8. Marie Curie
A major breakthrough in the field of science and medicine would not have been possible without Marie Curie’s invention of radium and polonium along with her husband for which she won the Nobel Prize, making her the only person and also the first women to win the prize in two categories. To include her in the list is significant as back then a woman in science was under the radar of immense prejudice. Marie Curie was not only a scientist but was a brave woman too. During the WW1 she drove the trucks containing radium needed for X-Ray machines herself to the front lines.
You may be wondering why she is in the list. She might not be a renowned face but if you are a woman who decides to choose your birth control preferences it’s because of her. Intrigued by the growing number of deaths during childbirth and self performed childbirth she started her own contraceptive campaign with Mary Stopes in Europe. Later she founded family planning clinic and went on to become a firm proponent of birth control pills.
6. Rosa Parks
This courageous lady stood up to an age old practice, she is someone we can’t ignore but mention. Rosa Parks refused to offer her seat to a white person on a bus which sparked controversy. Back in the 1950’s the practices of segregation in the buses were high. She was later arrested, but she continued to say that she was tired physically and mentally of giving in each time. A one-day boycott was called on the bus system in Montgomery on the day of her trial. The boycott lasted for a year and eventually came the end of segregation. She was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996.
5. Rachel Carson
It is long believed that the most affected people on earth due to natural hazards are women. Rachel Carson was one such woman who dedicated her life in pressing upon the facts of using pesticides in agriculture. Her book ‘Silent Spring’ was instrumental in banning DDT, a common insecticide which is used to clear mosquitoes from swamps. The number of non malarial deaths was far more due to the usage of DDT. She is also credited for saving several predatory birds from extinction. She brought forward environmental issues through her books and speeches which are being discussed even today.
4. Emmeline Pankhurst
She along with her husband who was an advocate of free speech, women’s suffrage and education reform founded Women’s Franchise League. After the death of her husband she founded Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) focused on direct action to advance the cause of votes for women along with free speech. During WW1 a clever tactic helped them fetch attention and in 1918 votes for women over 30 were granted. She lived to see equality of men and women.
3. Simone De Beauvoir
Beauvoir through her philosophical writing used existential ethical arguments to call for liberation of women. Through her philosophy she called for an equal treatment for all humans. We can say she was one step ahead of her times. She tried to show how important it is for each one of us to see our actions and not leave it on God, as programmed to be or as fated.
2. Ayn Ryand
Born in Russia she hated communism to the core. She was against any form of government which denied individual rights. Her novels, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem showcased objective reality, the use of reason in all things and the absolute right of an individual to govern himself/herself. Her work influenced economists, businesses and politicians.
1. Eleanor Roosevelt
Advised by her uncle Teddy of being the ‘bully pulpit’ she spoke out on social matters as first lady, a position which previously involved being just a hostess at the White House. She was a strong supporter of African American Rights and she also objected to the interring of Japanese-Americans once the US entered WW2. She was a wide reaching social reformer who is still quoted often.
Our intent was to present you with personalities who changed the world in their own ways, We sure have missed on a lot of significant names.
Do comment and let us know which other women personalities you think are worth mentioning.