You’ve heard of International Women’s Day… but did you know that March is Women’s History Month? It’s a time to learn more about and celebrate the women who, throughout history, have stood up, spoken up, or in other ways made a difference in their community—and in our world. Scientists, writers, musicians, activists, artists… Which women throughout history have inspired you?
5 Incredible, Inspirational Women in Modern History
History is riddled with stories of incredible women. Women have been changing the world—and the ways it views women—for hundreds of years. Activists like Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline Pankhurst (UK) fought for women’s right to vote. Scientist Marie Curie forever changed modern medicine. Athletes and fashion icons constantly redefine expectations and limitations for women.
Throughout history, women have helped to shape the world into what it is today. And in honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to share five women we believe are truly inspirational.
Tarana Burke is an American activist from the Bronx and the original founder of the MeToo movement. After graduating from college, Burke worked with survivors of sexual violence and developed an all-girls nonprofit called “Just Be” in 2003. In 2006, she founded MeToo to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault in society.
Over a decade later, in 2017, #MeToo became a viral hashtag in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Later, Time Magazine named Burke a “silence breaker” and the 2017 Time Person of the Year.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist and writer of the acclaimed memoir I Am Malala. Her father was an education activist, and she followed in his footsteps from a young age. When she was just 12 years old, she wrote a blog detailing her life during the Pakistanti Taliban occupation. After a journalist made a documentary of her life, she quickly rose in prominence.
In 2012, she was shot by a Pakistani Taliban gunman. She survived. After relocating to England, Malala founded a nonprofit aimed at advocating for women’s education. She also wrote an international bestseller and received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. At age 17, she received a Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.
Maya Angelou is perhaps one of the most well-known female writers and poets in American history. However, she was much more than that. She was an actress, director, and producer of plays, movies, and TV shows. She worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was a correspondent in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was also an active player in the Civil Rights movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.
Among her accomplishments is a series of seven autobiographical books, the most famous of which is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Alongside Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison was an incredibly inspirational American writer, novelist, and essayist. Her best-known works include novels such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
After graduating with a master’s in 1955 from Cornell University, Toni became the first black female fiction editor at Random House in New York City. She went on to publish books of her own, most of which addressed the strong presence of racism in the US.
Wangari Muta Maathai
Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in 1940 in Nyeri, Kenya, Maathai was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her dedication to “sustainable development, democracy, and peace”. She played an active role in Kenya’s fight for democracy.
Maathai was the first female doctorate scholar from East and Central Africa and the first female professor in Kenya. In 1977, she started a grassroots movement aimed at combating deforestation in Kenya. The movement spread to other African countries and led to the planting of over 30 million trees across the continent.
Which Women Inspire You?
These five women made a huge impact on their communities, and the world. Their names, their stories, and their impact will be remembered for decades to come. But sometimes the smallest acts of kindness and courage can make the biggest difference. Sometimes a small step can be a big accomplishment. You may not be Malala or Maya Angelou, but you might still have changed the world in your own way.
Are there women in your life who’ve been a big inspiration? As a woman-owned and operated company, we want to hear about them! Women’s History Month is all about celebrating the accomplishments of women, big and small. So if there’s a woman in your life who never ceases to amaze you, let us know. Let them know. Let the world know!