March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate outstanding women past and present. We chose 31 women who have made a difference in history. These are women who are strong and brave leaders, politicians, inventors, humanitarians, women's rights activists, and activists for other causes. Starting in ancient times working up to today, these are some of the top women who should be recognized for their contributions in history.
1 - Sappho (circa 570 BCE)
Referred as one of the great poets by Plato, Sappho is one of the first known female writers.
2 - Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)
Her writings and music have influenced people from popes and kings of her day to people in todays modern world.
3 - Joan of Arc (1412–1431)
Who hasn't heard of Joan of Arc? She is the patron saint of France who inspired a French revolt against the occupation of the English.
4 - Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Writer and Activist, she wrote the most significant book in the early feminist movement which laid down a clear moral and practical basis for extending human and political rights to women.
5 - Sacagawea (1788 - 1812)
Native American woman who helped Louis and Clark explore the Louisiana Purchase, making a trip across the continent.
6 - Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883)
African-American abolitionist and women’s rights campaigner who gave the famous speech “Ain’t I a woman?” which explained clearly how women were equal to men.
7 - Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)
American women’s rights advocate who fought for equality and women being less dependent on men and being more independent. Her writing was influential in changing perceptions about men and women, and was one of the most important early feminist works.
8 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902)
American social activist and leading figure in the early women’s rights movement. She was a key figure in helping create the early women’s suffrage movements in the US.
9 - Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906)
American Activist against slavery and for the promotion of women’s, workers and human rights.
10 - Elizabeth Blackwell ( 1821–1910)
The first woman to receive a medical degree in America and the first woman to be on the UK medical register. Blackwell helped to break down social barriers, enabling women to be accepted as doctors.
11 - Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913)
Former slave who escaped and then went back to lead other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She supported the women’s suffrage movement and used her experiences to fight for equality.
12 - Millicent Fawcett (1846–1929)
Leading suffragist and campaigner for equal rights for women, she led Britain’s biggest suffrage organization, the non-violent (NUWSS) and played a key role in granting women the vote.
13 - Marie Curie (1867–1934)
Polish/French scientist who was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win the Nobel Prize for two separate categories, research into radioactivity and Chemistry and also helped to develop the first X-ray machines.
14 - Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)
Wife and political aide of American president F.D.Roosevelt, she strongly campaigned for human rights and became head of UN human rights commission where she helped to draft the 1948 UN declaration of human rights.
15 - Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1937)
American aviation pioneer and author who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She has inspired many women to go after their goals and not be afraid of failure.
16 - Margaret Chase Smith (1897 – 1995)
The first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, both in the House of Representatives and Senate.
17 - Dorothy Hodgkin (1910–1994)
British chemist who was awarded the Nobel prize for her work on critical discoveries of the structure of both penicillin and later insulin. She also devoted a much of her life to the peace movement and promoting nuclear disarmament.
18 - Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
The true example of selfless charity, Mother Teresa devoted her life to serving the poor and disadvantaged. Her philosophy was to act with love where even smallest acts could have a big impact.
19 - Rosa Parks (1913–2005)
American civil rights activist, who, by refusing to give up her bus seat, indirectly led to some of the most significant civil rights legislation of American history.
20 - Indira Gandhi (1917–1984)
First female prime minister of India.
21 - Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013)
First female Prime minister of Great Britain, she governed for over 10 years.
22 - Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) Author of "Anne Frank’s Diary" about her experience in a Nazi Concentration Camp.
23 - Norma Hason Nahmias Yaeger (1930- )
First woman stockbroker to be permitted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after sticking to her fight for women's rights to join men in this previously "mens only" position.
24 - Gloria Steinem (1934 - )
A journalist and author of several books who is best known for her lifelong endeavor of achieving equality for women in the workplace, in politics, and in all other societal aspects.
25 - Wangari Maathai (1940–2011 )
Kenyan-born environmentalist, pro-democracy activist and women’s rights campaigner. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to prevent conflict through protection of scarce resources.
26 - Shirin Ebadi (1947– )
An Iranian lawyer, who has fought for human rights in Iran, representing political dissidents and founding initiatives to promote democracy and human rights. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
27 - Benazir Bhutto (1953–2007)
First female prime minister of a Muslim country. She helped to move Pakistan from a dictatorship to democracy, becoming Prime Minister in 1988. She sought to implement social reforms, in particular helping women and the poor.
28 - Oprah Winfrey (1954– )
American talk show host, actress and businesswoman, she has broken many barriers including becoming the first woman to own her own talk show and one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in history. Oprah focuses on human issues especially issues facing American women.
29 - Princess Diana (1961-1997)
Lady Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales was noted for her pioneering charity work. She was widely known as the wife of the Prince of Wales and gained recognition as a high-profile icon, an image of feminine beauty, and for her fashion and style.
30 - J.K.Rowling (1965– )
British author of the best selling Harry Potter series, she is an advocate of anti-poverty after having struggled while writing her books. She has contributed considerable sums to charities and uses her wealth to help support causes and fight against poverty.
31 - Malala Yousafzai (1997- )
Youngest ever Noble Prize Laureate, receiving a Noble Peace Prize for her activism in women's education at the age of 17 in 2014.