International Women's Day is a day to not only appreciate women of the present, but also remember those who came before us and paved the way for our rights.
Though we still have a long way to go, women have become a strong force to be reckoned with and will continue to fight for what we deserve.
Let's take a look back at some of the most influential women from all over the world who fought for what we have today. Ampersand Travel even made these beautiful illustrations for the occasion!
Emmeline Pankhurst was a leader of the British suffragette movement which helped give women the right to vote. She was known for her radical tactics, such as window smashing, arson, and hunger strikes. Pankhurst died in 1928, just weeks before women were given equal voting rights.
Marie Curies was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, for her "services to the advancement of chemistry," and the only woman to win twice. Curie developed the theory of radioactivity, which remains is a key part to today's medial advancements and research.
Simone de Beauvoir was a writer, political activist, social theorist, and prominent feminist. De Beauvoir's most famous book, The Second Sex, was a look at "why a woman's situation, still, even today, prevents her from exploring the world's basic problems." It is credited with starting the second wave of feminism.
Frida Kahlo was a feminist icon who used self-portraits to explore the female form and experience. She depicted her own miscarriage, which many people saw as a diversion from how women were normally seen in art. Kahlo contracted polio when she was 6, and was also in a bus accident, which injured her pelvis and left her infertile.
Rosa Parks is arguably one of the most well-known civil rights activists in history. In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger. She sparked a movement which saw segregation start to fall. Parks worked with Martin Luther King Jr., among others, and is considered the "mother of the freedom movement."
Aung San Suu Kyi is listed as one of Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women. She is also a Nobel laureate. Suu Kyi won the national elections in 1990, but the dictatorial government at the time refused to give her power. She was subsequently put on house arrest for 15 years. Once released, Suu Kyi she continued to fight for democracy in Myanmar.
Obiageli Ezekwesili is the co-founder of Transparency Intentional and champion of the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which seeks to locate over 270 school girls who were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School in Nigeria by Boko Haram Terrorists. 20 of the girls have been found, and Obiageli continues to fight to find the girls, while remaining a notable voice in women and human rights.
Li Tingting is an activist for gender and LGBTQ equality. She is known for her controversial public demonstrations. She wore a blood-splattered wedding dress in the streets of China, where the LGBTQ community is not accepted. Tingting and four other activists were arrested for their plan to protest sexual harassment on public transit, but were released after 37 days due to public outcry.
Laxmi Agarwal used her own personal experience of an acid attack to campaign and regulate the sale of acid in India, as well as make acid attacks easier to pursue in court. Agarwal was just 15 when she was victim of an acid attack, at the hands of an older man, because she had refused his marriage proposal. Acid attacks are a crime that targets women in India, and Agarwal is using her experience to help other victims and prevent attacks. She received the International Woman of Courage award from Michelle Obama.
10. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize. She survived an assassination attack in 2012, being shot by the Taliban. Yousafzai was attending school where the Taliban had previously banned girls from attending. She used her experience to help fight for women and human rights, at just age 15, and has set up her own charity.
We cannot thank these women enough for their tireless efforts in helping not just women, but the whole human race.