Despite the famous saying that “Men rule the world”, no one can argue with the fact that there are many women who made a huge impact on our society throughout history. Women were oppressed for many years, but that didn’t stop them to make amazing achievements in almost every field possible.
Over the course of the history, women fought for their rights to be educated, to vote and to be equal with men. During these times they showed their strength, courage, heart and intelligence.
From the most strong fighters to the ones who shared peace and harmony in the world, here are the Top 10 most influential women in the world.
1. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc, a fearless warrior who was considered a heroine of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, was born in 1412 in a poor farmer’s house. She was deeply religious and it’s known that she started hearing voices, allegedly from saints, that helped her make many victories in the war. She became recognized not only as a famous heroine, but was received as a leader and founder of the feminist movement. Joan came to represent more than just a simple-minded girl lost in history books, she symbolized individual and independent thinking.
2. Marie Curie
This Nobel Prize winner is one of the most appreciated people in the history of science, and in the world as well. Marie and her husband, Pierre, made great discoveries with their research on radioactivity, therefore she become the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman, to win it twice.
3. Rosa Parks
She was an African-American Civil Rights activist and was known as the “first lady of civil rights”, or “the mother of the freedom movement”. She dedicated her life to fight against the racial segregation and collaborated with civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King. Her fight started when she refused to give up her seat in the colored section in the bus to a white person after the white section was filled, for what she was arrested.
4. Emmeline Pankhurst
Emmeline Pankhurst is the most well-known name in the movement for the women’s right to vote in Britain. After she attended her first women’s suffrage meeting at fourteen, Emmeline became inspired with the goal of getting women the vote and greater social equality. Despite all the hard work, she didn’t live to see the results of her struglle. The equality in voting came in 1928, shortly after her death.
5. Katharine Hepburn
Hepburn was a Hollywood actress who refused to conform to society’s expectations of women. She was outspoken, athletic, assertive and wore trousers before it was fashionable for woman to wear them. Hepburn lived independently almost all of her life, and represented the “modern woman” in the 20th century. She won 4 academy awards for Best actress, the most an actress has ever won.
6. Florence Nightingale
A woman who saved many lives during the Crimean War. She was a nurse who helped revolutionize the service of nursing and the treatment of patients. In the beginning, the nurses were not even allowed to treat the dying men, they were only instructed to clean the hospital. But, eventually the number of casualties became so overwhelming the doctors asked Florence and her team of nurses to help. By the time she returned home she had become a national heroine, and received many awards including one from Queen Victoria.
7. Mother Theresa
Born in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia in 1910, Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as Mother Theresa, was an Albanian humanist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, one of the highest awards an individual can get. With the money from the award ($90,000.00 ) instead of using it for herself, she fed many people. Mother Theresa fought both hunger and poverty and wanted to make the world a peaceful place.
8. Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and she paved the way for democracy in India until her assassination in 1984. She was the first female Prime Minister, and was voted the greatest woman of the past thousand years in a poll carried by BBC, ahead of other notable woman such as Marie Curie or Mother Theresa.
9. Oprah Winfrey
Who said that woman cannot be as successful as man are in the business field? Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host, actress, producer and a philanthropist. She is currently the only North America’s black billionaire. Born in poverty, raised by a single mother, raped at age 9, and a mother at age 14, she had her difficulties, but managed to overpower all of this and to become one of the most influential women in history.
10. Malala Yousafzai
A lot younger than the previous 9 women, Malala is a Pakistani school pupil who fights for women’s right for education. In retaliation for her high profile campaign for education and criticism of the Taliban, she was shot in the head at close range by a Taliban gunman. She survived the gunshot wound and has become a leading spokesperson for human rights, education and women’s rights. She has received numerous peace awards, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.