10 women who changed the world in unforgettable ways
Girls and Women

10 women who changed the world in unforgettable ways


An open letter to leaders

There are plenty of incredible people to celebrate on International Women’s Day. Throughout history, women have changed the world with their strength, resistance, passion, and determination to create a better future. That’s why this is the perfect opportunity to remember the accomplishments of well-known idols and discover new ones to look up to.

Here are ten women from different countries and time periods, each with their own great accomplishments:

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Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai greatly improved the economic and social status of Kenyan women in rural areas by combining women’s rights and environmentalism. Her work illuminated the connection between poverty, environmental desegregation, and power, and gave women the tools to combat all three.

Queen Nzinga Mbande

Queen Nzinga Mbande ruled the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (in current-day Angola) with both strength and kindness. Throughout her reign, her kingdoms came into conflict with Portuguese colonizers and other kingdoms but remained as a sanctuary for runaway slaves and African soldiers trained by the Portuguese.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia and the first female president of Africa, made huge strides for her nation. Her political stance is greatly pro-women and anti-corruption, earning her a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 and the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in 2017.

Maria Mutola
On the track, Maria Mutola was a three-time world champion and one-time Olympic champion in the 800 metres running event. Off the track, she founded the Ludres Mutola Foundation, which encourages children to pursue sports and education, and also helped to create immunization campaigns and housing initiatives.

Huda Shaarawi

Huda Shaarawi is often regarded as the founder of the women’s movement in Egypt. She is often remembered for removing her face veil in an act of protest at a Cairo train station but also founded the Wafdist Women’s Central Committee, which played a key role in Egypt’s independence from Britain.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks will forever be remembered in history for refusing to give up her seat on a racially-segregated bus, leading to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After the boycott successfully helped end segregation in public spaces, Rosa Parks sought to educate the nation’s youth about civil rights. Her multiple awards include the NAACP’s highest honour and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award.

Beyoncé Knowles

While she has claimed her fame through music, Beyoncé Knowles has also made her mark on social activism. She has advocated for women’s rights both off and on stage, one example being her 2014 VMA performance, which incorporated Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay “We Should All Be Feminists.” She has also made statements against police brutality, including in her iconic visual album ‘Lemonade.’

Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project in 1989, which has successfully returned over 1400 acres of land to indigenous communities. She also founded the Indigenous Women’s Network, which aims to empower Native American women, and aided in the NoDAPL protests.

Malala Yousafzai

The youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner of all time, Malala Yousafzai, has become an icon in the battle for girls’ rights. At the age of 15, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her for demanding an education for herself and other girls. She has since made speeches to the United Nations, published a book, and continues to advocate for equal rights.

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst paved the way to the voting booth for women in the United Kingdom! She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose members were suffragettes. She and her followers went on protests and hunger strikes for their right to vote, making great strides for women all over the U.K.

With so many awesome figures to look up to, who do you most relate to? Take our quiz to find out what kickass world-changing woman you are!


An open letter to leaders

Dear World Leaders, We’re putting you on notice. For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 39,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work. There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty. Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked. You have the power to deliver historic changes for women this year. From the G7 to the G20; from the African Union to your annual budgets; we will push you for commitments and hold you to account for them. And, if you deliver, we will be the first to champion your progress. We won’t stop until there is justice for women and girls everywhere. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.


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