Happy International Women`s Day – 12 Women Worth Mentioning
Everything begins a century ago
International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.
The first national Women’s Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. In August 1910, an International Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen. (more at: Wikipedia)
Some of the most famous women in history were …
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
The world is most obviously familiar with her name, which is popularly synonymous to warmth, affection and universal love. Mother Teresa is the epitome of simplicity and selflessness. She has serviced the ‘poorest of poor’ and has followed ideals of charity all through her life. Her birth name Agnes Bojhaxiu, she was born in Albania during the rule of Ottoman Empire. Mother Teresa came to India in the year 1929 and started her community of missionary women called ‘Missionaries of Charity’ in Calcutta.
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
She continues to be named as one of the most powerful women of her times. Indira Gandhi was born into a illustrious family. Her father Sri Jawahar Lal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India. Her family had the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi
In 1984, when she was assassinated she was named as India’s most powerful woman ever, and that still stands in her name.
Marie Curie (1867-1934)
The founding figure behind radiology, Madam Curie (as she is fondly known as) discovered polonium and radium and went on to win the world’s most prestigious Nobel Prize Award twice!
Her work in radiology formed the basis of the world’s most sophisticated cancer treatment protocol.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971)
She is the world’s famous fashion revolutionary. Starting off as a hat maker, she quickly shifted to clothing and apparel designing. She freed women from the bondages of corset and frills, giving the clothes a more comfortable and looser look. She brought in men’s fabric and aesthetic into women clothing, thus blurring the gender divides in men and women clothing.
Chanel closed down all her shops when the World War 2 broke out in 1939. It was only in 1954 that she back with a bang introducing to the world bell bottoms. She passed away in 1971 leaving Chanel House to Karl Lagerfeld.
Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)
She was the definition of feminine glamour, poise and dignity. Known for her roles in an array of Oscar winning movies like ‘Roman Holiday’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Breakfast at Tifanny’s’ and so on. Most of these movies got the classic film status. She had an enduring popularity all over the world mainly due to her child like beauty, natural charm, subtle humor, elegance and an aura of love she brought into every character of hers. She was regarded by the Hollywood stars for her nature so warm and kind! With many Academy and other awards to her name, she dedicated a large part of her life working for humanitarian causes for UNICEF.
She succumbed to colon cancer which she got after a visit to Somalia, and died in 1993 at the age of 63.
Margaret Thatcher (1925-present)
She is known to the world as the Iron Lady. A woman of high morals and principles with a very short temper, she is a barrister who realized her long standing political dream by becoming the Member of Parliament in the year 1959 in the Conservative Party. It was two decades later in the year 1979 that she was appointed as the Prime Minister of Britain. She served three terms in office till 1990, a time crucial to the world for all its happenings of the Cold War.
… and some of the most famous ones today are:
Queen Elizabeth II (1926-present)
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926 is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as the Commonwealth realms, and their territories and dependencies, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and, in some of her realms, carries the title of Defender of the Faith as part of her full title.
On her accession on 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries.
Elizabeth was born in London and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her coronation service took place in 1953 and was the first to be televised.Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children, the births of her grandchildren, the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and the celebration of milestones such as her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively.
Oprah Winfrey (1954-present)
Television show host, philanthropist, businesswoman, Oprah Winfrey is an icon of the global media industry. She single handedly built an eponymous media empire with her popular chat show, ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ which has many Emmy Awards to its name and ranks as the first chat show in the world to have maximum viewer-ship being telecast in almost 145 countries across the globe.
She is a social icon of sorts, grandly influencing popular culture by being the stalwart of confessional media, spiritual and self help trends.
Madonna is the other name for pop star! She is an energetic dancer, a multitalented provocateur and the most chart topping pop singer. She was an ordinary girl who had a dream to make it big and darn she did it! She gave hits like ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Vogue’ and ‘Like a Virgin’. Her music videos and stage performance were full of enthusiasm and energy. Her outfits were over the top, almost like a fashion statement! She went on to become MTV’s hottest star and one of the world’s most popular and sought after artists. She unabashed
Angela Merkel (1954-present)
Angela Dorothea Merkel (born 17 July 1954) is the Chancellor of Germany and party leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel is the first woman to have become Chancellor of Germany.
A physical chemist by professional background, Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989 and briefly served as the deputy spokesperson for Lothar de Maizière’s democratically elected East German government prior to the German reunification. Following reunification in 1990, she was elected to the Bundestag, where she has represented a constituency in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since. She served as Federal Minister for Women and Youth 1991–1994 and as Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 1994–1998 in Helmut Kohl’s fourth and fifth cabinets. She was Secretary General of the CDU 1998–2000, and was elected chairperson in 2000. From 2002 to 2005, she was also chair of the CDU/CSU parliamentary coalition.
Angela Merkel has been described as “the de facto leader of the European Union” and is currently ranked as the world’s second most powerful person by the Forbes magazine, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman.
J.K. Rowling (1965-preent)
Joanne “Jo” Rowling (born 31 July 1965), pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British novelist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. They have become the best-selling book series in history, and been the basis for a series of films which has become the highest-grossing film series in history. Rowling had overall approval on the scripts as well as maintaining creative control by serving as a producer on the final instalment.
She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling author since records began, with sales in excess of £238m. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and TIME magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fans. In October 2010, Rowling was named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Lumos (formerly the Children’s High Level Group).
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi (born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.
Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country, the fourth person ever to receive the honour. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal. On 19 September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.
Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.