International Women’s Day is a great excuse to celebrate woman and their contributions to the world. If you’re a reader of this site, you know the staff are all women and we work to honour woman everyday. It’s not just one day a year that woman and minorities should be celebrated; with that said: here are 20 great women to read up on.
1.Marie Curie. was a physicist, chemist and a pioneer in the study of radiation. She and her husband, Pierre, discovered the elements polonium and radium. She received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911.
2. Arundhati Roy. Suzanna Arundhati Roy is an Indian author best known for her novel The God of Small Things, which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 and became the biggest-selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author. She is also a political activist involved in human rights and environmental causes. She’s basically amazing in everything she does, and a truly spectacular philosophical mind.
3. Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1903, she founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, which used militant tactics to agitate for women’s suffrage, helping women get the vote. Badass!
4. Hedy Lamarr. Was not only a famous silver screen siren, but the inventor of the Spread Spectrum Technology, and a natzi-fighter. The international beauty icon, along with co-inventor George Anthiel, developed a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War II. The spread spectrum technology would galvanize the digital communications boom, forming the technical backbone that makes cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations possible. Yup, you wouldn’t be sitting on your phone scrolling tinder without her.
5. Eartha Kitt. Famously played Catwoman on the 60s Batman show; she was once described by the one and only Orson Welles as the “most exciting woman in the world”. And boy, was she. In 1968, her career in the U.S. deteriorated after she made anti-Vietnam War statements at a White House luncheon (remember this was a time that was still super racist and sexist). She was also a staunch feminist and LGBT+ supporter; In a 1992 interview Kitt spoke about her gay following, saying:
We’re all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, we know what it is to be oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very much cognizant of that feeling.
6. Ching Shih. was a Chinese pirate leader who terrorized the China Seas during the Jiaqing Emperor period of the Qing dynasty in the early 19th-century. She started out as a prostitute, and rose to become the most powerful chinese pirate of all time.
7. Courtney Love. Famously the widow of the late Kurt Cobain,Love is a force to be reckoned with. At time when the world blamed her for the suicide of Cobain, She was heading the alternative band Hole, producing highly feminist and confrontational music. She has covered topics such as eating disorders, rape, sexism, societal standards of beauty and female strength. If ever you have female rage to let out, put on a Hole album.
8. Rosalind Franklin. It’s commonly believed that James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix shape of DNA. However, they based their work on one of their colleagues at King’s College in London – Rosalind Franklin, an x-ray diffraction expert whose images of DNA proteins in the early 1950s revealed a helix shape.
9. Cher. Cher is not only a fucking icon, has a career that’s lasted 6 decades, but she’s an outspoken feminist, LGBT+ ally, and has some pretty cool political opinions. Cher’s political views have attracted media attention, and she has been an outspoken critic of the conservative movement. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she was critical of a variety of political topics, including Republican politicians like Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer and Bush.
10. Greta Thunberg. For some reason this amazing young lady upsets a lot of old white men. At only 17, she has become the voice of a generation that wants change. Thunberg’s activism started after convincing her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint. In August 2018, at age 15, she started spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign reading Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate). Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organised a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. She is literal proof that one person can make a big difference.
11. M.I.A. Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam. better known as M.I.A., is a British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, and activist (and this writer’s favourite musician). M.I.A. openly criticises the oppression of Sri Lankan Tamils, Palestinians and African Americans. M.I.A. notes that the voicelessness she felt as a child dictated her role as a refugee advocate and voice lender to civilians in war during her career. in conversation with Billboard revealed that in trying to handle political issues and creating art, the musician did not want to compromise or keep silent. True Rock Star.
12. Jacinda Ardern. Obviously being Kiwi’s we can’t make a list of women we love, without mention of our Prime Minister. At only 39, she has made international headlines for empathic approach to leadership. The way she handled the Christchurch Shootings went down in history as one of the best responses to a terrorist attack. She also had a baby while holding the top and arguably, most difficult jobs in the country. Enough said.
13. Dolly Parton. Holds a special place in my heart because her killer music aside, she has always unapologetically been herself. Since the mid-1980s, Parton has supported many charitable efforts, particularly in the area of literacy, primarily through her Dollywood Foundation. Her literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a part of the Dollywood Foundation, mails one book per month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Currently, over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 850,000 children each month across the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and Ireland.
14. Janet Jackson.“My first name ain’t baby It’s Janet! Ms. Jackson if you’re Nasty!” With that line back in 1986 Janet Jackson announced herself as the next great feminist pop star of the MTV era. Janet Jackson was and is a feminine pop star who exuded confidence and strength in a world run by the Patriarchy. As well as being catchy AF her music discusses topics such as depression, abuse, sex, racism and AIDs.
15. Vanessa Nakate. Vanessa Nakate is an Ugandan climate justice activist. She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country.s a Ugandan climate justice activist. She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country.
16.Simone De Beauvoir. De Beauvoir is considered one of the main founders of the modern feminist movement, mainly for her landmark text,Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex), 972 pages of analysis of women in a society that considers them unequal to men. Still controversial, de Beauvoir’s work was called pornography and forbidden by the Vatican. She said: “All oppression creates a state of war.” She is also one of the few female philosophers who is well known.
18. Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth Ann Warren is an American politician and academic, serving as the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts since 2013. She also just ran for the Democratic nomination of the U.S.A. Although she has just dropped out of the debate, she is widely regarded as the first female candidate who stands for the Millennium woman’s ideals.
19.Germaine Greer. Most famous for The Female Eunuch, which argued that women have been repressed and alienated from their own bodies and sexuality, and that sexual liberation is the key to women’s liberation. A leader of the second wave of the women’s movement of the Sixties and Seventies, Greer now feels feminism has not gone far enough. She believes that women are now “settling” for less than total equality.
20. Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai became the youngest (shared) winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. The Pakistani schoolgirl is famous for advocating girls schools, writing for the BBC about Taliban rule in her town. She was shot in the head in 2012 and recovered, carrying on her quest for female education. Yousafzai was on Time magazine’s 2013 list of the globally influential people. She says: “I believe it’s a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear and if a woman can go to the beach and wear nothing, then why can’t she also wear everything?”
Do you have any favourite female heros you think we’ve missed? Name them below!