For women, the fight for freedom and equality has been a long one and continues even today. In every generation, there have been a few leading ladies who took the road less traveled and became a role model for others. Be it politics, science, literature, entertainment or business women have proved their worth in every field. Women are dreamers, challengers, achievers, the pioneers of change. They are anything but ‘the weaker sex’!
They say “Behind every successful man, there is a woman”. However, for some women, standing behind a successful man was not enough. They had the courage to step forward and fight for what they believed in. They overcame barriers, shattered stereotypes and became an inspiration for generations to come. Here are ten amazing women who were strong enough to overcome all hurdles, break the rules, follow their dreams and achieve great success in their respective fields!
The ‘Queen of Pop’ is one of the most successful artists of all times. Popularity, money and a global fan base, this wonder woman has it all. Madonna proved that there is no age to be fabulous. At 55, she is still going strong and making headlines! She keeps reinventing herself when it comes to her music and her looks and this has helped her survive in the industry for over 30 years. Often blamed for ‘not acting her age’ this powerful woman follows her heart and does not fear being criticized.
9. Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart and her achievements helped women reach new heights, well quite literally. She was the first women to fly solo across Atlantic and receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. She made a name for herself in a male dominated society. This adventurous woman proved that no dream is too big.
8. Joan of Arc
A woman on battlefield was quite unimaginable back in the 15th century but Joan of arc was a wonderful exception. She successfully led the French army against English invaders. Joan of Arc died a tragic dead when she was tried and executed for heresy at the age of 19. However, Joan of Arc was declared a martyr after 24 years of her death. She was beatified and canonized in 1909 and 1920 respectively. Her heroic deeds and courage continue to inspire people even today!
7. Marie Curie
Marie curie is known for her groundbreaking research on radioactivity. This knowledge of radiation is used for harnessing nuclear power and treating tumors among other things. She led the radiology services for Red Cross during the First World War and set up research centers in Europe. Other than being the first women to receive a Nobel Prize, she is the only woman to receive two Noble Prizes in two different categories, the first one in physics (which she shares with her husband) and the second one in chemistry. Marie Curie’s contribution in the field of science is great. Curie was famous yet humble and extremely dedicated to her work. In the worlds of Albert Einstein “Marie Curie is of all celebrated beings, the one whom fame has not corrupted”.
6. J.K. Rowling
She was a single mother fighting with depression and living on benefits and all it took her was five years to become a multi millionaire! J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishers before a small British publishing house agreed to publish her book ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (the very first book in the series). The Harry Potter series consists of seven books and has sold over 450 million copies. She is credited with making kids fall in love with reading once again. Rowling inspires us to believe in our dreams, face rejections and never give in.
5. Emmeline Pankhrust
Emmeline Pankhurst is known as the mother of Suffrage movement. She founded the ‘Women’s Franchise League’ in 1889 and the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’ in 1905. From long hunger strikes ending in force feeding to being arrested, nothing could stop Emmeline from fighting the biased political system which denied women the right to vote. It was due to her endless efforts that women over 30 were given the right to vote in the year 1918. Finally, in 1928, women were given same voting right as men in U.K. She contributed in empowering women all over the world and this makes her one of the most inspirational women of all times.
4. Marilyn Monroe
Norma Jeane Baker, popularly known as Marilyn Monroe, was a smart and seductive woman who knew what she wanted and had the ability go out and get it. She gained a lot of popularity owning to her breathtaking beauty and curvaceous body but that was not enough for her. She wanted something more than the popularity that her ‘dumb blond image’ got her. Marilyn Monroe wanted to be taken as a serious actress and to improve her skills she studied at the extremely popular Actor’s Studio. She even started her very own production company known as the ‘Marilyn Monroe productions’ with her friend Milton Greene, a very rare thing to do for actresses in those days. Difficult childhood, unhappy relationships, miscarriages, failure, nothing could stop Marilyn Monroe from becoming one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood.
3. Margaret Thatcher
She is known as the ‘iron lady’ owning to her exceptional leadership qualities and strong will. Margaret Thatcher was the first (and only) women to hold the position of the Prime Minister in U.K. At the time when she came to power, U.K was losing its position of a world power and the economy was in a mess. Margaret took some really bold steps to save her beloved country and this brought her much criticism, sometimes from her very own supporters. She proved that women have what it takes to be a strong political leader!
2. Oprah Winfrey
From extreme poverty to sexual and physical abuse, this leading lady has seen it all. Instead of turning hopeless and bitter because of the hardships of her life, she turned out to be empathetic, sensitive and compassionate. This is what helped her turn her life around. It was her ability to connect with those in distress which made her talk show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ one of the highest rated programs of its time. Other than being an extremely successful actor, talk show host and producer, Oprah Winfrey is also known for her philanthropic work having donated more than $300 million to charitable causes. In the year 2003, Oprah became the first female African-American billionaire. She continues to inspire millions of girls who dare to dream big!
1. Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa is an exemplary woman who completely dedicated her life for making the world a better place. She became a nun at the age of 18. In 1950, mother Teresa established a Roman Catholic religious congregation called ‘Missionaries of Charity’ which aimed at serving ‘poorest of the poor’. The congregation is active in about 133 different countries. Her selfless efforts for helping those in needs were rewarded by Kennedy Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize. On being asked how we can promote world peace Mother Teresa replied ‘go home and love your family’.