10 Inspiring Women
International Women’s Day isn’t the only day to appreciate and spotlight females who have made a difference. Here are 10 women we find inspiring.
1. Marie Curie – First Woman to Win the Nobel Prize
Marie Curie was born in Poland to a family of prominent educators. She had to study underground because she wasn’t accepted to study in the man-only university in her country. She moved to France to study her PhD and became the first woman to finish PhD. That was where she met her husband, Pierre Curie. The talented scientist couple discovered the element Polonium (named after Marie’s homeland) and then Radium. After the death of Pierre in 1906, Marie took up his teaching and became the first female Professor at the Sorbonne. During the World War I, Marie worked tirelessly with the Red Cross to help wounded soldiers. Under her direction, earliest surgical radiotherapy treatments were used to attack cancerous cells and then save millions of lives years after her death. With the great discoveries and tremendous contribution to world science, Marie was the first woman to be given the Nobel Prize and the only woman in history who won the award in two different fields: Physics and Chemistry.
2. Oprah Winfrey – Queen of All Media
Oprah Winfrey was born in a rural town of Mississippi, United States in 1954. She had a difficult childhood and was sexually abused by male relatives and friends of her mother. She eventually ran away from home, and at the age of 14 gave birth to a boy who shortly died after. But the tragedies didn’t stop her from being successful. She hosted the highest ranked talk show in history, the “Oprah Winfrey show”, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “The Color Purple” and became the richest African American of the 20th century. Oprah’s Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls’ education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
3. Junko Tabei – First Woman to Reach the Summit Everest
Junko Tabei was born in Fukushima, Japan. She was attracted to mountain climbing by her experience of climbing Mount Nasu with a teacher when she was ten years old. She began to climb in 1962 after finishing her study at the Showa Women’s University. On May 16th 1975, Junko became the first woman to reach the summits of the world’s highest peak Everest in 1975. She still climbs at least 3-4 mountains per year and currently is the director of an organization dedicated to preserving the mountain environment.
4. Coco Chanel – Fashion Designer and Founder of Chanel
Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. Her mother died when she was a child, leaving her father with 5 children. He couldn’t afford to raise them so he sent them out to various relatives. Little Chanel was sent to the orphanage of the Catholic monastery of Aubazine where she was taught how to sew – a skill that would lead to her life career. She started her first shop in Paris in 1910 selling hats, and later add more stores making clothes. In 1920s, she took her business into a new height when she introduced the first perfume feature designer’s signature, the Chanel no.5. She gained success as both a business woman and fashion icon and became the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
5. J.K. Rowling – Author of “Harry Potter” Series
J.K Rowling’s life is a success story of a woman who overcame her tragedies to become rich and famous. She came up with the idea of “Harry Potter” in 1990. The seven-year period after followed with the death of her mother, the divorce with her first husband and poverty. In 1997, the first novel of the series – “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” – was published and gained worldwide attention. From a woman living on government’s benefits, J.K Rowling became one of the richest people in the world within five years thanks to the success of the books.
6. Gloria Steinem – Writer & Leader of the Feminist Movement
Gloria Steinem is most well-known for being an award-winning leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. She’s also the Founder of Ms.; an American Liberal Feminist magazine where gender equality, abortion, domestic violence and other women’s issues are at the forefront of the magazine. In 2011, HBO released documentary, “Gloria: In Her Own Words“, about Gloria’s transformation from reporter to activist. She continues to act as an international organizer, lecturer and spokeswoman.
7. Sass Brown – Sustainable Fashion Pioneer
Sass Brown is Acting Associate Dean for the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Sass started as a designer for large manufacturers and some small corporations in Latin America. Now she is a global leader in the eco fashion movement. She has published papers, spoken, taught and advised women cooperatives, educational institutions, governmental agencies, NGO’s, SME’s and the creative industries in Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Chile, Sri Lanka, Korea, China, Italy, France, US, Canada and the UK, on the topic of sustainable design. As sustainable fashion advocates ourselves, we see her as an extremely influential and inspiring woman!
8. Amelia Earhart – First Female Aviator to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean
Amelia Earhart wasn’t afraid to break down barriers. In her career and the philosophy of her life, she believed in women empowerment. Her flight from Newfoundland to Burry Port, Wales in 1928 made her the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger. Four years later, Amelia soloed the same ocean and proved to the world that women can be as equal as men to do physical and challenging jobs. It was very important because there was few career choices for women at that time. Her actions inspired generations of women immediately after to follow their dreams and dare to accomplish things that have never been done by women before.
9. Anna Fisher – First Mother in Space
Anna Fisher was born on August 24, 1949 in New York city. She grew up in San Pedro, California and finished her Bachelor Degree in 1971. In 1978, Fisher was selected as an astronaut candidate and became eligible for assignment on a ace mission. In 1983, Fisher gave birth to her first child. On November 8, 1984, Fisher became the first mother in space when she launched. She took an extended leave of absence from NASA in 1988 to raise her two daughters, but returned in 1996 and continues to work for NASA to this day.
10. Kathrine Switzer – First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon
Kathrine Switzer started running at age 12 and was encouraged to run a mile a day by her father to join the field hockey team in her school. At age 20, Switzer ran the all-man Boston Marathon. Participating in the Boston Marathon in 1967 as a woman was a great challenge. She finished the race at about 4 hours 20 minutes, though her participation is recorded as unofficial. Her action has empowered women all over the globe to push boundaries.