By Nadeya Hussain –
March 1st marks the start of Women’s History Month, and today (March 8) is International Women’s Day. Today is a truly global day where we celebrate both the social and cultural achievements of women in our communities and all over the world.
Each year represents a new theme for IWD, and the one for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. This theme asks us to think about how a challenged world is an alert world, and how from challenge comes the power to change and create an inclusive world.
Most of us have someone we look up to or view as an ‘influential woman’. It can be a family member, friend, a peer or someone from the past or present, who inspires you.
If we look at digital media, for example, there are countless examples of women excelling in industries and using platforms to send empowering messages to show the world who they are and what hey can do.
Also, by looking to the past, we can see examples of women who helped shaped the very foundation of our society today.
Here are some examples of women who, in my personal opinion, are some of history’s most influential figures, and who remain iconic role models for people of all ages.
Rosa Parks, also known as ‘the mother of the civil rights movement’, is seen as one of the most important women in history, and an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She became a pivotal figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott after she refused to give up her seat in the ‘coloured’ section of the bus to a white passenger. Her bravery led to nationwide efforts to end racial segregation.
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free … so other people would also be free.”
Often referred to as the ‘people’s princess’, Diana, Princess of Wales, was a beloved figure both nationally and all over the world. She frequently visited shelters, hospices and schools as part of her charity work. She became known for her involvement with AIDS patients and also raised awareness and advocated ways to help people affected with cancer and mental illness.
“I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts.”
‘The woman who changed the course of science’ through her vast contributions to the fields of physics and chemistry. Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre, discovered the elements polonium and radium, and she is well known for pioneering work on radioactivity, including her contributions to finding cancer treatments.
She also helped with x-ray machines. Marie Curie was the first person to claim Nobel honours twice due to her ground-breaking discoveries. This role model left a hugely influential legacy behind, as many organisations and sectors use her name with pride.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel changed the face of an industry as we knew it and also created one of the most iconic fashion brands in the world.
She started her trademark pieces and her fashion career by designing hats in the early 1900s. Around 20 years later she released her face fragrance, Chanel no.5, and from there, her career and influence grew exponentially.
Coming from a poor background herself, Coco inspired women to explore fashion and be comfortable in their own skin.
As an iconic woman who came from Nothing and built a brand that has been going on for decades, she inspires women to stay humble but build the dream they desire
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
These are just a few examples of inspiring women, but I really could keep writing away about all these amazing women in history.
For now, I #ChooseToChallenge you to show your appreciation for other women. Leave a comment below about who inspires you and why!