Over the years, women have immensely contributed to making the world a better place. We have shown strength, courage and resistance in seeking development. For this reason, it is important we celebrate ourselves by remembering the accomplishments of women who changed the world.
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is an icon in the struggle for girls’ rights. She was shot at the age of 15 by the Taliban who attempted to assassinate her for demanding a right to education for herself and other girls. She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner of all time.
2. Ellen Sirleaf – Johnson
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, was the first elected female head of state in Africa when she took office as the President in January 2006. She immediately signed a Freedom of Information bill which was the first of its kind in West Africa and made reduction of the national debt a cornerstone of her Presidency. She was also known for her commitment to fighting dictators, corruption and poverty through empowerment of women and girls. President Sirleaf was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace prize for her role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality.
3. Dr Mae Carol Jemison
Dr Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She is the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle, Endeavour. Before her career in NASA, she worked in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand and served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
4. Marie Curie
Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Peace prize twice. In 1903 Curie was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in physics for her work on radioactivity, and 1911 she received a second Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry for her study of the elements polonium and radium.
5. Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks, an American poet, author, and teacher was the first woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize In Poetry. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community.
6. Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was the first and only female prime minister of India till date. She was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was elected prime minister in 1980, before she was assassinated by two of her bodyguards in 1984.
7. Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a political activist who founded an underground organization to resist the military dictatorship. In 1988, she became Prime Minister at only 35 years old. Thus, she was one of the youngest chief executives in the world, and the first woman to serve as prime minister in an Islamic country. She was assassinated in 2007 while leaving a campaign rally. While in office, Benazir Bhutto initiated an anti-corruption campaign, electrified the countryside and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing and healthcare her top priorities, and sought to modernize Pakistan.