In order to celebrate Women's History Month, I think it best to recall women who have set the stage or paved the way for other women. These women have displayed strong attributes that helped to contribute to the notions of equality.
While legally equal in many places, there is still a discrepancy between the genders. These 7 badass women helped to prove that women can do anything and in many cases, they can do it better.
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. — Rebecca West
1. Elizabeth II:
Elizabeth was never supposed to ascend to the throne. She was third in line and her uncle was the king. It was assumed that he would have children and they would take the throne, however, he gave up his position and her father died early making her what is not the longest reigning monarch in English history. The Queen is now 90 years old and is linked to over 600 hundred charities.
2. Malala Yousafzai:
Malala is the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize laureate and has stood up for female education in Pakistan and advocates for human rights. The local Taliban had banned girls from attending school in her region. Following the completion of an exam a member of the Taliban attempted to kill her along with two other girls. She survived the assassination attempt, despite being in critical condition, leading to her message igniting international recognition. The government has since intervened in her region and she continues to work for equal righst for women.
3. Ching Shih:
Ching Shih stands for “the window of Ching.” She was forced to marry a pirate lord who died later leaving her his entire fleet. She terrorized Chinese Sea and at one point in time had around 40,000 people in her command. She was able to create a code of laws that worked to unite a group of criminals. She went from prostitute to pirate lord and totally rocked at it. She was even able to retire from being a pirate and didn’t die an ugly bloody death like the men before her.
4. Annie Oakley:
Annie Oakley had to support her family from a very young age due to her mother being a widow and their lack of income. She did this by learning to shoot and trap game which she sold in order to pay off her mother's mortgage on their farm at age fifteen. She then won a shooting contest against her later husband who missed one mark.
After their marriage she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West becoming one the first female stars in America, leading her to perform for many high powered people such as Queen Victoria. She also offered her abilities as a sharpshooter to President Mckinley, who turned her down to participate in the Spanish-American War. She also stated, “I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.”
5. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
Adichie is a Nigerian born feminist writer who has delivered amazing TED Talks, “The Danger of a Single Story” and “ We should all be Feminist,” on the concept of feminism. Her words were featured in the Beyonce song “***Flawless” and she is the author of the highly acclaimed Americanah which is being adapted into a movie by Lupita Nyong’o.
Adichie is an advocate for women’s right and acknowledges that despite the fact that women are legally equal in most places there is still a gap between the genders. “Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general — but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
6. Jane Austen:
Austen was an English novelist who critiques the ideas of the wealthy and the notions that women had to marry for love in order to support their families. Her novels such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" been adapted into movies and series several times. Her novels went against the wealthy ideals of the time and often mocked the romantic novels that preceded her. Austen never married and kept constant companionship with her sister.
She wasn’t very popular during her time, however, her works continue to inspire anti-sensibility notions.
7. Marie Curie:
Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only woman to ever win twice. Curie was a Polish chemist who gained recognition for her work in radioactivity. She is also the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different fields of science. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris. She also coined the term radioactivity and discovered the two elements polonium and radium. Due to her extended use of radioactive material during her research and in field hospitals during World War I, she died at age 66 in France.