Ten Women Who Changed History

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart made aviation history when she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. She broke aviation record after record and aimed to be the first woman to fly around the whole globe. However, it was during this expedition she mysteriously disappeared, and the world was deprived of one of the most determined women to ever walk across the earth. It was her faultless energy and determination that made her the inspiration she is to women both then and now.

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


Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks entered history books forever on 1st December 1955 by refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white man. As this was a violation of segregation laws, she was arrested and fined. However, her bravery led to a huge political campaign, led by Martin Luther King, and for 381 days, black people boycotted the bus service, and this influential movement led to the abolition of slavery laws one year later.

Quote: “I would like to be remembered as a person who was free… so other people could also be free.”


Nellie Bly

Nellie defied every obstacle a female journalist faced in 1930s America, when she went undercover at Blackwell Asylum to uncover the horrific treatment of their patients. She wrote a hugely successful expose that lead to a large scale investigation into the asylum. Despite her amazing journalistic feats, Nellie is actually most well-known for travelling around the world in 72 days, beating the fictional record set by Jules Verne in “Around the World in 80 days.”

Quote: “I said I would and could. And I did.”


Maya Angelou

The author that gave us ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, Maya Angelou was a huge part of the civil rights movement in America. She campaigned alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Malcom X for black rights. She continued to do this through her poetry, encouraging people to rise up and fight for their rights continuously.

Quote: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”


Marie Curie

Marie Curie made history when she became the first female ever to win a Nobel Prize and first person ever to win it two different sciences (physics and chemistry, once in 1903, and again in 1911). Known as ‘The Mother of Modern Physics’, Marie discovered the elements polonium and radium, as well as establishing the nature of radiation and beta rays. She was truly the first famous female scientist ever.

Quotes: “First principle: never to let one’s self to be beaten down by persons or events.”


Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery in 1820, Harriet escaped to the free state of Pennsylvania in 1849. However, Harriet returned to deliver her parents, siblings and more than 60 other slaves to freedom. She became known as the leader of the Underground Railroad, which consisted of the hideouts that freed slaves from slavery.

Quote: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”


Emmeline Pankhurst

A leader of the Suffragette movement, Emmeline campaigned viciously for women’s right to vote. She was arrested multiple times for her protests, but began dressing in disguise to avoid the police. In 1918, Emmeline and the Suffragette’s protests finally garnered the respect of the government, with women being granted the right to vote in 1918.

Quote: “I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”


Jane Austen

Author of one of the world’s most famous novels, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Jane Austen is famous for her literary heroines. Witty and sarcastic, they refuse to let themselves be defined by patriarchal restrictions and fight for independence and autonomy within their respective marriages. It is Jane’s contribution to the literary feminist cause that has a led to her being known as one of the greatest authors in British literary history.

Quote: “It isn’t what we say or think, but what we do that defines us.”


Mary Seacole

After being rejected to join Florence Nightingale’s group of nurses in the Crimean war on the grounds of her race, Mary Seacole decided to make her own way to Crimea, where she set up the British hostel. Located only two miles from conflict, Mary dedicated herself to treating the troops, bravely venturing onto the battlefield itself- something Florence Nightingale never did.

Quote: ”Beside the nettle, ever grows the cure for its sting.”


Marlene Dietrich

One of the most famous actresses of the 1930s and 1940s, Marlene explored notions of feminism through her film roles as femme fatales- characters who led to the downfall of the typically male protagonist. Not only that, her contribution to fashion made waves, introducing androgyny into popular culture. She was often seen in highly fashionable men’s suits, defying all gender stereotypes.

Quote: “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for the men.”

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