Women have made a profound impact on world history, but their stories weren’t always told in great detail. From leading armies to breaking down medical barriers to heading nations, women have been at the forefront of historic events for millenia. This list of nine influential women is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recognizing great women who made their mark throughout world history.
Artemisia I: Artemisia was the ruler of the city of Halicarnassus at the time of the Persian Wars (499-449 BCE). When Persian emperor Xerxes the Great went to war against Greece, Artemisia was the only woman among his commanders, and she led five ships to battle.
Golda Meir: A labor activist, politician and Zionist, Meir was the fourth prime minister of the state of Israel and second woman prime minister in the world. She saw the country through the turbulent period of the Yom Kippur War.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Attorney Ginsberg taught at Rutgers University Law School and then at Columbia University. Ginsburg was a staunch supporter of women’s civil liberties and gender equality. Ginsburg was named to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, becoming the court’s second woman justice, as well as the first Jewish woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Charlotte Brontë: One of three famous literary sisters, Brontë contributed to the world by penning books that are still enjoyed as classics today. Her best known work is the novel “Jane Eyre,” which drew from her own experiences as a student and governess.
Rosa Parks: Often described as the “first lady of civil rights,” Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott and other movements to end racial segregation.
Benazir Bhutto: Bhutto was the first democratically elected woman to lead a Muslim country. She studied at Radcliffe College and Harvard University in the United States, and later at Oxford in the United Kingdom. Bhutto served two stints as prime minister of Pakistan.
Mother Teresa: From Yugoslavia, Mother Teresa devoted her life to religious vocation and serving the poor. She received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work and was canonised in 2016.
Dr. Anthonia Novello: Dr. Novello was the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General in the U.S. She also was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commission Corps and Commissioner of Health for the State of New York.
Queen Elizabeth II: Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1952 and has held the title ever since. In 2015, she became the longest reigning British monarch in the history of the United Kingdom.
Reflecting on women’s history reveals the many awe-inspiring women who have influenced the world.