In every generation, there are a few women who step forward and make an impact that transcends time. The actions of these women send ripples of change throughout history, influencing not only the people around them, but every generation that comes after them.
Female leadership has not always been recognized for its importance, but these leaders certainly leave their mark. Here are five women who will forever be admired for their strategic leadership, assertive communication, and ability to blaze the trail for the people who came after them.
1) Mother Teresa
No matter what your religious beliefs may be, it’s nearly impossible to find a person who doesn’t consider Mother Teresa to be a powerful and influential leader.
Mother Teresa devoted her life to helping the poor and impoverished, offering refuge for people who were otherwise overlooked, underestimated, and underserved. Although she never proclaimed herself a leader, Mother Teresa led by example, inspiring people across the globe to show kindness to others, regardless of their position in life. The quietest leaders are often the ones who have the biggest impact. Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work and in 2016, she was given the well-deserved honor of being canonized as a saint.
2) Marie Curie
Better known as Madame Curie, Marie was a Polish-born chemist and physicist at the turn of the 20th century.
After she married, Marie became a French citizen and pursued her fascination with radioactivity, furthering research in this field. She ultimately became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and went on to become the first person to be awarded a second Nobel Prize. To this day, she remains the only woman afforded this honor. In addition to these amazing achievements, Marie was the first female professor at the University of Paris. Upon her death, she was the first woman to be entombed within the Pantheon in Paris.
3) Amelia Earhart
In addition to setting many other aviation records, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this astonishing achievement.
She helped form a female pilot organization called The Ninety-Nines, wrote many popular books, and even joined Purdue University as a visiting faculty member. Amelia never stopped fighting for equality for women and lived her life in a way that made it clear that women can do and be anything they want. With so much left unknown about her disappearance during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, Amelia continues to be a topic of conversation and the ultimate example of women shattering glass ceilings.
4) Rosa Parks
When Rosa Parks chose not to give up her seat on the bus in 1955, it’s unlikely that she could have anticipated the far-reaching impact that her decision would have. After standing up for herself and what she believed in, Rosa became one of the most notable figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Together, she and Martin Luther King, Jr. brought hope to the notion that one day, black and white people would be able to live together in harmony.
Rosa has ultimately been named “the first lady of civil rights,” a title she happily wore her entire life. She never gave up the good fight for equality. Upon her death, Rosa was the first woman to be buried at the Capitol Rotunda.
5) Temple Grandin
A current leader and hero to many, Temple Grandin is known for being a spokesperson and representative of people with autism spectrum disorder.
In recent years, more children and adults have been diagnosed with autism, and Temple has been able to give voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. She has helped many people understand that individuals diagnosed with autism aren’t as different as it was originally thought. In addition to essentially becoming the voice for autism, Temple is also a proponent for the humane treatment of livestock prior to slaughter. However, she has perhaps done her greatest work as a voice for the autism community.
Change the World
It’s unlikely that any of these five amazing women grew up realizing the impact they would have on history, but they’ve most definitely left their mark. Women often lead by example and inspire countless others to follow in their footsteps.
The future will likely be filled with similar stories of women deviating from the norm and changing the world. Will you be one of them?