racism, childhood preface and abuse and growing up in a poverty-stricken family. At the age of 19, she started her career in the media hosting a radio show. From here she fought endlessly to reach her dreams and landed her own tv talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, her show is loved and watched by millions all around the world and she has become a household name.
The Oprah Winfrey show ran for 25 years and completely revolutionized the genre of daytime talk shows. Her show was for every and covered a range of topics, it broke the glass ceiling previously set in the media industry. She has raised over $80 million to help educate women and children and help the under provided around the world.
Oprah is a very powerful and influential woman who has used her status for good and to help countless women and girls around the world.
The remarkable women mentioned above are only a small handful of the incredible and inspiring women in this world. No matter their field of work, culture or age they have all made a difference where it matters and shattered glass ceilings in the process.
Women throughout history have faced hardship and challenges. If it wasn’t for the women who risked everything and thought for change and for themselves the world might be a very different place today. If you have a dream or a goal in life or you just believe that something should be changed, follow in the footsteps of these remarkable women and make history.