March is Women’s History Month — and, as such, it’s especially important that we endeavor to remember and honor the women who came before us and contributed to the mission for gender and racial equality. While there are many names that we know and are familiar with, there are also many women whose stories aren’t told frequently enough. Here is just a tiny handful of the important women who have helped to shape our world in surprising and important ways, and who deserve our heartfelt thanks.
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a notable Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest ever Nobel Prize Laureate.
2. Irena Sendler
Sendler was a Polish nurse, humanitarian and social worker who managed to smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.
3. This Woman Hitting A Neo-Nazi With Her Purse
Still true: Be the woman hitting a Nazi with a handbag you wish to see in the world. pic.twitter.com/jQikE1hKKF
— Cindy Persisted (@CindyWilki) August 14, 2017
This photo was taken during the 1980’s in Sweden.
4. Nojoud Ali
A prominent figure in Yemen’s fight to abolish child marriage, Ali obtained a divorce from her husband at the age of 10.
5. Marie Curie
Curie was Polish physicist and chemist who eventually became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. (And the first person to win the prestigious honor twice, no less.)
6. Jackie Ormes
by Jackie Ormes#blackhistorymonth #cartoonist pic.twitter.com/FcjNzV81qC
— inebri-art (@inebriart) February 25, 2018
Ormes was the first African-American female cartoonist and the creator of the Torchy Brown comic strip.
7. Margaret Heafield Hamilton
Hamilton was the Director of the Software Engineering Division at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory and developed the flight software for NASA’s Apollo missions.
8. Annie Lumpkin
Good morning and happy Black History Month. Here is Freedom Rider Annie Lumpkin at the Little Rock city jail in 1961. (she was 18 here) pic.twitter.com/DCrgEvPv7s
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) February 9, 2017
Lumpkin was a civil rights activist in the ’60s, and was a member of the Freedom Riders demonstration group.
9. Jane Goodall
Goodall is a prominent British primatologist and anthropologist and is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.
10. Maud Stevens Wagner
A former circus performer, Wagner is credited with being the first female tattoo artist in history.
11. Amelia Earhart
Considered to be an aviation pioneer, Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
12. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
Known as “the mother of the freedom movement,” Parks is considered to have sparked the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus.
13. Valentina Tereshkova
Russian cosmonaut Tereshkova was the first woman to have flown in outer space.
14. Eliza Leonida Zamfirescu
Eliza Leonida Zamfirescu first woman engineer in the world #WomansDay pic.twitter.com/4yQgjccFAf
— carmen (@carmen90207432) March 8, 2018
Zamfirescu is credited with being the first female engineer in the world.
15. Fatima al-Fihri
While women Europe were prevented from gaining degrees until relatively recently, Muslim women more than a 1000 years ago, were not only gaining degrees but were awarding them! Fatima Al-Fihri, built first university in the world: Qairawiyyin in Morocco in the 9th Century. pic.twitter.com/YegO59SQKV
— Abdalaziz Avil IV ?? (@Abdalazizawill) March 10, 2018
Al-Fihri was an Arab-Muslim woman who founded the oldest existing university in the world in Morocco in 859 CE.
16. Nadia Comaneci
Comaneci, a Romanian-born gymnast, was the first gymnast to ever receive a perfect score of 10.0 at the Olympic Games.
17. Komako Kimura
Komako Kimura was a Japanese suffragette who demonstrated and marched for women’s voting rights in the early 1900’s.
18. Ada Lovelace
Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, was considered to be the first ever computer programmer.
19. Ellen O’Neal
Shouts to Ellen O’Neal. Badass freestyle skateboarder from 1970s pic.twitter.com/C8kx3X5WYx
— Amy Ash (@AmyAshLDN) March 11, 2018
O’Neal is often referred to as the “godmother of female pro skateboarding.”
20. Lili Elbe
Elbe was a Danish transgender woman who was the first notable recipient of gender reassignment surgery.