History’s Most Inspiring and Empowering Women

Throughout history, there has been an odd divide between men and women that isn’t always discussed openly.

This distinction stems from the fact that history has mostly been written about males, and while heroic women have been documented on occasion, there has been a significant imbalance in how genders have been depicted.

Unfortunately, this implies that young females are not provided with a diverse range of role models to emulate, whereas young boys are.

As a result, it’s critical that we think about the women who have made a meaningful difference in the world and who can serve as role models and superheroes for girls today and in the future.

Here are the 13 women who changed the world

The following list honors ten of history’s most inspiring and empowering women.

Understand that this is not an entire list, but it does represent a diverse group of strong and talented women that can be admired and, hopefully, emulated in the future.

1. Madonna

Madonna has been a pop queen for almost 30 years and is recognized for pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in the entertainment business for women. She was the third of six children and aspired to be a ballet dancer.

She arrived in New York with only $35 in her pocket before her first top-10 hit in 1984. She worked a few bad jobs along the road, including one at Dunkin’ Donuts, since she was determined to make it. She is still making popular music and redefining gender norms in the new millennium at the age of 60.

I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.

2. J.K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling, the author of the world-famous Harry Potter novel series, amassed a near-billion-dollar fortune on the success of her characters.

But that wasn’t always the case: she was broke when she started writing her bestselling series on the back of a napkin while on the train to London. Rowling, who was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen in 2001, now lives peacefully with her family and writes.

She continues to secure her position as one of the finest female novelists of all time while dabbling in philanthropy.

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

3. Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and is regarded as one of the most important novelists of the twentieth century. She was an outspoken anti-colonialist, and the themes of her writings attempted to counteract the time’s misogyny.

She was an inspiration to creative women everywhere at a time when standing up as a feminist in a public position might be risky.

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

4. Malala Yousafzai

She was a BBC blogger at the age of 12, survived a Taliban assassination at the age of 15, and became the youngest Nobel Laureate of all time at the age of 17. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist and an advocate for education.

She has since become a well-known and popular philanthropist as well as a role model for young people in terms of peace and empowerment.

I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.

5. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is well known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She is a civil rights activist, poet, and performer. She has received more than 50 honorary degrees during her 50-year career in the creative arts.

She worked as a sex worker in her early years, and she was sexually abused by her mother’s lover. The man was slain after Angelou told her family about the experience, and she was mute for five years. These five years are thought to have shaped her remarkable mind, memory, and inventiveness.

Her tale serves as an example to young women all across the world who have been victims of sexual assault and have gone on to construct wonderful lives despite it.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

6. Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel, the first African American woman to win an Academy Award, did so in 1940. Unfortunately, because of the prejudice prevalent at the time, the sector was marred by scandal.

Hattie and her bodyguard were not only had to be escorted to the awards and the hotel where the event was held but they were also required to sit at separate tables.

She went on to inspire other African-American entertainers, and her legacy is still being honored nearly 80 years later.

Putting a little time aside for clean fun and good humor is very necessary to relieve the tension of our time.

7. Anne Frank

Anne Frank was a German-born Jew who became one of the most well-known Holocaust victims after a notebook she wrote while in hiding was published posthumously as The Diary of a Young Girl and became a major success.

The diary provides a raw and honest view of the lives of Jews in Nazi Germany, but what is most astonishing is her strength of character and incredible maturity for a little child at the time (just 13 when she started, and 15 at the end of her short life.) The necessity of women having a voice is a recurring theme in her entries.

In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

8. Serena Williams

Serena Williams, widely regarded as the best female tennis player (and possibly athlete) of all time, has emerged as a powerful advocate for women both on and off the court.

Despite a succession of media issues, significant injuries, racism, and discrimination, she and her sister Venus have dominated international tennis for over 15 years.

She’s created a brand and a legacy for herself, and she genuinely represents what it is to be a powerful woman.

I’ve grown most not from victories but from setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how he teaches us.

9. Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, who was born in Macedonia in 1910 to Albanian-Indian parents, was an inspirational spiritual figure for more than 50 years. She created a Roman Catholic community that has grown to encompass 133 countries and has been operating since 1950.

The congregation has aided in the construction of schools and orphanages, as well as the management of houses for persons suffering from homelessness, HIV, leprosy, and tuberculosis. In 2016, 37 years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she was declared a saint.

For decades to come, Mother Teresa will be a symbol of hope, peace, and compassion for people all around the world.

Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

10. Emma Watson

Since her appearance as Hermione in the Harry Potter film series, the English actress has built a strong brand centered on fashion, philanthropy, and feminism. Her work on women’s rights centered on boosting education for young girls and combating the media’s sexualization of young women.

She was named a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, and she was also named one of TIME’s 100 most important people. In an industry rife with double standards and conformism, she’s the epitome of a positive pop-culture role model.

Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.

11. Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and the world’s first computer programmer. Lovelace was born into privilege as the daughter of a famously unstable romantic poet, Lord Byron (who left her family when Ada was just 2 months old) and Lady Wentworth.

Ada was a charming woman of society who was friends with people such as Charles Dickens, but she is most famous for being the first person ever to publish an algorithm intended for a computer, her genius being years ahead of her time.

Lovelace died of cancer at 36, and it took nearly a century after her death for people to appreciate her notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which became recognized as the first description for computer and software, ever.

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.”

12. Edith Cowan

Her face is on our $50 dollar note and she has a University named after her in Western Australia, but what you may not know is that Edith Cowan was Australia’s first-ever female member of parliament and a fierce women’s rights activist.

Edith’s childhood was traumatic, to say the least. Her mother died while giving birth when Cowan was just seven years old, and her father was accused and then convicted of murdering his second wife when she was 15 and was subsequently executed.

From a young age Edith was a pioneer for women’s rights, and her election to parliament at 59 in 1921, was both unexpected and controversial.

During her time in parliament, Cowan pushed through legislation that allowed women to be involved in the legal profession, promoted migrant welfare and sex education in schools, and placed mothers in an equal position with fathers when their children died without having made a will.

Edith died at age 70, but her legacy remains to this day.

“Women are very desirous of their being placed on absolutely equal terms with men. We ask for neither more nor less than that.” Edith Cowan

13. Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was the definition of a rule breaker. An American aviator who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the US, Amelia was a pioneering aviator and a true female trailblazer.

Earhart refused to be boxed in by her gender from a young age, born in Kansas in 1897 Amelia played basketball growing up, took auto repair courses, and briefly attended college. In 1920, Earhart began flying lessons and quickly became determined to receive her pilot’s license, passing her flight test in December 1921.

Earhart set multiple aviation records, but it was her attempt at being the first person to circumnavigate the globe which led to her disappearance and presumed death. In July 1937, Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific and was declared dead in absentia in 1939.

Her plane wreckage has never been found and to this day, her disappearance remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century.  

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

Hannah Hutyra

Hannah is a digital marketer with a background in blogging and business-to-business software. She graduated from the University of Texas with a BBA in Marketing and has been writing online for over five years.

Hannah appreciates sharing her knowledge about productivity, motherhood, and mental and physical wellness.

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