Women who changed the world | Happy International Women’s Day

 “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank (1929-1945)

Anne Frank

During her stay in Netherlands while hiding from the German forces, Anne Frank, a young jewish girl, was gifted a diary by her father when she was 13. However, her diary was published after her death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. The diary served as a unique eye-witness account of life during Holocaust (mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) and it became one of the world’s most read books.

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“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner (1979), aimed at looking after those who had nobody to look after them through her own order “The Missionaries of Charity”. She worked tirelessly towards her goal until her ill-health – that included two heart attacks, pneumonia and malaria – forced her to step down in March 1997, following which she took her last breath in September 1997.

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“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.” – Aung Sang Suu Kyi (1945)

Aung Sang Suu Kyi Burmese opposition politician Suu Kyi was under house arrest for 15 years for her pre-democracy campaigning. She only gained release in 2010 following an international campaign to let her free. She won a nobel prize in 1991 where it was said that “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades.”.

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“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.” – Diana (1961-1997), Princess of Wales

Angela Merkel(19)

Princess Diana was a well-loved “people’s princess”. She devoted her life to charity work; she led a nobel Peace Prize-winning campaign to ban landmines.

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“Democracy is the best revenge.” – Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007)

 Benazir BhuttoShe was the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (1993-1996) and the first woman to head a Muslim state. During her leadership, she ended military dictatorship in her country and fought for women rights. She was assassinated in a suicide attack in 2007.

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey (1954)

Angela Merkel(18)

Oprah, a generous Philanthropist, who is today worth $2.7 billion as a famous US talk show host and a media proprietor, was born to a poor single mother in Mississippi.

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 “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” – Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Angela Merkel(16)“The lady with the lamp”, Florence Nightingale, nursed wounded soldiers during the Crimean war. Her passion and dedication to the profession changed public’s perception about this profession. Her insistence on improving sanitary conditions for the patients is believed to have saved many lives.

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“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” – Madonna (1958)

Angela Merkel(15)Madonna has achieved an unprecedented level of power and control for a woman in the entertainment industry. She has sold more than 300 million records of her music and she has turned her hands to songwriting, acting, film-directing and producing, fashion designing and writing children’s books.

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 “Each coming together of man and wife, even if they have been mated for many years, should be a fresh adventure; each winning should necessitate a fresh wooing.” – Marie Stopes (1880-1958)

Marie StopesThe british scientist Marie Stopes is best known for her achievements in the fields of birth control and sex education in the 20th century. She publicly addressed romantic and sexual happiness in a marriage, thereby, breaking many barriers in the society.

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 “If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.” – Kathryn Bigelow (1951)

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow, a US director, is the first ever woman to win an academy award for a war film, she won an award for The Hurt locker.

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“Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Angela Merkel(1)Amelia Earhart was the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932 and she became the first woman pilot in 1935 after flying solo from Hawaii to California. She embarked upon her lifelong dream of flying across the world in 1937, however, her flight went missing on that trip and she was never seen again.

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 “Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.” – Angela Merkel (1954)

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and she happens to be the first female chancellor presiding over the most powerful European economy.

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“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Margaret ThatcherMargaret Thatcher was loved and hated equally for some of her controversial policies but she never gave up. She was known as the ‘Iron lady’ for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. From being a grocer’s daughter to graduating from Oxford University to becoming a bannister, she went on to becoming Britain’s first and to date, only female Prime Minister elected in 1979 and the country’s fifth longest serving leader.

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“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K Rowling (1965)

J.K RowlingBreaking through the trap of poverty until she finished writing her first book for the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has now sold 400 million copies worldwide. She went on from living on state benefits in the UK to becoming a multi-millionaire after her book’s success in a matter of five years.

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“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)

Katharine HepburnKatherine Hepburn was known for playing strong-willed women in her film roles. She won four academy awards for Best actress, the most an actress has ever won. Her unconventional non-conformist, masculine style choices made wearing trousers acceptable to women, which was largely considered a taboo at that time.

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“I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” – Queen Elizabeth II (1926)

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth has ruled over the United Kingdom for 60 years now and has presided over the country through some of the most turbulent times.

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“In too many instances, the march to globalisation has also meant the marginalisation of women and girls. And that must change.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947)

Hillary Rodham ClintonAfter becoming the first lady of Arkansas in 1983 and then the United States in 1993, Hillary Clinton has been a powerful force in US politics ever since. She was the first ‘first lady’ to be a candidate in elected office in 1999 (in the race for New York Senator, which she won and served for two terms). She has won numerous awards for her work concerning women, health and children.

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“Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.” – Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)

Angela Merkel(8)

Indira Gandhi served India as the Prime Minister for 15 years. She paved the way for democracy in India until her assassination in 1984.

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“It’s quite a daunting prospect, but hopefully I’ll take it in my stride.” – Catherine (1982), Duchess of Cambridge

Angela Merkel(9)Coming from a middle class family, Catherine, 30, has already made a difference to the way the centuries-old institution is regarded in the 21st Century. Furthermore, she has taken on the role of a patron to some selected charities – the National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice and Action on Addiction.

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“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Angela Merkel(10)The famously known “Madame Curie”, a Polish-French physicist and chemist, was the first person to have received two Nobel Prizes. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris and the first lady to be enshrined in France’s national mausoleum, the Paris Panthéon, all based on her own merits.

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“On one of the night passes, I dimmed the lights in the flight deck and saw the stars. When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system,” Kalpana Chawla (1983–2003)

Kalpana ChawlaAn Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman in space, was one of the seven astronauts who lost their lives in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003. A role model for many young women in India and around the world, Kalpana will always be remembered for her incredible journey from Karnal, where she was born, to NASA, where she fulfilled her dream of reaching the starts.

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