There are leaders and then there are icons that serve as inspiration. The list below is just a few of the names that inspire us to do our best. These women serve as ideal role models for the future generation, regardless of gender differences.
Joan of Arc: peasant girl became the patron saint of France; Joan of Arc led the French army to a momentous victory over the British in the Hundred Years’ War.
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Marie Curie: Marie Curie not only discovered radium and polonium, championed the use of radiation in medicine, and fundamentally changed our understanding of radioactivity, she is also the only person in history to win a Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific disciplines Has.
Begum Rokeya: Widely regarded as a pioneer of women’s rights in the Indian subcontinent, Begum Rokeya spent most of her life creating literature that sought to underscore the importance of education for young women.
Dolly Parton: Dolly Parton is a world-renowned singer, guitarist and actress. But she also runs the Dolly Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy in poverty-stricken Appalachian towns.
Julia Child: One of the first women to host her own cooking show, Julia Child is instrumental in popularizing French cuisine in America. Did I mention she was also a WWII veteran?
Sufia Kamal: Begum Sufia Kamal is one of the greatest cultural idols of this country. Not only was she a well-known poet and feminist icon, she also took part in the Bengali nationalist movement of the 1950s and the 1971 Liberation War
Rosalind Franklin: Using a technique called X-ray crystallography, Rosalind Franklin discovered the spiral structure of the DNA molecule. Unfortunately, her sexism and early death robbed her of the Nobel Prize.
Jane Goodall: Jane Goodall, the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees, is best known for her 60-year study of primates and for completely transforming our understanding of our closest genetically related species.
Jennifer Doudna: Jennifer Doudna helped develop CRISPR, a cutting-edge molecular tool that has the potential to eradicate diseases like Huntington’s, sickle cell anemia, and HIV.
Mary Shelley: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was a British author who wrote the famous Frankenstein, a novel inspired by her own sense of alienation and isolation. It is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel.
Jane Austen: Best known for the highly adapted Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated authors of romantic literature.
Amelia Earhart: The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first female pilot to fly solo from Hawaii to the US mainland.
Virginia Woolf: One of the most innovative writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf is best known for her contribution to modern feminist literature with classics like A Room of One’s Own.
Bronte sisters: The three sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne wrote classics such as “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” but had to start their writing career under a male pseudonym.
Valentina Tereshkova: The first and youngest woman in space. need i say more
Sharon Christa McAuliffe: McAuliffe was an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire who was selected from 11,000 applicants to become a member of the Challenger Space Shuttle. Tragically, she died with the crew shortly after launch, but remains inspirational for her role as the first civilian and teacher to be selected through such a program.
Katherine Johnson: As an aeronautics specialist at NASA, she calculated and analyzed flight patterns for the first US space mission and the moon landing.
Bibi Russel: Bibi Russel is an award-winning fashion designer and model who popularized sustainable fashion. She is also credited with hiring thousands of rural weavers and incorporating indigenous Bengali culture into fashion.
Sylvia Plath: Sylvia Plath was a famous American poet who wrote Confessional-style poems that expressed a deep sense of alienation and self-destruction inspired by her own personal experiences.
Sultana Kamal: Sultana Kamal, daughter of the legendary Sufia Kamal, is also a lawyer and human rights activist. She was Managing Director of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) for over 15 years.
Maya Angelou: World-renowned poet, singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is possibly one of the most influential African American figures in history.