In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, the team at WonderFold Wagon wanted to give a huge shout out to all of the amazing women out there! Celebrated every year on March, this is a time to dedicated to honoring the achievements of women across the world and throughout history. Here are 31 bada** women who have changed history:
1. Sylvia Rivera
A forerunner in the fight against gender identity discrimination. In 1970, she co founded the youth shelter STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with African American trans activist Marsha P. Johnson (1945–1992), providing vulnerable and homeless trans teenagers with food and clothing.
2. Eleanor Roosevelt
Fought for expanded roles for women in the workplace, human rights, various women's issues, and more! Although she was widely respected in her later years, Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady at the time for her outspokenness, particularly on civil rights for African-Americans.
3. Amelia Earhart
In 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Over the next five years, she continued to break record after record. In June 1937 she began a flight around the world, becoming the first person to fly from the Red Sea to India. Sadly, she was reported missing on July 2nd while flying near Howland Island in the Pacific.
4. Carmen Perez
A civil rights activist who has worked to fight for women's rights and gender equity, violence prevention, mass incarceration, and community policing.
5. Helen Keller
Despite being blind and deaf since at the age of 19, she became one of the greatest leading humanitarians of her time. She was the first blind and deaf person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to become an American author, political activist, and lecturer.
6. Anne Frank
Frank was a German-born Dutch-Jewish diarist who was known for documenting her life during World War 2, when the Germans occupied the Netherlands. She helped to shine a light on what life was like during the war. Although her family was eventually caught and sent to concentration camps, her father survived and was able to recover and publish her diary.
7. Rachel Carson
Carson was a Marine Biologist whose work advanced environmental issues. She focused on conservation efforts and brought environmental concerns of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.
8. Ada Lovelace
An English mathematician who wrote one of the first algorithms for a machine, she was hailed as one of the first computer programmers.
9. Rita Leve- Montalcin
An Italian neurologist who received the 1986 Nobel Prize for her work on the discovery of a substance that stimulates and influences the growth of nerve cells. She also received numerous awards for her significant scientific contributions.
10. Michelle Obama
Served as a role model for women and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She also supported American designers and was considered a fashion icon.
11. Rosa Parks
Parks was a civil rights activist who refused to surrender her seat on a segregated bus. Her protest was supported by many other African Americans and sparked the civil rights movement which, in the 1960s, eventually won equal rights.
12. Jane Austen
One of the most famous figures in British history, Austen’s novels have gone on to become literary sensations. She was known primarily for challenging the social norm and the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security. Her works have been adapted many times in plays, films and TV series.
13. Maya Angelou
Angelou was a civil rights activist and novelist She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.
14. Queen Elizabeth I
During her reign, she established Protestantism in England, defeated the Spanish Armada, maintained peace inside her previously divided country and created an environment where the arts flourished. She was sometimes called the "Virgin Queen", as she never married.
15. Catherine the Great
Russia’s longest-ruling female leader. Known more for her affairs of the heart than for affairs of state, she nevertheless greatly expanded her country's empire.
16. Sojourner Truth
A former slave, she became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century.
17. Malala Yousafzai
A campaigner for girls' education from Pakistan. She was shot by the Taliban in 2012, when she was just 14 years old, but continued her work and became the youngest person ever to win the world-famous Nobel Peace Prize.
18. Marie Curie
Curie changed the world not once but twice. She was the first person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize twice in different categories. She founded the new science of radioactivity, where her discoveries launched effective cures for cancer.
19. Ada Lovelace
A gifted mathematician, Lovelace is considered to be the first computer programmer, an industry that has since transformed business, our lives and the world. In an industry still dominated by men, it’s fascinating that the first programmer was a woman.
20. Edith Cowan
Worked for the rights and welfare of both women and children. She is also known to be the first Australian woman to serve as a member of parliament.
21. Mary Anning
An English fossil collector, dealer, and paleontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel.
22. Emmeline Pankhurst
Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain. As a charismatic leader, Pankhurst roused thousands of women to demand for their democratic right in a mass movement that shook the foundations of British history. She was imprisoned 13 times, her name and cause becoming known throughout the world.
23. Rosalind Franklin
Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer who was known crucial to help understand the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. The life-changing innovations that followed helped to unravel the mysteries of heredity and the genome.
24. Margaret Thatcher
As Britain’s first female prime minister, she made history when she came to power at an uncertain time in the country’s history, as it faced political turmoil and economic recession. She set her country on a rightward economic course.
25. Angela Burdett-Coutts
Burdett-Coutts was a devout philanthropist who focused her work on behalf of the poor. She built homes for the poor and financed numerous social projects, including the redevelopment of East London.
26. Mary Wollstonecraft
An English writer and philosopher Wollstonecraft championed education and liberation for women. Her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was published in 1792 and is seen as one of the foundational texts of modern feminism.
27. Florence Nightingale
Nightingale was instrumental in establishing a permanent military nursing service and implementing improvements to the army medical services.
28. Marie Stopes
Stopes was an advocate of birth control and was an outspoken sex educator. Although she was a controversial figure, Stopes nonetheless was a key figure in fighting for women’s rights.
29. Diana, Princess of Wales
She became well known internationally for her charity work for sick children, the banning of landmines and for raising awareness about those affected by cancer, HIV/AIDS and mental illness.
30. Mother Teresa
She is famous for humbly ministering to lepers, the homeless and the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta (otherwise known as Kolkata), India. She was proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church in 2016.
31. Vera Atkins
At the end of the Second World War, as a member of the British War Crimes Commission, Atkins set out to find out what had become of the 118 SOE agents who had not made it home, establishing how and when they had died – she was able to trace all but one. Atkins was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1948 and appointed a Commandant of the Legion of Honor in 1987.
Who would you like to see on this list? Comment below, we'd love to hear your thoughts. :)