There are millions of incredible, amazing women making waves and changing the world for the better every day. This International Women’s Day we wanted to tell you about our top ten inspiring and influential women that we think you should know about. We had to make some hard choices narrowing down this list, so we 100% encourage you do your own research too.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
She’s an award-winning novelist and a TEDx speaker.
You might recognise her brilliant talk ‘We should all be feminists’, as it was sampled in Beyonce’s track ‘Flawless’. Not to mention she’s also currently the face of Boots No7. In short: she’s AWESOME.
2. Yusra Mardini
Though she didn’t win a medal, Yusra hit the headlines during the Rio Olympics last year as an athlete with an incredible story. Originally from Syria, Yusra escaped along with her sister on a boat heading to Greece. Part way into the journey, the motor died. Yusra, her sister and another woman swam for three hours to pull the boat into shore.
3. Mae Carol Jemison
Dr Jemison was the first African-American female astronaut. And if that wasn’t enough of an achievement, she’s a qualified M.D who’s previously worked in the Peace Corps as the area medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, as a Professor-at-large for Cornell University and is currently Principal of the 100YSS Foundation. Plus, she was the first real astronaut to appear in an episode of Star Trek (TNG episode “Second Chances”). She’s cool AF basically.
4. Lizzie Valesquez
You may not recognise her name, but you’ll have probably seen her face after her photo was used in a body-shaming meme. In 2006 She was dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Woman”, but far from letting this stop her, she’s used her voice to help spread messages of positivity - speaking out against bullying. A genuinely motivational speaker whose TEDx talk (“How do you define yourself?”) is well worth a listen.
5. Amal Clooney
You’ll almost certainly have heard of Amal Clooney, but beyond the tabloid articles dissecting her life and fashion to excruciating detail, she’s a whip-smart lawyer who specialises in Human Rights (amongst other things). When she’s not in the courtroom she’s also lectured on Human Rights and Criminal Law - last year she was a visiting faculty member at Columbia Law School and she’s president of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
6. Anne McLaren
The daughter of a wealthy English family, McLaren studied Zoology at Oxford, where she specialised in genetics. From there she went on to be the first to create a litter of mice from embryos which were fertilized outside of the host womb. This then led the way for research into IVF in humans and which has given hope to many struggling parents in the world today.
7 J.K. Rowling
Despite the obvious HP series, which has given love to the world over. JK was working at Amnesty International before she rose to fame. Since, she established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget of £5.1 million to combat poverty and social inequality <3 All from writing down her ideas after missing a train!
8. Sylvia Pankhurst
Deffo the underrated suffrage defender! Emmeline’s daughter Sylvia fought for universal suffrage, for women of all backgrounds and beliefs. She also worked alongside men, which the suffragettes would not, to fight for equality on both sides. She was also the first Briton to employ a black journalist and was part of the founding Women’s Peace Party. What a woman!
9: Marsha P. Johnson
A transgender woman who was a key figure in the Stonewall Riots, which was the uprising against New York’s anti-LGBT community. Still to this day we celebrate these Riots with Gay Pride. Johnson also worked with LGBT members who had been left homeless due to their sexual preference, establishing “STAR”, allowing trans and gay members to come together and live together. As well as “Gay Liberation Front” which allows sexual freedom for all, because who doesn’t like being in love?
10: Corazon Aquino
The first female president of the Philippines and within Asia. After the assassination of her husband and finding herself in power, she took the opposite views, giving power to the people. Campaigning for civil liberties and human rights, and on peace talks to resolve the ongoing Communist insurgency and Islamist secession movements, she was named as Time’s Woman of the Year in 1985. Yes, Girl Power!
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