Impactful Women in History
March 09, 2022
Michelle Obama once said, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” March is Women’s History Month and we want to honor some brilliant women that have made an impact in history and whose incredible accomplishments still influence us today.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her many self portraits and her depictions of nature. She is a representation of an “Unapologetic Woman,” and became a role model for her feminist beliefs. Kahlo painted images of her body, even of her injuries after her horrific bus accident because she thought it was important to eliminate women's stereotypes. The artist had once said that she would not restrict her self-expression just to fit society’s idea of what a woman should look like. Frida Kahlo passed away in 1954 due to chronic health issues but her work continued to be studied throughout many years after and remains an icon for female creativity.
Rosa Parks is known for her leadership in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955. The boycott was a protest against segregated seating and consisted of over 17,000 African Americans refusing to ride city buses. After 13 long months, bus seating segregation was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956. Parks stood alongside influential civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jo Ann Robinson, dedicating the rest of her life and career to fighting for equality and justice. She was given the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest honor the U.S. can award a civilian.
Often called the “The First Lady Of Physics,” Chien-Shiung Wu became one of the most influential female physicists. She is most known for her major contributions to nuclear research which led to the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. In 1956, Wu helped prove a theory about beta decay alongside two male colleagues, and although their findings led to a Nobel Prize, Chien-Shiung Wu was not acknowledged, which was the case for many other female scientists at the time. Later on in her career, she went on to become the first female president of the American Physical Society. Wu’s legacy lives on and serves as an inspiration to numerous women pursuing a career in STEM.
Venus and Serena Williams
These names dominate the sports world and both of these women can’t go unnoticed for their impeccable skills and determination. Venus and Serena Williams were both coached by their father, Richard, at the early ages of four years old. Their tennis careers took off after moving to Florida to practice the sport professionally. The two were regarded as having immense power and aggression when playing tennis, but yet still maintained such grace. In 1999 and 2000, each of them won singles titles in the Grand Slam finals, making them the first sisters in tennis history to hold such titles.
Malala Yousafzi is an education advocate from Pakistan, who became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17. Her activism began at an even earlier age after she started going to school, however, in 2008 the Taliban began to attack her school. She publicly spoke out about the Taliban denying her basic right to an education and she wrote about her experience on a BBC blog. Malala started to grow a following as she continued to advocate for herself and all women the right to a basic education. The Taliban had marked Malala as a threat and target. At 15 years old, she was shot while on her way home from school but survived after several surgeries and fortunately there was no severe brain damage. Malala is still actively promoting girls education and has founded her own organization called the Malala Fund.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Appointed as the second woman to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a major advocate for women’s rights and equality. She attended Columbia Law School where she graduated first in her class, however, experienced gender discrimination while looking for jobs. Ginsburg later became the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School teaching from 1972-1980. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court and she was infamous for showing her strong support in gender equality, the rights of workers, and the separation of church and state. She gained attention with her dissenting opinions and never missed an opportunity to speak against rulings she didn’t agree with. Ginsburg passed in 2020 but will be remembered for eternity.
These are just a few of the numerous women that have made history and paved the way for women everywhere. These stories along with many others should be celebrated and serve as inspiration. These groups of women have shown that in the face of opposition and criticism, there really is no limit as to what women can accomplish and make an immense impact in our world.