Happy International Women’s Day! While strong, inspiring women are to be celebrated every day, today gives us a good opportunity to hear the selected ‘badassery’ of a few.
Of course, these are just the tip of amazing women through history and you can read a lot more about theirs and others lives whose stories are just as incredible and a lot.
Billie Jean King
Known for: Billie Jean King was the former World No.1 Tennis Player and the first prominent professional female athlete to come out as bisexual. She won the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match against another former male Champion Bobby Riggs. The match is considered a milestone in public acceptance of women’s tennis and the story around it was made into a film in 2017, with Emma Stone playing King’s character.
Famous Quote: “Ever since that day when I was 11 years old, and I wasn’t allowed in a photo because I wasn’t wearing a tennis skirt, I knew that I wanted to change the sport.”
Known for: A physicist and Chemist by profession, Marie Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. Not only was she the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she was the first person and only woman to win it twice and still the only person to win in two different sciences.
Famous Quote: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas”
Known for: Winning women in Britain the right to vote as the leader of the Suffragettes Movement.
Famous Quote: “We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.”
Known for: Writing the best-selling book series in the world, Harry Potter, and in the process going from living on state benefits to being the world’s first billionaire author. She went on to lose her billionaire status after giving away a lot of her money to charity. Known to support a number of causes in October 2010 she was named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain”.
Famous Quote: “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Known for: Though Michelle Obama came to attention as Former American President Obama’s wife, she quickly became a role model for women, LGBT Rights, an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating, most notably starting the ‘Let’s Move’ Initiative.
Famous Quote: “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
Known for: Born in Macedonia, Mother Teresa moved to and spent the rest of her life in India from the age of 18. During her time in India she worked extensively with the homeless, started schools and hospitals. For her work she received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award and was made a Saint.
Famous Quote: “Peace begins with a smile”
Known for: Being the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an activist for female education in Pakistan. In 2012, at the age of 15, she survived a Taliban assassination attempt despite being hit by a bullet. She founded the non-profit organisation, the Malala Fund, working to help keep young girls in education around the world. All this before she turned 20!
Famous Quote: “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
Known for: Now famous as the “first lady of civil rights”, in 1955 by simply refusing to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat in the “coloured section” to a white passenger, Rosa Parks became the face of the movement.
Famous Quote: “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Known for: Amelia was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She alsoset many other flying records, wrote best-selling books about her experiences and formed the Ninety-Nines, an organisation for female pilots. Adding to her legends, in 1937 during an attempt to make a circumnavigation flight of the globe, her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean and was never heard from again. Fascination with her achievements, life and disappearance continues to this day.
Famous Quote: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
Known for: In a time when men were the superstars of engineering and science she was the Director of the Software Engineering Division at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program.
Famous Quote: “There was no choice but to be pioneers; no time to be beginners.”
Known for: She was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0 at the Olympic Games. During her career Nadia won nine Olympic medals and four World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals, still regarded as one of the best gymnasts ever and credited with popularising the sport to the masses.
Famous Quote: “Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win.”
Known for: Being the first female tattoo artist in America, at a time when tattoos were frowned upon and women had vastly different rights.
(Image from television show Marco Polo)
Known for: As a Mongolian Warrior Princess, Khutulun vowed to only marry someone that could defeat her in battle or wrestling. If they didn’t, they would have to surrender their horse. Legend has it that she had nearly 10,000 horses by the end.
Known for: Hosting America’s most hilarious chat show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, coming out on national television, advocating for gay rights and voicing the adorable, Dory in Finding Nemo.
Famous Quote: “Be open to learning new lessons, even if they contradict the lessons you learnt yesterday.”
Known for: Doing this! Taken in Sweden in 1985, the photo shows Danuta, a holocaust survivor, hitting a Neo-Nazi walking through her town with her handbag. The photo went on to be chosen as Sweden’s photo of the year and later the Photo of the Century.