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Inspirational Leaders Who Changed the Course of Women’s History

To celebrate this month of Women’s Appreciation, let’s turn back the clock and thank some of the women who made everything we have today possible. These women are inspirational, and they never let a man get them down. They persevered and paved paths for generations to come. Though it would be impossible to name them all, let’s give a shout-out to a few women who have changed our world.

1. Virginia Woolf

Courtesy: Britannica


January 25, 1882 - March 28, 1941

If you have never read a novel by author Virginia Woolf, I highly suggest that you change that right now. Right now. Go pick up a book. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, writing was not an acceptable profession for women; only men could be authors. Woolf also went on to inspire feminist movements in the later 1900s.

2. Eleanor Roosevelt

Courtesy: GW Today


October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962

Before Eleanor Roosevelt, the role of the First Lady was quite different. Roosevelt is America’s longest reigning First Woman. She was outspoken regarding what she believed in and was a huge advocate for women’s rights and African American rights.

3. Hedy Lamarr

Courtesy: Kaspersky Lab


 November 9, 1914 – January 19, 2000

We love a woman in STEM. Hedy Lamarr was not just beautiful, but she was brilliant. Hedy was born in Australia and would later become an American actress. After the beginning of World War 2, Hedy helped develop a system of guidance for Allies’ torpedoes. She also helped pioneer the way toward today's WIFI. You wouldn’t be reading this article without her influence!

4. Rosa Parks

Courtesy: Britannica


February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005,

One of America’s most influential women, Rosa Parks, without a doubt, has to be on this list. Also known by Congress as “The First Lady of Civil Rights,” Rosa Parks sparked the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

5. Indira Gandhi

Courtesy: ThoughtCo 


November 19, 1917 – October 31, 1984 (assassinated)

The most inspiring of this month is learning about female leaders that I never encountered before! Indira is one of those women. She was an Indian politician and the first (and only) female Prime Minister of India. She was assassinated in her garden by two of her own bodyguards.

7. Audrey Hepburn

Courtesy: All Posters 


May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993

We all know her and we all love her. Audrey Hepburn is an icon. She is known her for her beauty and for her acting. What most people don’t know is Hepburn was a great activist during her lifetime. At a young age, she was involved in the Nazi resistance. Her parents were both Nazi supporters. Hepburn retired from acting to do extensive work with UNICEF.

7. Maya Angelou

Courtesy: NY Times 


April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou could do just a little bit of everything. She was a great singer, writer, poet and civil rights activist. She has received numerous awards for her activism and her literature. She has published books of essays, books of poetry, plays, movies, and TV shows. Dr. Angelou’s message was that we should be inclusive to all despite our differences.

8. Gloria Steinem

Courtesy: Verily Mag 


March 25, 1934 –

The journalist and co-founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem is an American feminist and social-political activist. She is currently 84 years old and has been involved in movies such as RBG. She is known for her journalism and her involvement in the feminist movements during the 1960s and 1970s.

9. Oprah Winfrey

Courtesy: Variety 


January 29, 1954 –

Oprah is an actress and most famously a television show host. She is a philanthropist in the truest sense. Oprah is a legend. End of story.

10. Princess Diana

Courtesy: NDTV


July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997

As Americans, we have an obsession with the royal family. I would argue that this obsession really took off with Princess Diana. She was known as the “People’s Princess.” She was the mother of Prince Harry and Prince William. Princess Diana was known for her ability to connect with the people of Britain. She raised awareness for mental illness and HIV/AIDS, something that was virtually unheard of for a royal.

11. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Courtesy: BBC


March 15, 1933 -

The Notorious RBG. Definitely watch the movie.

12. Emma Watson

Courtesy: Marie Claire 


April 15, 1990 –

Emma Watson received her education from Brown University (I know you thought I was going to say Hogwarts). She is an actress most famously known for her role in the Harry Potter series. She is also a women’s rights activist. Watson is active with the HeForShe movement and has addressed the United Nations on such issues.

13. Malala Yousafzai

Courtesy: Forbes 


July 12, 1997 -

Malala is currently 21 years old. She is incredibly young for the impact she has already made. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is an activist for female education, and her activism almost cost her life. Malala has authored a book, I Am Malala, that gives insight into her story. I have read the book and I highly encourage you to pick it up!

14. Michelle Obama

Courtesy: Forbes 


January 17, 1964 –

Michelle Obama is the Former First Lady of the United States. Regardless of your views on her husband, Michelle has made a name for herself. She received her education from Harvard University. Michelle is not just a wife and mother, but she is also a college administrator. She is a writer and she is a lawyer. Michelle is currently touring with her latest book, Becoming.

This list does not even contain a fraction of the women who have been leaders across the globe. Women have, for a long time, been underappreciated for the work they have done to better the lives of many others. This month, give a little more appreciation to the women in your life and recognize the women who worked effortlessly to give you a better life.

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