It’s likely several women who fit this story have jumped up in your thought already as you read this. We’d all prefer to believe, we’re familiar with some of the most inspirational women on the earth, but do we really know who they are or, more importantly, where they got their start?
Across generations, many inspirational women have shaped the world as we know it. Here is a list of ten of these amazing women.
1. Greta Thunberg, recent time inspirational women
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg become one of the inspirational women in recent time. She becomes famous for seeking to stop global warming and climate change. In August 2018, she quickly rose to prominence for starting the first school strike for climate, outside the Swedish parliament building. In November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm. December 2018, she addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference. In January 2019 she was invited to talk to the World Economic Forum at Davos.
She also nominated for Nobel peace prize 2019. Her climate strike has inspired thousands of other young people across the world to carry out similar protests.
2. Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a young inspirational woman in present time. She is a Pakistani human rights activist who fronted the push for women’s education in a Taliban controlled world that condemned the very idea. Malala courageously spoke before audiences, criticizing the Taliban and advocating for her own education, as well as that of the children and girls in her town. She wrote an anonymous blog and regularly discussed politics, a forbidden pass time for females in her country.
The Taliban attempted to assassinate her on a public bus; shot in the head, Malala slipped into a coma for several days. She would not only recover but take up her fight again and is currently very active for her cause, traveling the world and speaking freely of her ordeal. Malala won a Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest at age 17 to ever do so.
3. Ashley Graham, inspirational women for body shape
Ashely Graham is a plus-sized model who, after appearing on the cover of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, garnered the attention of the world. She travels all over, speaking to women and encouraging them to embrace themselves, no matter their size. As a plus-sized model, she has faced much criticism but stands strong in her mission: to make women feel comfortable with their own bodies. Ashley is courageous, strong, and, of course, beautiful. Her modeling campaigns have encouraged others to pursue plus-sized modeling.
4. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey wasn’t always a successful talk show host with millions of dollars in her bank account. Born by a single mother into poverty. Oprah was sent back and forth from her biological father to her mother several times during her upbringing. Oprah suffered greatly during her childhood. Her father made it a priority to ensure her education, and Oprah began, gradually, to shine.
After college, she was the first African American news anchor on a Nashville TV station and began a roller coaster of a ride across TV news, game shows, and talk shows. Her big break came when she took over a TV show with very low ratings, quickly turning it around and making it a success. The low rated TV show would become “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She co-founded the TV channel Oxygen and founded OWN. She is an accomplished actress and author who is very active in charity. Oprah’s rags to riches story have earned her the title of one of the most inspirational women of all time.
5. Jane Goodall
A world-renowned primatologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall is single-handedly responsible for our understanding of primate behaviors. What makes her one of the inspirational women on this list is her lifelong dedication to research and her tireless charity and advocacy work.
She had no college for the first five years of her research in Africa and went against many norms of the time. She would go on to get her degree and returned immediately to her calling. Scientists had scoffed at the idea that primates could experience emotion, but Jane Goodall’s research changed the perception of these gentle creatures for all time. She has earned many, many awards in her lifetime, authored books for children as well as adults, and had over forty documentaries and movies based on her life.
6. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Socialite Jacqueline Bouvier would find herself thrust into the global spotlight when her husband, Congressman John F. Kennedy, would win the presidency of the United States in 1960. The gentle, stylish Jacqueline would flawlessly fill the role of the first lady, of which she was the youngest ever, and the only Catholic to fill the part.
International icon of fashion, Jacqueline advocated for the arts and United States history. She ordered the White House to be restored to its former glory, famously offering TV audiences a tour of the finished property in 1962, which would lead to her winning an Emmy, the only first lady to win the award. Jacqueline Kennedy was in the back seat of the open-air presidential limo seated next to her husband when he was assassinated in 1963. She is still widely considered the most popular first lady and has been called one of the most inspirational women in history.
7. Helen Keller
Left blind and deaf from a bout of childhood meningitis or scarlet fever, Helen Keller would rise above her challenges and become one of the most inspirational women of all time. She, along with her teacher Anne Sullivan, worked to overcome her physical handicaps and forever shape the world of the deaf. Helen helped to establish the ACLU, traveled the world on speaking tours, supported the suffragette movement, advocated for birth control, and joined the Industrial Workers of the World. She wrote several autobiographies describing her politics, spirituality, and struggles.
8. Joan of Arc
No list of inspirational women would be complete without mentioning Joan of Arc. As a young girl, Joan believed that God was leading her to revolt against England and save France. So committed was she to her cause that she convinced crown prince Charles to let her lead a military campaign against invading Burgundians in the city of Orleans. She would emerge victorious from the battle. She would follow her victory with many more across the French landscape with the prince she had helped become a king, Charles.
After many battles, she became a well-known enemy to the Burgundians, who sought to capture her. Sadly, during a battle in which she was thrown from her horse, the Burgundians would arrest her, keeping her in captivity for over a year and trying her as a witch. The King she had helped win the throne turned his back on her. Joan would be burned at stake, but her legacy has reached mythical proportions. She was canonized in 1920.
9. Florence Nightingale
The lady with the lamp worked tirelessly to save lives during the Crimean War. Her theories of sanitization and cleanliness among wounded soldiers save many lives. It is believed she decreased the rates of infection and death by at least two-thirds. She established the St. Thomas Hospital and Nursing School in 1860, and her published works forever changed the face of healthcare, influencing practices today.
All throughout her childhood, Florence could be found helping the ill and needy in her village. Hospitals of her time were places for people to go and die; nurses were unskilled and morally bankrupt. Florence felt called to the nursing profession and promoted the concepts of cleanliness, healthy foods, fresh air and good lighting for the ill. Her book, Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not, may seem like common sense in today’s medical world but was groundbreaking for her time.
10. Amelia Earhart
Amelia makes our most inspiring women list by her tenacious record-setting life accomplishments. In 1928, she was the first female to fly across the Atlantic, earning her the nickname “Queen of the Air”. After her journey, she would go on to promote clothing, luggage, and even cigarettes.
In August of 1928, Amelia took to the skies again, marking the first female to ever fly solo back and forth across North America. She would become the first female to fly solo from Hawaii to California and again from Los Angeles to Mexico City. She earned multiple speed and distance awards and authored several books before her mysterious disappearance in July of 1937.
Amazing women have made their marks on the world since the beginning of recorded history. Style, grace, commitment, dedication, or accomplishments; it’s hard to keep this list to ten inspirational women.