For centuries, women were the oppressed gender and they were not allowed the same rights as men. Would you believe there was a time when women did not have the right to an education? However, there were many women who lived their lives in a way that changed the social status of women all around the world and it is because of these women, who stood up to society, that gender equality has improved dramatically.
Standing Up To The Neo-Nazis
This woman was not going to bow down before the Neo-Nazis when she did not want Nazism to be revived. This picture was taken on April 13, 1985 in Växjö, Sweden, showing the woman hitting one of the supporters with her handbag. Her act of courage inspired everyone around her.
Marie Curie is a name that everyone in the scientific community has heard of. She hailed from Poland and is most famous for her work with radioactivity. She won the Nobel Prize twice and is an inspiration for all the women around the world that aim to pursue a career in science.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. The organizer, Jock Semple, realized in the middle of the race that Kathrine Switzer was not a man and tried to tackle her.
Margaret Heafield is another woman who has inspired thousands of women to go into science. She was the Director of Software Engineering for NASA’s Apollo Space Program. This picture was taken in 1969.
In 1963, Russian born Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to ever go into Space. She was on-board the Vostok 6.
This is a picture of one of the Onna-Bugeisha, the female Samurai Warriors of the Upper Bushi. The Bushi was a class of Samurais in Feudal Japan in the 1800’s.
Amelia Earhart is one of the most famous names in the world. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.
The Firefighters Of Pearl Harbor
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, there were a lot of first-responders who came forward. Among them was a group of women who were among the firefighters who doused the fires at Pearl Harbor.
Komako Kimura was a prominent Japanese women who was a part of the Suffrage movement. This is a picture of her marching down Fifth Avenue in New York City, demanding the right to vote on October 27, 1917.
Eliza Leonida Zamfirescu
Eliza Leonida Zamfirescu was the world’s first female engineer. Her thirst for knowledge has been an inspiration for all the women who have read her story.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks is the First Lady of Civil Rights. She refused to follow the bus driver’s order to relinquish her seat in the colored section in a bus to a white person after the whites-only section was filled.
Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu was a Romanian neurosurgeon and she is considered to be one of the first female neurosurgeons in the world. She decided to pursue her service in the medical field in an area that was dominated by her male counterparts.
Anne Frank was a German Diarist who was of Jewish origin. She was one of the victims of the Holocaust and her book gained popularity after her death in one of the camps.
Elderly Armenian Woman
A 106-year-old woman sits in front of her home guarding it with a rifle, in Degh village, near the city of Goris in southern Armenia. Armed conflicts took place in and around nearby Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory in Azerbaijan also claimed by Armenia.
Jane Goodall is an inspiration for all the women around the world. She has worked with apes her entire life and she is one of the world’s leading primatologists working hard to conserve the habitats of the apes.
Nadia Comaneci from Romania was the first woman to ever score a perfect 10 in Gymnastics at the Olympic Games.
Ana Aslan is considered to be one of the pioneers of Gerontology and Geriatrics. She was awarded the First Class of the Order of Merit, Germany in 1971, “Cavalier de la Nouvelle Europe” Prize Oscar, Italy in 1973, and many more accolades.
Maud Stevens Wagner
Maud Stevens Wagner was the first known tattoo artist in the United States of America. She became a tattoo artist in 1907, and since then, she has inspired millions of female Americans to pursue tattoo artistry as a career.
Mary Winsor was among the many women who protested in the suffrage movement. She holds up this banner in 1917, fighting for the rights of women.
Sarla Thakral was the first Indian woman to fly an airplane. She got her aviation pilot license at the age of 21 years in 1936 and flew solo in a Gypsy Moth.
There was a time when women were not allowed to wear just about anything. However, Annette Kellerman promoted women’s rights to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit and she was arrested for indecency.
Muslim Woman And Her Jewish Neighbor
In the 1940s, Jews were persecuted just for practicing their religion. However, in this picture in 1941 a Muslim woman covered the Yellow Star of her Jewish neighbor with her veil.
Bertha Von Suttner
Bertha Von Suttner is the first female peace activist and she was also the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Suu Kyi was the champion for democracy in Burma. She was actively involved in the protests in Pre-Democratic Burma and was placed under house arrest for 15 years.
Marina Ginestà was a French veteran from the Spanish Civil War. She had many famous pictures taken during her time of service in the war but this is the most famous picture of her from the top of Hotel Colón in Barcelona, and it was taken on July 21, 1936.
Taramon Bibi is one of the two female freedom fighters in Bangladesh. She was directly engaged in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
Annie Lumpkins was a Freedom Rider. She is pictured at the city jail in Little Rock July 10, 1961. She believed in women’s right to vote so much that she went to jail.
Sarmiza Bilcescu was the first woman in Europe to ever obtain a driving license and she also went on to get a PhD in Law from the University of Paris.
Fatima Al Fihri
Fatima Al Fihri was the founder of the first university in the world. She is credited with the opening of the first degree-awarding university in the world, University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco in 859 CE.
When you think about guns and ammunition, you might also stumble across the thought of bulletproof vests. But did you know that Kevlar was actually invented by a woman named Stephanie Kwolek?
Gertrude Caroline Ederle
The English Channel is a narrow strait that separates England from France. Gertrude Caroline Ederle became the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel in 1926.
Florence Nightingale was the first nurse to ever teach the patients about basic sanitation. She is also known as the Lady with the Lamp.
Anna Lee Fisher
Anna Lee Fisher became the first woman to ever become a mother in Space in 1984. She was an astronaut with NASA and flew into Space on the STS-51-A mission.
Maria Teresa De Filippis
For so long, the F1 racing had been a sport reserved only for men. However, Maria Teresa De Filippis decided to change that when she became the first female F1 driver in the world.
Ellen O’Neal is one of the most prominent freestyle female skateboarders on the planet. She has inspired millions of women to try their luck at skateboarding.
Women’s Liberation Coalition
This picture is from 1970 when the Women Liberation Coalition was demanding Equal Pay for women and men in the workplace. Even today, we can see many places in the world where this has not become a reality.
Mechanical jobs are often dominated by men but that does not mean that women cannot be good at them either. Here, we have a female Lockheed employee working on an airplane in 1944 in Burbank, California.
Everyone who is anyone in the programming world will recognize Ada Lovelace immediately. She is the world’s first programmer.
USAF Female Pilots
This picture was taken in the early 1940s when it was quite uncommon for women to be flying planes. However, we see these four pilots leaving their planes at the Four-Engine School at Lockbourne AAF.
The above picture is from the Gay Pride in 1972 in New York City. At the front of the parade, we can see Jeanne Manford marching with her son Morty.
Leola N. King
You might think that it is quite easy for women to become traffic cops today but things were a lot different in 1918 when Leola N. King became the first woman to become a traffic cop in Washington DC.
There is still a stereotype that has stood the test of time. When it comes to hard manual labor, most people would think that it is a job for men. However, even in 1918, these two women were breaking the stereotype by delivering ice.
When you look at the entire history of warfare, no woman comes close to Milunka Savić in being the most decorated female combatant. She is a Serbian war hero who fought in the Balkan Wars and in the First World War.
Senda Berenson introduced and adapted the rules for women’s basketball and she introduced the first basketball team comprised entirely of women in the form of the Smith College team, Class of 1902.
Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, Marxist feminist and author. She is also the founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
Kate Sheppard was the leader of the Women’s Suffrage movement in New Zealand and her efforts paid off quite handsomely. New Zealand became the first country to grant women the right to vote.
Hattie Larlham is believed to be the pioneer in the field of specialised care for developmentally disabled children.
Claudette Colvin was the first woman who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery Al Bus. She is believed to be the inspiration for Rosa Parks.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is one of the most celebrated female US Tennis players and she was also the first prominent athlete in US history to come out of the closet.
The credit for Mileva Maric is long overdue. You might have heard a lot about Einstein but did you know that she was his wife and also a genius physicist?
Sybil Ludington is a name that you might not have heard about in your textbooks at school. She was the one who alerted the Colonial forces of the British, riding continuously twice the distance of Revere.
Eliska Junkova was one of the racers at the Grand Prix, and one of the first women to become a Czech automobile racer, racing others in her Bugatti.
Dr. Wangari Maathai
Dr. Wangari Maathai was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize. She was also the one who was responsible for the Green Belt movement in 1977.
Simone Segouin was just 18 years old when she served as part of the French Resistance in 1944.
The Prisoner Couple At Walcheren
There were many prisoners taken on Walcheren and among them was this couple. This Dutch woman refused to leave her husband who was a German soldier.
Rachel Carson is one of the top names in biology as well as environmental studies. She dedicated her life to studying the various ways in which the marine life could be preserved.
Irena Sendler was a social worker hailing from Poland. During World War II, she became an activist for the Polish Underground and Polish Anti-Holocaust Resistance and helped nearly 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Julia Morgan was an architect and the first woman to ever graduate from The Ecole Des Beaux Arts De Paris.
Smaranda Brăescu hails from Romania and is a pioneer in Romanian parachuting. She also held multiple world records in her field.
Henryka Krzywonos, on August 15, 1980, stopped her streetcar while driving. This led to a series of events that followed shortly after that incident including the start of the Anti-Communist Strike in Poland.
R.A. Kartini dedicated her entire life to a rather generous cause. She was the voice for the Education of Indonesian Girls and Women’s Rights in Indonesia.
Commander Eileen Collins is a retired NASA astronaut and USAF colonel. She was the first woman to become a Space Shuttle Pilot and Mission Commander.
The Wipers In The Roundhouse
These women represent the women of the United States of America during the Second World War. Since almost all the men had left for the war, there were many jobs that were left vacant and women stepped up to fill those vacancies that were traditionally held by men.
Mary Harris Jones
Mary Harris Jones was also known as Mother Jones and she organized all the mine workers to fight for labor rights against the mine owners.
The Welder At The Richmond Shipyard
This picture was taken in 1943, showing another woman who was doing a job that was traditionally held by men. The picture was taken at the Richmond shipyard in California.
Muazzez İlmiye Çığ
Muazzez İlmiye Çığ is a Turkish archaeologist, Assyriologist and Sumerologist, specializing in the digs for the Sumerian civilization.
Women’s Liberation March, Washington DC, 1970
The Women’s Strike for Equality was a strike which took place in the United States on August 26, 1970. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which effectively gave American women the right to vote.
Sabiha Gokcen was the first Turkish pilot to fly in combat and she was also a world pioneer in combat flight at the age of 23.
Hedy Lamarr was once promoted as the World’s Most Beautiful Woman. She was a part of 30 films spread over a span of 28 years. She was an Austrian-American actress, inventor and film producer, all in one lifetime.
Irom Sharmila, also known as the “Iron Lady” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”) is a civil rights activist, political activist and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. She went on a hunger strike in 2000 against the Armed Forces Act.
This Native American Chief, known as Pine Leaf, is a true female warrior. She was brave and put her tribe behind a matriarchal leader.
Khertek Anchimaa-toka was a Soviet politician, who in 1940–44 was the Chairwoman of Little Khural of the Tuvan People’s Republic, and the first non-hereditary female head of state.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta left her home at the age of 18 to serve the people of the world. She received a Nobel Peace Prize, the Bharat Ratna and many more accolades for her work with the poor.
Ayesha Farooq is the first war-ready female fighter pilot in Pakistan, a country that is well-known for the oppression of women in their society.
Rita Levi-montalcini is a Nobel laureate who was recognized for her work in neurobiology. She was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor.
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells was a prominent journalist in the United States of America. Her most recognized work includes the work she did to report the lynchings across the United States.
Queen Tamar of Georgia
Queen Tamar was the first woman to rule over the Kingdom of Georgia. Her rule over the kingdom was somewhere between the 12th and the 13th century.
Simone De Beauvoir
Simone De Beauvoir wrote for a French magazine, “The Manifesto of the 343”, in 1971. It was due to her efforts that abortion became legal in France in 1975 and contraceptives became free in 1974.
Fatima Jinnah, widely known as Māder-e Millat, was a Pakistani politician, dental surgeon, stateswoman and one of the leading founders of Pakistan. She was the younger sister of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Winnie Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and the second wife of Nelson Mandela. She served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 2003, and from 2009 until her death, and was a deputy minister of arts and culture from 1994 to 1996.
Diana Nyad broke all age-related stereotypes when she swam unassisted without a shark cage for 2 days continuously, covering a distance of almost 180 kilometers in the ocean.
Christina Noble is an Irish children’s rights campaigner, charity worker and writer, who founded the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in 1989.
Countess Constance Markievicz
Countess Constance Markievicz was an Irish politician, revolutionary, nationalist, suffragist, socialist and the first woman elected to the Westminster Parliament. She was also the first female cabinet minister in Europe.
Maria Edgeworth was one of the first realist writers in children’s literature and was a significant figure in the evolution of the novel in Europe.
Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington was a suffragette and Irish nationalist. Along with her husband Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Margaret Cousins and James Cousins, she founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League in 1908 with the aim of obtaining women’s voting rights.
Rosalind Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.
Margaret “Iron Lady” Thatcher was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office.