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15 of the Most Bad-Ass Women in History

Women have come a long way over the years in terms of carving out their place in a man’s world. Politics, home life, work life, rights and everyday life is not like it once was. Without the continual battle for equality, these changes would have never taken place. 

There are certain women that stick out from the crowd and that we can really attest to making a positive difference in the world. They all differ in what changes they help to make each day, but all encompass passion and perseverance when it comes to knowing a woman’s worth in this world. The following 15 women deserve ever lasting acknowledgement for their actions and attitudes that impacted the world today…

15. Marie Curie

Marie Currie is best known for being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the first and sole woman to win it twice. She was a physicist and chemist who essentially discovered radioactivity and then continued to study it, something that would later contribute to her death due to exposure to radiation. Her work helped our daily world with major life changing things like the x-ray. She is a main contributor to the start of fighting cancer through her scientific discoveries, and helped impact greatly the 20th and 21st century through her discoveries that ultimately reshaped the basics of physics.

14. Sorjouner Truth

Sorjouner Truth was born into slavery in 1797 and died a free woman in 1883. She isa major figure in history for being a women’s rights activist as well as working hard against slavery. She was born into slavery and was able to escape, as she was in New York when slavery became abolished. She went to court to get back the freedom of her son and historically was the first black woman to win against white people in court. She later went on to advocate against slavery and give speeches, `Ain`t I a Woman` was her most famous one. 

13. Susan B. Anthony

Anthony was a huge key player in the advocating for the right to vote for women as well as a founder of women’s suffrage movement on top of being an abolitionist. Alongside Elizabeth Stanton, Anthony created The New York State Women’s Right Committee campaigning for women. In 1869, she co founded The National Women`s Suffrage Movement and continued to travel and campaign. In 1872, she even illegally voted in the presidential election and was fined, which she did not pay. Fourteen years after her death, women were granted the right to vote in 1920. 

12. Mother Teresa 

In 1979, she won the Nobel Prize for Peace, as she dedicated her life to charity work and helping the poorest of the poor. At 12 years old she expressed that she felt a calling to help others. She worked with outcasts, lepers and the homeless in Calcutta, India. She became a nun and would teach children literacy and basic hygiene. She started The Mission of Charity which was dedicated to helping the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, lepers, anyone unwanted, unloved, un-cared for and who have become a burden to society and shunned. On September 4th, 2006, Mother Teresa was canonized. 

11. Billie Jean King

She is most remembered for winning in The Battle of the Sexes, a tennis match against Bobby Riggs. She was the first woman to be chosen in Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year and a strong advocate for women in sports. One of her greatest accomplishments was founding The Women’s Tennis Association and becoming the president of it. She fought for equal prizee money between men and women. On August 12th, 2009 she went on to receive The Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

10. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is one of the most modern day influential women of this century. She began to influence people through her widely popular talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show that ended in 2011. Her fame from television gave her the platform to positively influence and affect all those who listened to her. She is known to have The Oprah Affect, as in whatever she endorses or says, people agree with. She has created The Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg and donated $40 million in establishing it. She continually uses her power to encourage others to help others and make a positive impact on the world. 

9. Rosa Parks

December 1st 1955, in racially segregated Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks would change the world and forever be remembered by her actions on that day. She refused to give up her seat to a white man on a local city bus. This resulted in a year long bus boycott in the city. She states that she was tired of always giving in to this degrading and racist behavior. She is responsible for helping to initiate the civil rights movement in America. 

8. Elizabeth I

She is considered to be one of the most liked and successful monarchs of English history. Her reign is associated with the golden age. She was regarded with quick wit and intelligence ruling decisions. Her government was extremely stable and her ruling was the main reason that England prospered so greatly during her regime. She established Protestantism as the country’s religion as well as as establishing poor laws for the needy. At her time, it was very much a man’s world and she is regarded as doing a formidable job as a ruling power being a woman at that time. 

7. Sally Ride

Sally Ride changed the world of NASA forever by becoming the first American woman to travel to space. She was an astronaut who worked on the robotic arm helping to put satellites into space. She advocated for ways to help other women study in mathematics and science. She established NASA’s EarthKam which allows students to take pictures of earth to study using a camera set up at the international space station. She was inducted into The Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003. 

6. Amelia Earheart

Earheart changed the world of aviation for females forever. She was the first woman to fly a plane over the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. She set flying records and advocated for the advancement of women in flight. She was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross which awards heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. She was the first women ever in history to receive this honor for her lifetime work. 

5. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman risked her life as a conductor for the Underground Railway in order to help slaves escape and be free. She was born a slave in 1820 and devoted her life to freeing as many slaves as she could. She worked for The Union Army which allowed her to know the land well and help her to assist slaves to escape. After the Civil War ended, she continued to dedicate her life to help black Americans. 

4. Dorothea Dix

 Dorothea Dix was an American activist and nurse who lived from 1802-1887 a huge advocate to mental illness and caused great change for the world in that regard. She changed the way people perceive the mentally ill and helped to create many institutions across the USA that benefit those who suffer. She helped changed conditions of those who could unfortunately not help themselves and socially reformed perceptions of mental illness. 

3. Jane Goodall

 Goodall is responsible for the primatology and study of chimpanzees in Africa for 45 years. She helped raise awareness towards unfortunate situations for wild and captive chimpanzees. She created the Jane Goodall Institute which helps conservation of animals and the environment.  In 2002, the United Nations named her Messenger of Peace due to her life`s selfless work for primates. 

2. Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger lived from 1879-1966 and changed the 20th century drastically. She was the most important advocate for birth control and she founded Planned Parenthood in 1921. She created books and pamphlets for sexual education. She worked as a nurse and help treat women who had undergone unsafe abortions. She pioneered for a birth control and eventually opened the first birth control clinic in 1916. She fought to have birth control imported into America and create the control there is today. 

1. Margaret Mead

Mead was an anthropologist who found patterns between male and female behavior in other cultures that differed from American gender roles at the time through her work. She determined that it is social construct and not physical make up that determine behavioral patterns of men and women. She highly influenced many in regards to the nature versus nurture discourse through her study of primitive cultures in the South Pacific. 

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