International Women’s Day 2018 saw women and men take to the street worldwide in protest of female inequality, provoked by issues such as the gender pay gap, sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence against women worldwide.
International Women’s Day highlights women’s rights as human rights and many of the placards in the protests worldwide carried the message of disbelief that we still haven’t reached diversity and total equality of the sexes.
With this in mind, we look back in history to celebrate the achievements of remarkable women in politics, science and education, often against the odds.
These notable women can provide name inspiration if you’re expecting a baby girl. Names inspired by inspirational people can help carry the message on, determine and instil strong characteristics in a person, influenced by history and exemplary people.
Rosa Parks, 1913 – 2005
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American civil rights activist whose was famously arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man, a violation of Alabama’s racial segregation ordinances.
The United States Congress called Rosa Parks “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.
Rosa Parks stood up to two dangerously well-developed ideologies in America during that time, one about women and one about black people.
Sampat Pal Devi, 1960 – present day
Sampat Pal Devi as a social activist from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is the founder of the Gulabi Gang, an Uttar Pradesh-based social organisation for women’s welfare and empowerment.
At the age of 16, she took a stand against abusive husbands, when her neighbour was a victim of domestic violence. Sampat was enraged and encouraged local women to embarrass the neighbour’s husband – until he publicly apologised to his wife.
Sampat refuses help from officials or NGOs preferring to let her members, most of whom are from the lowest caste in Indian society, take matters into their own hands. The sisterhood has stormed police stations when officers have refused to register complaints of abuse against women, attacked men who have abused their wives, stopped child marriages and encourages girls to go to school.
Malala Yousafzai, 1997 – present day
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from going to school.
Malala and two other women were shot by a Taliban gunman while on a bus on their way home from an exam in October 2012. This was an assassination attempt in retaliation for Malala’s activism, which provoked an international outburst. In a critical condition having being hit by a bullet, Malala was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK.
Since recovering, Malala became a prominent education activist. Based in Birmingham, she founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organisation and in 2013 co-authored I am Malala, an international bestseller.
Marie Maynard Daly, 1921 – 2003
Marie Maynard Daly was the first African American woman in the United States to earn a PhD in chemistry, with Columbia University in 1947. She made many contributions to our current understanding of the composition and metabolism of components in the cell nucleus, and went on to develop programs to increase the number of minorities in medical schools and graduate science programs.
Grace Hopper, 1906–1992
Nicknamed ‘Amazing Grace’, Grace Hooper invented one of the first easy-to-use computer languages, COBOL, which enabled a significant advancement in computer programming and is still used today.
Hopper tried to enlist in the Navy during World War II, but she was rejected by the military because she was 34 years of age and considered too old to enlist, so instead she joined the Navy Reserves. Hopper began her computing career when she worked on the ‘Harvard Mark I’ team that was led by Howard H. Aiken.
She believed that computer code could be written in English by using a programming language that was based on English words, which is how we use computer coding in the present day.
Emmeline Pankhurst , 1858 – 1928
Emmeline Pankhurst is one of the most well-known people in the feminist movement. Emmeline was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement, who helped women win the right to vote.
Thanks to Emmeline’s tenacious politic activism, including many arrests and hunger strikes, in 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).
Florence Nightingale, 1820 – 1910
Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.
Mother Teresa, 1910 – 1997
Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun and missionary, famous and admired for her charitable work with the sick and poor. She spend time helping the poorest people in Calcutta India; working with lepers, outcasts and the homeless.
Helen Keller, 1880 – 1968
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Amelia Earhart, 1897 – 1939
Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
These are just some of the remarkable and influential women in world history who have contributed to the collective success and achievements of women.
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