10 of the most influential, inspiring and important women in History

March 8, 2021
Students

Today is International Women's Day and we wanted to write about 10 women whose achievements have had a lasting and irreversible impact on equality, sustainability, science, sport and education.

Harriet Tubman


Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. She escaped from slavery in Philadelphia in the 1840s and returned to rescue her family.

Tubman subsequently helped many other enslaved people escape using the Underground Railroad, became a spy for the Union during the Civil War and joined the fight for women’s suffrage in the 1890s.

Frida Kahlo


Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her vivid, colourful self portraits, full of the pain and passion of her life experiences.

She is celebrated for her attention to Mexican culture as well as her depiction of the female experience and body.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a scientist whose pioneering work led to the discovery of radium and polonium, as well as a huge contribution to the treatment of cancer.

Curie was born in Poland, the youngest of five children born to poor school teacher parents. She worked as a governess and, when her sister offered her the chance to move to Paris, she seized the opportunity and took up a place at Sorbonne University to study Physics and Mathematics.

Madonna Louise Ciccone

Famous across the world for her award-winning, prolific music career, Madonna is not only an incredible musician but also an important activist and role model.

She was involved in HIV activism at the height of the AIDS pandemic and has been an outspoken ally to the LGBTQ+ community for years.

Margaret Atwood

The Canadian poet and author is known for her quick wit and wicked writing.

Her most famous novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, caused waves when it was first published. Atwood says that the Republic of Gilead, the dystopian version of New England in which the book is set, was only an extrapolation of trends already seen in the US when she wrote the story.

Her books question and interrogate our patriarchal society, telling stories of women who dare to question the authority of men.

Angela Davis

An American activist, Marxist and author, Angela Davis has spent her life campaigning for racial justice and pursuing her own academic career as a professor in philosophy, history and feminist studies.

She also founded the grassroots organisation Critical Resistance, which campaigns to end imprisonment as a solution to social problems in the USA.

Wangari Mathaai

Wangari Mathaai was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

In 1977, Mathaai founded the Green Belt Movement, which would promote environmental conservation, build climate resistance and empower communities - especially women and girls - to foster sustainable livelihoods.

Today, the movement has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.

Malala Yousafzai

At the age of 15, Malala survived being shot by the Taliban after she had spoken out about a woman’s right to an education in Pakistan.

Since then, she became the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and continues to fight for all girls to receive a safe, free and quality education.

Serena Williams

Serena is one of the most eminent, successful and impressive athletes in the world.

She has won 23 Grand Slam titles, more than any other man or woman during the open era.

Her powerful tennis playing has made her a formidable opponent; she won the 2017 Australian Open whilst two months pregnant!

Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s progressive Prime Minister is vocal on feminism, her support for same-sex marriage and Maori rights.

She is the youngest female Prime Minister in the nation’s history and handled the coronavirus pandemic better than most leaders, minimising New Zealand’s death toll and protecting its citizens.

Laura Reid

Laura is our Social Media Assistant and Content Writer. She studied English Literature at University of Bristol and loves nothing more than reading and listening to a good podcast! Laura worked as a volunteer tutor whilst in Bristol and is passionate about making education accessible for everyone.

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