“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity,”—Gandhi. From breaking the chains of oppression and racism to holding higher post in corporate world, women have really been on the forefront of every moment in the world.
As we have entered in the month that celebrates International Women’s Day to mark women’s achievements, success and contribution to the world, it is time to honor and appreciate the spirit of womanhood. Let’s have a look at these 10 women who decided to walk on a path not chosen by many, as compiled by iDiva.
She needs no introduction. With her immense work towards the poor and serving the needy, Mother Teresa earned a special place in millions of hearts. While guiding the expansion of Missionaries of Charity at first in India and later in other countries, for over 4 decades, she ministered the poor, sick, dying and orphaned.
Seen as a saint, she was honored by Pope John Paul II following her death and gave her the title ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.’ Mother Teresa started her mission in India and succeeded in bringing people from all societies under one roof, on the grounds of humanity. During the year 1950, Mother established the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. The missionary took care of the weak and homeless people in the Indian society. She received various awards like The Nobel Prize, Ramon Magsaysay and Padmashri Award for her services. She was fondly called as Mother by innumerable. In her quest to serve the needy, she finally laid down forever on September 5, 1997.
The Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, was renowned for her fund-raising work for international charities, and was a celebrated figure of the late 20th century. Princess Diana’s signature style and compassion are still remembered with great admiration.
With her charismatic appearance, she is still regarded as one of the most photographed women in the world. She was born into an aristocratic English family with royal ancestry. Princess Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. There was a lot of media attention and public mourning after her death in a car crash in Paris in August 1997. To this day, she is not only remembered for her beauty, but also for being a good and compassionate person, a devoted mother and a strong woman.
When people bags awards and recognition for being in the field of education, this teenage girl was shot at her head for her speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008.
The title of her speech was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” She is now recognized worldwide for her courage and fearlessness for standing up against the Taliban and protesting for education for girls. This Pakistani girls’ education activist has been named among the 16 most influential teens of 2013 by Time magazine. Despite the Taliban’s threats, Yousafzai remains a staunch advocate for the power of education for girls.
‘We live in deeds, not in years,’ this saying is well versed with the life of Anne Frank. She is one of the most discussed Holocaust victims. Known primarily through her diary, which was published after her death, her writing conveys both the terror of her family’s situation and the romantic longings of a typical teenage girl.
The diary documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It was Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, who led to its publication in 1947. It has since been translated into many languages. It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. Though her life was cut short early, she is still remembered for her undying spirit even at the most critical time.
Savitri Bai Phule
Savitribai Phule was a social reformer who along with her husband, Rashtrapita Jyotirao Phule, played an important role in changing the women’s rights in India.
Phule was born in Naigaon village in Maharashtra to LaxmiBai and Khandoji Navse Patil in the year 1831. Life was never easy for Phule as a teacher in the school, upper caste people were against setting up school for the girls. They pelted stones at her and even threw dung on her. She faced oral abuse from all quarters of the village. Despite all this, Phule voiced her views against child marriage, Sati and relentlessly helped the kids to be enlightened with education. Unfortunately, she succumbed to plague and died in the year 1897.
Agatha Christie was one of the most successful crime novelists and playwrights of the 20th century. It is her shyness that led her to the world of writing where she wrote detective fiction with endearing characters, including the world-famous detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Not only did Christie write 82 detective novels, but she also jot down an autobiography, a series of six romance novels, under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and 19 plays, including The Mousetrap, the world’s longest running theatrical play in London. More than 30 of her murder mystery novels have been made into motion pictures, including Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and Death on the Nile (1978). She holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the best-selling novelist so far.
Till today, Marilyn Monroe’s popularity with popular culture are endless as many people still loves her acting, fashion, singing and style.
However, it is her damn care nature that people adore her most. Apart from her professional skills, she inspires women to be confident and happy with their sexuality. Monroe was the most iconic actress of her times who refined the term ‘sexy’. She has accomplished much more than she set out to do–she inspired generations of women to use glamour as a tool for survival.
Marie Curie, a French-Polish physicist and chemist, was famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. Curie happens to be the only woman to win a Nobel Prize twice. In 1903, she won the Nobe Prize in Physics in recognition of her joint research on the radiation phenomena being initially discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel. In the year 1911, she took home her second, Nobel Prize, this time for her contribution to Chemistry.
It was Curie who created the word ‘radioactivity’ and found out that radiation can kill cells in human beings. It is based on the valuable research done by her; physicians learned the capability of radiation in destroying tumor cells. The idea of X-ray machine is also the brain child of Curie and it is quite obvious that her contributions could have given her a fortune, but she did not even apply for a patent! “Marie Curie is, of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted,” Einstein once commented about Curie.
Indira Gandhi, India’s first female Prime Minister, ruled with an iron fist–thereby earning herself the name ‘Iron Lady of India’. She served as the Prime Minister of India for 3 consecutive terms, as well as a fourth term. Indira Gandhi evokes images of a strong and determined woman.
Born into an affluent and powerful family, Indira Gandhi learnt the ropes of politics at a very young age. She was credited for supporting India’s nuclear weapons program that helped establish India as a formidable force. She also known for boosting the Green Revolution, a program which enabled India to not only become self-sufficient to a large extent in terms of food supply, but also established India’s presence as a major food exporter.
Irom Sharmila also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” is a civil rights as well as a political activist. She is an example of a woman’s perseverance.
Since 2 November 2000, she has been on a hunger strike to demand that the Indian government abolish the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which is a cause for violence in Manipur and other parts of northeast. Not having food or water for over a decade, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. She is on a continuous hunger strike for past 13 years. She has certainly shown the world the choice to live without fear in one’s own homeland.
Golda Meir (May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of Israel.
Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel’s first and the world’s third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir “the best man in the government”; she was often portrayed as the “strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people”.
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