Princess Diana once said, “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head”. This saying relates to many incredible and inspiring women from all over the world, that have certainly made history for various reasons. Without their contributions and presence, our world would definitely not be what it is today. Regardless of their age, race, or religion, they were able to take their remarkable abilities and make a huge difference in the world. Take a look at these empowering, strong, and inspiring women who have made history.
Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s first female and longest-serving Prime Minister who earned the title “Iron Lady” for her powerful opinions, strong leadership, and rigorous policies. She first began her political career at Oxford University, Thatcher later made history for her massive achievement, as well as coming into power during a difficult and unsettled time for the country. She was known as one of the greatest political figures and certainly left her mark on British politics.
Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly to space in 1963. She spent almost three days in space and orbited Earth 48 times in her space capsule, Vostok 6. After her achievement, Tereshkova instantly became a national and international for all, but especially young girls and women. Later on in life, she earned a doctorate in aeronautical engineering and focused her career as an instructor at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. To date, she remains the only woman to have ever been on a solo space mission.
Rosa Parks, an African-American was living in Alabama when she challenged racial segregation in the USA back in 1955. She was asked by the bus driver to give up her seat for a white man, her eye-opening response took the public by complete surprise. She simply refused! Her courageous boycotting approach sparked a huge turning point in the civil rights movement. She was knowns as “the mother of the freedom movement”, and was honored all over the world.
The one and only, the magnificent Princess Diana. This is a woman that the world rarely comes across, despite the fact she rose to fame when she became the wife of Charles, Prince Of Wales. Diana Spencer was internationally well known for her incredible and extensive charity work, some of her campaigns included humanitarian work for AIDS victims, raising awareness of leprosy, and also worked with the homeless, elderly, and drug addicts. She left her huge legacy when she passed away in 1997.
Helen Keller was nearly 2 years old when she contracted an unknown illness which resulted in her becoming both deaf and blind. She was then left without having the ability to communicate, but eventually, with a help of a young scholar Helen was able to make a big breakthrough. She astoundingly earned herself a Bachelor Of Arts Degree, making her the first deaf and blind person to achieve such success. Keller later became an author, lecturer, and political activist, proving that the only obstacle in achieving one’s dream is yourself.
Oprah Winfrey is a name that is rarely unheard of anywhere in the world. She began her TV career during her teenage years where she became the youngest person and first African-American woman to read the main news. Today is a media legend and one of the world’s most famous and adored interviewers. Oprah also does a huge amount of charity work, one of which is a school called, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Without a doubt, she is one remarkable woman!
Amelia Earhart took up aviation in 1921 and the young age of 24, just a few years after that she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She continued to break speed and flying records which resulted in her completing international flights around the world, where she quickly became the first person to fly from the Red Sea to India. Additionally, she served as an aviation editor for Cosmpolitan and published 2 books based upon her aviation experience.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
As a young girl New York native, Ruth Bader was very much influenced by her mother who taught her the value of life and the importance of education. She later then became an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, where she successfully fought for women’s rights and gender equality until she died in 2020. She was a major feminist icon and inspired millions of people throughout the world.
At just 11 years old, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani student, had written an anonymous diary that gave insight into what life was like under the rule of an extreme organization called, The Taliban. At the time she was living in north-west Pakistan, and she wrote had a desire to continue her education even though The Taliban had a plan to ban girls’ education. Many people all over the world got to read her amazing diary, where she soon won over their support. At 14, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, she continues to fight for girls’ rights all over the world.
Serena Jameka Williams was born in 1981 in Florida, USA. At 39 years old, and a professional tennis player, Williams is a former No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles which is the most by any player in history. However, tennis is not just her only priority, she continues to leverage her career for social change and activism through various philanthropic and women’s rights initiatives. In turn, Serena Williams is a true role model both on and off the court, over the decades she has been very vocal about many issues that are dear to her, such as positive body image and racial equality.
Coco Chanel is a classic example of a ‘rags to riches’ story. Born, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, from a young age she and her family led a nomadic life as they didn’t have a lot of money. When Chanel was 11 years old, her mother passed away which pushed her father to send her to a convent that ran an orphanage. During this time, she learned to sew which ultimately led her to start her business. This is when she came out with her well-known perfume Chanel №5. From then on her business skyrocketed into the success it is today. Coco Chanel’s fashion and story inspire so many young people and designers today.
Not only has she influenced the pop culture world but Canadian singer/ songwriter, Celine Dion has used her star power to assist so many around the world who are less fortunate and underprivileged. Dion is the youngest of 14 children and was raised in a poor household. She started her singing career at the young age of 12 years old and was already winning awards before she turned 18. Currently, she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, as well as winning numerous awards throughout her career- such as; 12 World Music Wards and 39 Felix Awards. Aside from that, she has also actively supported many charity organizations worldwide. Celine Dion is a huge role model for so many all over the globe.
Marilyn Monroe is most famous for playing comedic ‘blonde bombshell’ characters during the 1950s and 1960s. After overcoming a tough childhood, she then became the world’s most timeless sex symbol. Due to her strong woman rights activism during a time when women barely had any rights, this additionally made her rise to fame. To date, Monroe has continued to be a major pop culture icon throughout the world.
Michelle Obama is most commonly known for being the First Lady and Barrack Obama’s husband. However, aside from that Michelle is a Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate which ultimately led her to become a lawyer. To date, she has led four primary initiatives as Reach Higher, Let’s Move!, Joining Forces, and Let Girls Learn. Each of these campaigns to fight different causes some of which include, educating young children on obesity, assisting girls to build healthier families, and advocating LGBT rights.
Beyonce’ Knowles is an American singer, actress, songwriter, record producer, businesswoman, and entrepreneur…just to name a few. To date, she has sold over 100 million records and has won 24 Grammy awards. Beyonce’ is possibly the most powerful pop star in the music industry and has completely embodied a fierce, feminist personality. Not only does every woman all over the world aspire to be Beyonce’ but many young girls look up to Beyonce as a true role model.
Audrey Hepburn is known as one of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic actresses in history. Audrey Hepburn is honored and admired for both her acting skills and her philanthropic efforts. Following her unofficial retirement from the acting world, Hepburn became a UNICEF ambassador, this instantly made her one of the most notable female role models and influencers. It seemed as though Audrey Hepburn was born to devote her life to kindness and compassion. She was also an extremely dedicated mother, wife, and humanitarian.
Even though Maya Angelou has passed away, she is still best known for being one of the world’s greatest poets. Angelou was able to change a generation and future generations to come all through her writing. Her writings and poetry spoke volumes about life. Maya Angelou is a true example of an incredible female role model. She was also an award-winning author, poet, civil rights activist, college professor, and screenwriter.
This young girl was just 16 years old when she became the face of the battle against climate change. Greta Thunberg is a teenage activist from Sweden, who gained worldwide attention in 2019 after delivering a passionate speech at the UN Climate Action Summit. Thunberg criticized many world leaders for their failure to take action in the ongoing climate crisis. She also led the biggest climate protest in history that included millions of people across 185 countries. It definitely clear that Greta Thunberg is a major force to be reckoned with.
Florence Nightingale was certainly a true hero who committed her life to helping others. She was born in Italy in 1920 to a very wealthy family just a few years after WW1 had ended, she had a mindset of going against what was traditionally expected of her by becoming a war nurse. The profession was totally frowned up, especially as the conditions in which she needed to work in were so shocking. However, she knew that was her passion and eventually changed the face of the profession. The bravery she displayed throughout her life is truly admirable.
Anotjer exceptional female Nobel Peace Prize winner on our list is “The Mother Of Modern Physics” or as we may know, Marie Curie. Born in Poland in 1867, Curie was a physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. Along with amazing efforts towards the successful development of x-rays, she also made huge contributions to finding various treatments for cancer. Still to this day, Curie is a massive influence on the world.
If you’re asking our opinion about this remarkable woman, we definitely think she totally went from rags to riches and changed the world in the process. Through her amazing books, author Joanne Kathleen Rowling (J.K Rowling) gave the world one of the most famous and loved and most famous literary series. Obviously, we are referring to Harry Potter. As the first female author to become a billionaire due to her successful publications, it’s not a wonder Rowling is considered to be a huge role model for youngsters all over the world.
Ellen DeGeneres has quite the icon, especially within the LGBT community. Why you may ask? Well, she is the first female lead in a sitcom to announce her homosexuality on air. Which is pretty impressive, right? Following that, when California passes same-sex marriage in 2008, she married her partner Portia de Rossi in what was said to be a very public affair. Not only does she advocate gay rights, but as a gay talk show host, she has shown the world that anything is possible!
Former World No. 1 American, professional tennis player Billie Jean King is deemed as one of the world’s greatest women’s tennis players f time. King won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. How amazing is this woman? She also became the first female athlete to earn over $100,000 in prize money in 1971. King is a major advocate for both gender equality and social justice. Today she can still be found on the court whether it be coaching women’s tennis or teaching young kids the beautiful game.
Grace Murray Hopper
This next remarkable woman on our list may not be so failure to everyone, Grace Hopper was an outstanding mathematics whizz and the founder of computer languages. Her main focus was making things a lot more accessible for all programmers. So thanks to Ms. Hopper, all your swift and sophisticated software exists because of this brilliant lady.
Ashley Graham was discovered back in 2000 which ultimately lead her to become the successful plus-size model is today. Her worldwide fame escalated when she became the first plus-size model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, where she totally rocked a bikini. As this magazine is traditionally associated with super-skinny models, this was a major breakthrough. Graham ultimately paved the way for other plus-sized young girls and models. Today she is a huge role model as well as an advocate for positive body image and acceptance. Good on you, Ashley!
Not only is the wife of one of the richest men on the planet, but Melinda Gates is a successful and phenomenal woman in her own right. She is one of the most powerful philanthropists in the world. Ok, we know what you might be thinking…this woman took a job at Microsoft and then married her boss. Well, this is the truth, but there is no doubt that Melinda has done some amazing things too. She is the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which is the world’s largest private charitable organization. The foundation is addressing global issues such as education and poverty, and Melinda herself mainly focused on women’s rights.
Madonna is considered to be the most influential female recording artist of all time as well as one of the greatest women in musical history. The Queen of Pop has not just pushed limits but has her legacy has had a major influence on the culture of the music world. The 62-year-old singer and achieved a lot of success during her life and long career, Madonna has won 19 different Billboard Awards, 4 Danish Music Awards, 2 Golden Globe Awards, and 7 Grammy Awards – just to name a few. Despite the serious controversy, she is highly praised for being a great inspiration.
Next up we have a woman by the name of Wangari Maathai. This implausible woman was a Kenyan scientist, professor, and environmental and political activist, who founded the Green Belt Movement. This is a community initiative that aims to empower many women through educational and environmental efforts. Due to her brilliant endeavor, Maathai became the first African woman to receive a Noble Peace Prize.
Irena Stanisława Sendler, also known as Irena Sendlerowa was a Polish-Cathllouc humanitarian, social worker, and nurse who served in the Polish Underground Resistance during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw. Even though she passed away about 13 years ago, she still today is seen as an unbelievable hero as she was part of an initiative that was able to save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Sendler was selfless and courageous, who risked her own life to save others from being killed.
British actress, dancer, and singer, Julie Andrews is a woman of many talents. She is most famous ger her iconic roles in The Sound Of Music and Mary Poppins. In addition to those two popular movies, Andrews has enjoyed a very successful and fruitful career that has spanned over 7 decades. In addition to being the recipient of Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Academy Awards for her acting and singing, as well as a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Screen Actors Guild, she is admired for her graceful nature, humility, and charming public presence.