International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. The goal is to celebrate the success of women and raise awareness against bias as a challenge to bring change. Here are a few notable women who have worked to make the world a better place:
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. She helped lead Britain through some of its toughest years and worked with then President Ronald Reagan in the collapse of the Soviet Union. She helped to reform the National Union of Mineworkers and liberalized stock exchange rules a month other things that helped London become a worldwide financial capital.
Shonda Rhimes (1970-)
Shonda Rhimes is an influential American tv producer and screenwriter. Some of her most well-known works include Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal. Rhimes notably helped change tv programs by introducing more diverse representations through stories and casting in her shows.
Kalpana Chawla (1961-2003)
Chawla became the first woman of Indian descent to fly in space. She was a mission specialist on NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia and orbited the earth 252 times in two weeks. Her second and last trip was in 2003 when she and 6 other astronauts unfortunately met their fate when the spaceship disintegrated while reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010)
As the first woman to be Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Mankiller led the largest Native American tribe in America. She held her position as chief from 1985-1995 and during that time, tribal enrollment grew, infant mortality dropped and employment rates doubled, according to Time Magazine.
Amelia Boynton Robinson (1911-2015)
Robinson was at the forefront of Georgia and Alabama’s civil rights movement. She also championed voting rights for African Americans. Her efforts were depicted in the 2014 film Selma.
Katherine Johnson (1918-2020)
Johnson’s famous mathematical computations were highlighted in the 2016 blockbuster Hidden Figures. Her hand-calculations helped launch John Glenn into orbit in 1962.
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Roman Catholic nun Mother Teresa decided at the age of 12 that she wanted to help people and spread the Christian message. She traveled to India and dedicated her entire life to helping the poor. She also began the Missionaries of Charity, a group that now consists of thousands in at least 90 countries that helps those in poverty around the world. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and denied a celebratory dinner, instead asking that the money be donated to the poor.
Malala Yousafzai (1997-)
Malala has become one of the world’s most famous schoolgirls. She wrote an anonymous diary about life under Taliban rule at the age of 11 and emphasized how she wanted to stay in education and that girls deserved to go to school. The Taliban learned of her writings and shot her in 2012, but she survived. She became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize at age 14 and continues to campaign today for girls’ rights around the world.